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Levels of Genotoxic and Carcinogenic Ingredients in Plant Food Supplements and Associated Risk Assessment

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DOI: 10.4236/fns.2011.29134    8,187 Downloads   17,084 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

The present study describes the selection, analysis and risk assessment of genotoxic and carcinogenic ingredients of botanicals and botanical preparations which can be found in food and plant food supplements (PFS). First an inventory was made of botanical ingredients that are of possible concern for human health because of their genotoxic and/or carcinogenic properties. In total, 30 botanical ingredients were selected and subsequently judged for their actual genotoxic and/or carcinogenic potential. Among the 30 compounds considered, 18 compounds were judged to be both genotoxic and carcinogenic. Interestingly, the majority of these compounds belong to the group of alkenylbenzenes or unsaturated pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Subsequently, based on available carcinogenicity data and estimated daily human exposure that was determined focusing on the intake from PFS, the Margin of Exposure (MOE) was calculated for the alkenylbenzenes estragole, methyleugenol, safrole and β-asarone. Calculating the MOEs for intake estimates of these alkenylbenzenes from PFS resulted in MOE values that were generally lower than 10,000 and often lower than 100. In some cases the MOE was even below 10 meaning that the estimated daily intake is in the range of dose levels causing malignant tumors in experimental animals. This result indicates that the use of PFS containing the genotoxic carcinogens estragole, methyleugenol, safrole or β-asarone might raise a potential concern for human health and would be of high priority for risk management.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

S. Berg, P. Restani, M. Boersma, L. Delmulle and I. Rietjens, "Levels of Genotoxic and Carcinogenic Ingredients in Plant Food Supplements and Associated Risk Assessment," Food and Nutrition Sciences, Vol. 2 No. 9, 2011, pp. 989-1010. doi: 10.4236/fns.2011.29134.

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