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News Article Vanuatu news of a new report on kava safety

Discussion in 'Kava News' started by DrJknows, Apr 7, 2019.

  1. DrJknows

    DrJknows New Member

  2. Kapmcrunk

    Kapmcrunk The Kaptain of Crunk KavaForums Founder

    Thank you for posting this. This is a lot to break down. It’s referring to noble and non noble kava types. There’s been much discussion...heated discussions in the past over this issue.
  3. Henry

    Henry . Moderator The Kava Society of New Zealand

    It is referring to a recent literature review. I've read several versions of the review and discussed it with someone close to the process. It's a review, so not any new study. It just looks (and does so rather imperfectly) at the available literature and existing studies.
    In a nutshell, the review observes that there is little evidence to suggest that any kind of kava can in itself be seen as clearly toxic to the liver and that there are some questions regarding the quantitative thresholds used for differentiating between cultivar groups. However, the report does not claim there are no differences between cultivar groups and it does not suggest that all forms of kava (extracts, beverage, raw powder, fresh etc) are the same and have the same safety profile.

    Overall, no new findings, but just an attempt at summing up the existing scholarship. In some aspects it's an OK review, in others it fails to engage important literature and/or overlooks more nuanced, albeit quite important, arguments.
  4. Zaphod

    Zaphod Kava Enthusiast

    Is there a copy of the actual study somewhere so we can read it? I am not a big fan of these large studies of studies, but sometimes the can pick out trends that that smaller studies don't see. On the other hand they usually don't include a lot of studies for various reasons that can skew the conclusions.
  5. Henry

    Henry . Moderator The Kava Society of New Zealand

    One of the problems I saw with the review was that while they acknowledged there was a difference between extracts and proper kava, they kept implying that the safety profile of both might be equally suspicious because of 3 bizarre cases involving some mysterious traditional kava. That's hardly a scientific approach. Way more people consume traditional kava and in much, much larger amounts than pills or extracts and yet toxicity is practically unheard of.

    From the report:
    "Additionally, hepatotoxicity has been associated with aqueous kava extracts which should have contained sufficient glutathione to offset the proposed toxicity mechanism"

    My comment:
    It refers to that one single case (or possibly two?). The number of cases in which water-based extracts were suspected of causing any issues is thus so tiny that it shouldn't necessarily invalidate the glutathione hypothesis. Not to mention the concerns about the safety of non-traditional preparations.

    The whole paper keeps saying that toxicity has been observed with water extracts. But again, they keep referring to those odd cases, the German tourist in Samoa and some boys from New Caledonia. Those cases were so bizarre and clearly not indicative of dose-dependent toxicity (the German guy had some watery Samoan kava for a week before he nearly died from liver damage?), that it's unreasonable to use them as "proof" that any concerns raised about extracts made with organic solvents are invalidated by those odd cases. Far fewer people have been taking far smaller doses of extracts than the number of people who take massive amounts of traditional kava and yet the former have reported far more problems (even though the overall number remains relatively tiny) than the latter.
  6. Henry

    Henry . Moderator The Kava Society of New Zealand

    Furthermore, their whole argument regarding the problems with quantiative criteria for tudei detection rests on their reading of Lebot's old paper from the 1980s in which he classified two kavas with a "noble" chemotype (423615 or something) as "tudei" among tens of other kavas. They claim that if those kavas are "tudei" then there can't be any meaningful way of identyfing tudei as tudei appears to have the same distribution of kavalactones as noble. A much more probable alternative, that the two samples tested by Lebot in 1981 were not in fact tudei, is not even considered by the authors. Instead they just say that if 1-2 kavas on the list of tudei from the 1980s have a noble chemotype then there is no way of telling which kava is noble or non-noble on the basis of chemotype or indeed any kind of quantiative criteria. The extremely comprehensive analysis and proposals presented by Dr Schmidt are practically ignored.
  7. Henry

    Henry . Moderator The Kava Society of New Zealand

    In any case, let's not forget that the real question (ignored by the reviewers) is: what is the benefit to the consumer of erasing the distinction between noble and tudei when it comes to recognising kava as food? Even if the evidence that tudei in a traditional form might be less "safe" (albeit still clearly less pleasant) is yet to emerge, there is clearly a shorter history of use, lack of traditional use outside of Vanuatu and clear evidence of higher likelihood of short-term adverse reactions. at the same time, there is no reasoned arguments why including tudei in kava exports (as food) could in some way be good for the consumer, or even as good as allowing for noble exports.
  8. Zaphod

    Zaphod Kava Enthusiast

    Thanks for your summary. Link?
  9. Alia

    Alia 'Awa Grower/Collector

    That is right on the mark . Key is history of regular, even daily, use.
    Zaphod -- my understanding is that a draft of this Review got to the local paper before it was officially published.
  10. Zaphod

    Zaphod Kava Enthusiast

    Gotcha. That must be why my google-fu can't seem to find a copy. That said, it is kind of tough to have a conversation about an article only one person can read....kind of like another report out there that no one can read and we have to rely on another person's analysis and interpretation :facepalm:. Seems like the original article, and this thread is near useless until someone is willing to publish it.
    Zac Imiola (Herbalist) and Alia like this.
  11. Krunkie McKrunkface

    Krunkie McKrunkface Kava Enthusiast

    fee fi fo fum, I smell a Peter Colmar somewhere
  12. Henry

    Henry . Moderator The Kava Society of New Zealand

    See one of the draft versions of the executive summary of the report attached (I believe this might be the final draft, actually)
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
  13. Kapmcrunk

    Kapmcrunk The Kaptain of Crunk KavaForums Founder

    Keeping things in perspective, this article seems to make a number of open ended statements regarding testing such as "Recommending chemical testing and setting limits on allowable content of specific -3- kava chemicals may be practical as a quality determinant and even as a precautionary measure for safety, but at this time cannot always be used to differentiate the current traditional designations of noble and non-noble." That tells me that they are aware of the issues at least at a cursory level and are looking at digging deeper.

    To sum it up, it seems as if they're just re-hashing old information. Basically refreshing the idea that "we need more studies". The difference this time being that the noble/non-noble issue is at the forefront. They are right. We need more studies about tudei and what it does to our system. I'd love to know what caused my skin to crack and bleed, and maybe if we're lucky enough we could create a way of extracting that and leaving the rest of the kavalactones.

    It really seems like the Vanuatu daily article either went a little too far, or the executive summary posted here doesn't go far enough. There is a rift between the two.
    Zac Imiola (Herbalist) and Alia like this.
  14. Krunkie McKrunkface

    Krunkie McKrunkface Kava Enthusiast

    It seems that

    a. there is no new information

    b. they are arguing to allow tudei exports based on...... no new information

    If they do allow tudei exports, consumer confidence in Vanuatu kava will go down, either that or there will be a rise in large enough facilities, like Forney, maybe, if they could be trusted to guarantee noble. And then people would only buy branded and certified Vanuatu kava. At the moment, just coming from Vanuatu is a kind of certification.
  15. Alia

    Alia 'Awa Grower/Collector

    Yes that is what I saw also but then heard that it may, yet, get edited then published.
    If you have heard that this is the final then that is different information.
  16. Krunkie McKrunkface

    Krunkie McKrunkface Kava Enthusiast

    With some mainland bank, maybe. I figure he’s too small town to be a front but I could see him doing almost anything. He’s a hoot. I’d love to get seriously krunk with him some day.
  17. fait

    fait Position 5 Hard Support

    If he offers to get krunk with you, you should have an acetone test ready in case he decides to lowball you for knowing too much!