The Environmental Mutagenesis and Genomics Society selected an article by investigators at DLH as their Editor’s Choice – highlighted on the cover of the December 2022 issue of Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis (EMM). DLH Principal Scientist Sandra McBride and DLH Systems Analyst Guanhua Xie were among the co-authors of the article titled, “A cross-sectional clinical study in women to investigate possible genotoxicity and hematological abnormalities related to the use of black cohosh botanical dietary supplements.”
This study investigated black cohosh, a top-selling botanical dietary supplement marketed to women primarily to improve various gynecological symptoms. Due to limited safety information, sporadic reports of hepatotoxicity – injury or impairment of the liver – and the continued widespread usage of this supplement, it was evaluated in female rats and mice. This evaluation uncovered increases of micronucleated peripheral blood erythrocytes, which may signal disruption of the folate metabolism and inadequate folate levels in early pregnancy. These factors can adversely affect neurodevelopment.
The authors then designed a pilot study in which 23 women were enrolled in a group exposed to black cohosh supplements and 28 women were enrolled in a black cohosh-naïve group. The findings of this study revealed no increased micronucleus frequencies and no hematological abnormalities in the 23 women who used the black cohosh supplements. Further research to detect subtle side effects would increase confidence in these findings.
Follow DLH on social media below to stay up-to-date with all things DLH!