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 Table of Contents    
Year : 2023  |  Volume : 55  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 62-63

Nutrivigilance – The need of the hour

1 Medical Affairs, B. J. Medical College, Pune, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Pharmacology, B. J. Medical College, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Date of Submission05-Nov-2022
Date of Decision05-Feb-2023
Date of Acceptance09-Feb-2023
Date of Web Publication20-Mar-2023

Correspondence Address:
Harshad Malve
6/2, Aabhish Nagar, Shivaji Nagar, Opposite Inox, Nashik - 422 006, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijp.ijp_772_22

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How to cite this article:
Malve H, Fernandes M. Nutrivigilance – The need of the hour. Indian J Pharmacol 2023;55:62-3

How to cite this URL:
Malve H, Fernandes M. Nutrivigilance – The need of the hour. Indian J Pharmacol [serial online] 2023 [cited 2023 May 29];55:62-3. Available from: https://www.ijp-online.com/text.asp?2023/55/1/62/372169

Dietary supplements are available over-the-counter and are not believed to pose any health risks. With the availability of online options, some people purchase dietary supplements often without professional guidance or monitoring. A major public health risk that can endanger the lives of such individuals is the paucity of accurate scientific information or medical rationale while using such supplements. For the rational use of dietary supplements and nutraceuticals, strict guidelines and regulations must be imposed regarding the active ingredients, identity, purity, and bioavailability of nutraceuticals.

Nutrivigilance is defined as “the science and activities relating to the detection, assessment, understanding, and prevention of adverse effects related to the use of a food, dietary supplement, or medical food.”[1] In the United States, finished dietary supplement products and dietary ingredients are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994. It also includes the reporting of adverse events to the FDA by all important stakeholders, including consumers, manufacturers, distributors, pharmacists, etc.[2] Herbal products or phytopharmaceuticals are included on the drug's list with requirements of safety and quality standards and having the commitment to report adverse events in the European Union. Dietary supplements authorization does not require any safety studies such as preclinical, clinical, or toxicological studies compared to drugs. European regulations refer only to their manufacturing, processing, approving, trading, promoting, marketing, and labeling.[3]

In India, food products are currently classified into nutraceuticals, health supplements, food for special dietary use, food for special medical purposes, prebiotics, probiotics, specialty foods, and novel food, according to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The FSSAI regulates food business licensing and registration, manufacturing, packaging, and labeling, food product standard, sales restrictions, toxin, and contaminants sampling, and laboratory analysis. To maintain the quality and safety concerns of nutraceuticals, it is a prerequisite for all companies to follow the regulatory guidance of FSSAI. However, there are no initiatives taken by FSSAI to proactively monitor or record the adverse events arising due to the consumption of food products.

  Relevance of Nutrivigilance to the Current Practice in India Top

Food products may lead to several adverse events, which are determined by

  • The inherent adverse effects of dietary supplements prompted by the active substances
  • Drugs and dietary supplements interactions
  • Adverse events related to adulteration to improve the activity with pharmacologically active substances such as steroids and neurostimulators.[4]

The examples include Vitamin D3 and calcium phosphate, leading to constipating bloating, metallic taste, thirst, tiredness, weakness, loss of appetite, and muscle pain and also when given along with quinolones, tetracycline lead to decreased antibiotic absorption.[5] Green tea extract (Camellia sinensis) is used to reduce body weight and is associated with liver injury when combined with warfarin.[6] Aloe vera, which is commonly used in India associated with adverse effects such as gastrointestinal complaints, arrhythmias, nephropathies, and edema, and when given along with anti-diabetics, causes hypoglycemia.[6]

  Nutrivigilance – Indian Scenario Top

The concept of nutrivigilance is relatively new in India, unlike that of pharmacovigilance for reporting adverse events due to drugs. The dedicated pharmacovigilance program of India was launched, which mandated adverse drug reaction monitoring.[4] Currently, no specific Indian guidelines exist for dietary surveillance, including postmarket surveillance programs for dietary supplements. Tools and guidelines for signal detection need to be developed.[7] A proper causality assessment structure or algorithm for dietary supplements that considers the intrinsic complexity of the product classes and subcategories is needed. A systematic and regularized framework will be helpful for both the FSSAI and the food industry in deciding whether a particular product or ingredient poses undue health risks with poor risk–benefit ratio that requires adequate risk alleviation strategies. A current requirement is to improve the domestic adverse event reporting process due to the recent surge in dietary supplements. Analysis of reported adverse events and actions taken concerning reported adverse events should be made public.[7]

  Role of Clinical Pharmacologist in Nutrivigilance Top

Apart from reporting adverse events clinical pharmacologist's role may include guidance on the rationale use of nutraceuticals and food-drug interactions. Clinical pharmacologists can also help to build up scientific evidence, proof of concept, and conduct activities which include conceptualization, initiation and implementation of postmarketing surveillance, real-world studies to accumulate evidence on the safety and disseminate the same to healthcare professionals.

  Conclusions Top

Indian regulations regarding food products, dietary supplements, and nutraceuticals are evolving. However, there is a need for more stringent regulations for nutrivigilance, i.e., detecting, monitoring, and maintaining the database of adverse events associated with dietary supplements, including the causality assessment. Important stakeholders in India should come together and adopt a proactive, methodical, structured, scientific, and standardized approach to the safety of food products, and nutraceuticals like the one utilized successfully in the pharmaceutical industry.

  References Top

Morgovan C, Ghibu S, Juncan AM, Rus LL, Butucă A, Vonica L, et al. Nutrivigilance: A new activity in the field of dietary supplements. FARMACIA 2019;67:537-44.  Back to cited text no. 1
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (no date) Dietary Supplements, U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA. Available from: https://www.fda.gov/food/dietary-supplements. [Last accessed on 2022 Oct 17].  Back to cited text no. 2
Halat KM, Dennehy CE. Botanicals and dietary supplements in diabetic peripheral neuropathy. J Am Board Fam Pract 2003;16:47-57.  Back to cited text no. 3
Kalaiselvan V, Srivastava S, Singh A, Gupta SK. Pharmacovigilance in India: Present scenario and future challenges. Drug Saf 2019;42:339-46.  Back to cited text no. 4
Sanaei M, Banasiri M, Shafiee G, Rostami M, Alizad S, Ebrahimi M, et al. Calcium vitamin D3 supplementation in clinical practice: Side effect and satisfaction. J Diabetes Metab Disord 2015;15:5.  Back to cited text no. 5
Schmitz SM, Lopez HL, MacKay D. Nutravigilance: Principles and practices to enhance adverse event reporting in the dietary supplement and natural products industry. Int J Food Sci Nutr 2014;65:129-34.  Back to cited text no. 6
Resu NR, Manju MS, Kondaveti S, Kumar SB. Neutraceuticals and nutrivigilance – Present scenario in India. Int J Food Biosci 2019;2:35-40.  Back to cited text no. 7


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