Supplementary Material for: Internet Claims on Dietary and Herbal Supplements in Advanced Nephropathy: Truth or Myth

Background: The use of complementary/alternative medicine has garnered rising interest in recent years. Natural products including herbs, vitamins, and minerals are the most popularly consumed. The Internet is a ubiquitous source of information/market for these supplements. Aim: To systematically evaluate the dietary and herbal supplement recommended for patients with CKD and ESRD on the Internet, and try to distinguish between the claim of the manufacturer and proven scientific data. Methods: A questionnaire assessing each website was formulated. Each product ingredient was recorded in the questionnaire by two independent reviewers and statistically analyzed. Results: Of the 184 websites, 28% claimed to decrease CKD progression, 60% did not advise to consult a doctor before taking the supplement, and >90% did not mention any potential drug interaction, disease interaction, or caution in use during pregnancy or in children. The ten common plant ingredients claiming to be beneficial in kidney diseases were uva ursi, dandelion, parsley, corn silk, juniper, celery, buchu, horsetail, marshmallow, and stinging nettle. In contrast to their claims, these substances were not adequately studied in humans. The available animal studies showed detrimental effects and potential drug interactions with commonly used medications in the CKD/ESRD population. Conclusions: Nephrologists need to be cognizant of the lack of substantiated proven benefits of these substances and of the potential adverse effects in the animal models that can translate to the patients. Most importantly, the policy needs to change regarding the regulation of these products to prevent patient harm and misinformation. i 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel