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Personal Injury Law: Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyer
Consumers Need To Be Informed About St. John's wort and Cataracts
By Eddie Farah
News is beginning to emerge in the popular media that the plant, St. John's wort may, while being a cure for mild depression, not be good for our eyesight.
Research out of Fordham University finds that in the lab, hypericin, which is the active ingredient in St. John's wort, may also make the eye susceptible to sunburn, even in visible light, which causes cataracts and macular degeneration. The herb is, in other words, phototoxic to the ocular lens.
If that is true we would expect to see the effects in a large population… and that is exactly what we are seeing.
Using data from the 2002 National Health Interview survey, researchers from the University of Alabama cross-compared St. John's wort use and cataracts and came away with a statistically significant result - participants with cataracts were 59 percent more likely to report SJW use for at least a year.
This is intriguing at the very least and should serve as a red flag for anyone turning to 'Nature's Prozac.'
Unlike medications, the FDA regulates dietary supplements under a different set of regulations. The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) makes the supplement makers responsible for ensuring it is safe before it's marketed.
The FDA's role is to monitor any adverse events that may crop up AFTER the supplement is on the market.
It seems a little like the tail wagging the dog, but the alternative is for the FDA to take on even more regulation, which would have to include aspirin and alcohol, as they both can present dangers if used irresponsibly. In other words, it is a slippery slope to have government regulation over dietary supplement, although no doubt this news will be used to make that case.
The best thing we can do is get the word out on Web sites that provide consumer information such as InjuryBoard, so that anyone who relies on St. John's wort is an informed consumer.
In the meantime, if you take St. John's wort, please have your eyesight examined regularly, and consider changing it out with other supplements that are also known to elevate mood.Originally posted at InjuryBoard by Eddie Farah
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