Dietary supplements in the United States include a wide array of ingredients and products that are broadly available in the marketplace. While these products are presented in formats that give the appearance of standard over-the-counter (OTC) medications such as aspirin, their manufacturers are not required to provide the same level of pre-market safety data as manufacturers of OTC products. Botanical supplements, in particular, are directly derived from wild, or in some cases, commercially grown plants and therefore are more subject to product variability due to plant contamination, and manufacturing and post-manufacturing variables that are currently not regulated.
The United States and countries within Europe have widely differing approaches to regulation and marketing of dietary supplements of plant origin. While these aspects may differ, scientists worldwide share concern with the need for careful hypothesis-driven research on the efficacy and safety of dietary supplements, and, as is illustrated in this book, a commitment to high-quality research in plant bioactive compounds.
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