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June 04, 2019

This common dietary supplement ingredient has been tied to higher risk of miscarriage

FDA: Women of childbearing age should avoid vinpocetine

Women's Health Fertility
Vinpocetine 06042019 Source/

Some companies market vinpocetine as a brain-boosting or cognitive-enhancing supplement.

An ingredient frequently found in supplements marketed as a brain enhancer, energy booster and weight loss promoter may increase the risk of miscarriage in women of childbearing age, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

The FDA issued a warning Monday after reviewing recent reports, including one by the National Institute of Health, that concluded consumption of vinpocetine is associated with reproductive effects, including miscarriage and harmful fetal development.

“These findings are particularly concerning since products containing vinpocetine are widely available for use by women of childbearing age,” the agency said.

RELATED READ: FDA vows to ramp up oversight of vitamins, dietary supplements

The FDA described vinpocetine as “a synthetically produced compound that is used in some products marketed as dietary supplements, either by itself or combined with other ingredients.” The agency warned that it might be listed on ingredient lists and product labels as “Vinca minor extract, lesser periwinkle extract, or common periwinkle extract.”

“We are also advising firms marketing dietary 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,” the FDA noted.

Earlier this year, the FDA said it will enhance its monitoring  of the largely unregulated world of vitamins and supplements in the United States.

“Today’s safety warning is just one of many steps the FDA is taking to adapt to the realities of the evolving dietary supplement industry,” the announcement said.

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