FDA warns of dietary supplements that may cause miscarriage, harm fetal development

(WHDH) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning women about certain dietary supplements that may cause a miscarriage or harm fetal development.

An ingredient called vinpocetine, which is commonly found in weight loss and neurological-boosting supplements, is associated with adverse reproductive effects, data provided by the National Institute of Health’s National Toxicology Program and reviewed by the FDA indicated.

The FDA says products containing vinpocetine are widely available for use by women of childbearing age. It may be referred to on product labels as Vinca minor extract, lesser periwinkle extract, or common periwinkle extract.

Dietary supplements containing vinpocetine are often marketed for uses that include enhanced memory, focus, or mental acuity, increased energy, and weight loss.

Scientists who have studied the effects of vinpocetine on pregnant animals concluded that vinpocetine decreased fetal weight and increased the chances of a miscarriage.

The FDA has asked firms marketing supplements containing vinpocetine to evaluate their product labeling to ensure that it provides safety warnings against use by pregnant women and women who could become pregnant.

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