Supplements: Science or Hype- Part 2

Now that we’ve cleared up the marketing terminology regarding “grades,” as discussed in Supplementation – Part 1, let’s get to the real crux of the matter. The United States is the only non-third world country that does NOT require Federal scrutiny when it comes to supplements and their claims. It appears that our government may be swayed (and paid) by lobbyists that benefit certain markets and suppliers: ”In October 1994, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) was signed into law by President Clinton. Before this time, dietary supplements were subject to the same regulatory requirements as were other foods. This new law, which amended the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, created a new regulatory framework for the safety and labeling of dietary supplements. Under DSHEA, a firm is responsible for determining that the dietary supplements it manufactures or distributes are safe and that any representations or claims made about them are substantiated by adequate evidence to show that they are not false or misleading. This means that dietary supplements do not need approval from FDA before they are marketed. Except in the case of a new dietary ingredient, where pre-market review for safety data and other information is required by law, a firm does not have to provide FDA with the evidence it relies on to substantiate safety or effectiveness before or after it markets its products.”

All this really means is that a product must dissolve in liquid within a certain amount of time and it must NOT kill you. Really, I’m serious…that’s what it means. Remember that a supplement is, by definition, “… a product taken by mouth that contains a ‘dietary ingredient’ intended to supplement the diet.”

Having said all that, don’t let it deter you from taking your vitamins and always with food or a meal that contains some kind of fat (remember that can be things like nuts, avocados or olive oil). Also remember that a vitamin is an adjunct (addition) to your diet. They are not meant to take the place of a reasonably healthy diet or whole foods; they simply acts as a way to fill in the gaps. Vitamins are like nutritional insurance. Many won’t need them, but most can benefit from things like Vitamin D or B complex

supplements, and it is good to know what to look for (GMP seal) and what to do with them.