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CRN to publish risk assessment of amino acids

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WASHINGTON The Council for Responsible Nutrition on Thursday announced that its risk assessments on the safe upper-intake levels for the amino acids taurine, glutamine and arginine used in dietary supplements will be published in the April issue of the peer-reviewed journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology. “Over the last decade the prevalence of amino acids within sports nutrition supplements and ‘energy-boosting’ functional foods and beverages has significantly increased,” stated Andrew Shao, CRN vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs and co-author of the paper. “We chose to assess the safety of taurine, glutamine and arginine because they are among the most widely used and studied of the supplemental amino acids.”

CRN concluded that the absence of adverse effects is strong for taurine at up to a dose of 3 g per day; for glutamine, at up to 14 g per day; and for aginine, at up to 20 g per day.

“CRN is dedicated to helping ingredient manufactures deliver the safest products possible to consumers, and risk assessments are the best indicators we have to establish upper limits,” stated John Hathcock, senior vice president of scientific and international affairs and also co-author. “These risk assessments … represent the first time upper-intake levels have been identified for amino acids.  …  It is important that we don’t allow for a non-scientific approach, such as the use of a random multiple of the recommended daily allowance.”

The upper levels do not suggest that supplements taken above the level identified are unsafe, nor do they constitute a recommended intake, the authors cautioned. They merely identify the highest quantitative level at which there is no known toxicity, ensuring that science is the deciding factor when it comes to setting and enforcing regulatory guidelines for ingredients used in dietary supplements. 

This is the eighth in a series of risk assessments completed by CRN scientists.  Previous risk assessments on vitamins C and E were published in 2005 and on vitamin D in 2007 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  Risk assessments on nonessential nutrients including coenzyme Q10, lutein and lycopene, creatine, carnitine, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate were published in 2006 and 2007 in the journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology.

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