Is Intake of Flavonoid-Based Food Supplements During Pregnancy Safe for the Developing Child? A Literature Review

Author(s): Marta Barenys, Stefan Masjosthusmann, Ellen Fritsche

Journal Name: Current Drug Targets

Volume 18 , Issue 2 , 2017

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Graphical Abstract:


Due to potential health benefits and the general assumption that natural products are safe, there is an increasing trend in the general population – including pregnant women – to supplement their diet with flavonoid-based food supplements. In addition, preclinical studies aim to prevent developmental adverse effects induced by toxic substances, infections, maternal or genetic diseases of the unborn child by administration of flavonoids at doses far above those reached by normal diets. Because these substances do not undergo classical risk assessment processes, our aim was to review the available literature on the potential adverse effects of maternal diet supplementation with flavonoid-based products for the developing child. A systematic literature search was performed in three databases and screened following four exclusion criteria. Selected studies were classified into two groups: 1. Studies on the developmental toxicity of single flavonoids in vitro or in animals in vivo, and 2. Studies on the developmental toxicity of single flavonoids or on flavonoid-mixtures in humans. The data collected indicate that there is a concern for the safety of some flavonoids within realistic human exposure scenarios. This concern is accompanied by a tremendous lack of studies on safety of these compounds during development making definite safety decisions impossible. Besides studies of survival, especially the more specific developmental processes like nervous system development need to be addressed experimentally. Before new high-dose, flavonoid-based therapeutic strategies are developed for pregnant women further research on the safety of these compounds is clearly needed.

Keywords: Adverse effects, development, flavonoids, food supplements, herbal-based products, pregnancy, toxicity.

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Article Details

Year: 2017
Published on: 28 December, 2016
Page: [196 - 231]
Pages: 36
DOI: 10.2174/1389450116666150804110049
Price: $65

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