The FDA has issued a warning about a dietary supplement ingredient that can harm a fetus and even cause miscarriage. Pregnant women, women trying to conceive, and even women of childbearing age should avoid this ingredient.
Expecting mothers or those who may become pregnant should always take precautions about what they put into their body. Everything we eat, drink, or inhale passes to an unborn child. Since women won’t know right away when they are pregnant, it is wise to plan ahead when it comes to what enters our bloodstreams. Some substances stay in a woman’s body for a long time and can affect a fetus that is conceived much later. The problem is that we don’t always know what can hurt.
According to the FDA, a substance known as vinpocetine can cause miscarriage and harm fetal development. Vinpocetine is an ingredient found in dietary supplements. Women of childbearing age should not consume vinpocetine. The FDA also urges companies marketing this substance to add warning labels to their products.
The types of dietary supplements that contain vinpocetine are usually sold as memory enhancers that increase mental focus and energy enhancers that promote weight loss. Product labels may list the ingredient as vinca minor extract, lesser periwinkle extract, or common periwinkle extract. These “natural” sounding names might seem harmless, but vinpocetine is actually quite dangerous. Animal studies found decreased fetal weight and an increased frequency of miscarriage. It is likely that vinpocetine has the same effect on humans.
Supplements to increase energy and help lose weight are often marketed specifically to women of childbearing age. Sadly, the primary demographic targeted by companies that make dietary supplements using vinpocetine is the same group that it is so dangerous for. It seems pretty unjust to persuade someone to buy a product that can have dire effects on their unborn child! Hopefully, these companies will adhere to the FDA’s advice and add warning labels. In the meantime, check your ingredients and spread the word to other women!