Detecting Hidden Ingredients
News Aug 11, 2015
To lose weight, boost energy or soothe nerves, many consumers turn to dietary supplements. But some of these products contain undeclared substances. To protect consumers from taking something without their knowledge, scientists have developed a technique to determine what secret ingredients could be lurking in these supplements. They report their approach, which helped them find the active Viagra ingredient and other synthetic designer compounds in various products.
Dietary supplements can appear to be a healthful option for treating certain health conditions. Their labels list herbs or other natural ingredients that consumers assume are safe to take. But over the past several years, regulators have detected prohibited substances in some of these products that aren't included on the labels. The drug sibutramine is one of these substances. It was once approved for weight loss but was withdrawn after concerns arose that the medication could increase the risk of heart attacks. To catch supplements spiked with sibutramine and other undeclared substances, Zhiqiang Huang, Bin Guo and colleagues came up with a strategy.
Using an advanced liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry screening procedure, the researchers tested more than 100 syrups, capsules and other types of supplements purchased in markets in China and online. The products' labels claimed benefits from blood pressure reduction to enhanced sexual performance. Their approach successfully detected a wide range of targeted adulterants -- including sibutramine and sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra -- and other unexpected drug compounds.
Simple Water Test Could Prevent Crippling Bone DiseaseNews
A simple colour-changing test to detect fluoride in drinking water, could in the future prevent the crippling bone disease, skeletal fluorosis, in developing countries such as India and Tanzania.READ MORE
Allergy Amplifier Implicated in Asthma Also Intensifies Food AllergyNews
Scientist who previously reported that a small protein, aptly named histamine-releasing factor, played a pro-inflammatory role in asthma have now shown that it also serves as a “food allergy amplifier”. This work paves the way for blood tests to predict which patients will respond to allergy therapy, and strongly supports the idea that drugs designed to block HRF could prevent food allergy attacks.READ MORE
Study Finds Dietary Levels of Genistein May Adversely Affect Female FertilityNews
Researchers have found that chronic preconception exposure to genistein, a chemical found in soy foods and some dietary supplements, affected pregnancy rates in mice and was associated with prolonged labor, smaller litters and pups, and higher rates of pup mortality,READ MORE