Supplehuh?: The Dietary Supplement Act

Supplehuh?: The Dietary Supplement Act

Yesterday we talked about the pros of supplements. Today we’ll cover one problem in the supplement industry.

As I mentioned yesterday, there are positive things about the dietary supplement act that have had great outcomes.  Innovation within the industry,  the freedom to go to most stores and purchase supplements you’re interested in, and the freedom to find alternatives to aid in a multitude of ailments, among other positives. 

So, let’s get down to some nitty-gritty of what to watch out for. Know what you’re taking.

Because of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, the supplement industry has free rein to market and sell products without a solid foundation of evidence to support their claims.  They are also not required to demonstrate product safety before marketing their products.  The FDA can only step in when it is proven the products being sold have a serious risk or danger to using them.a picture of some pills with a white background, with some words
Many companies do their best in making the highest quality products. But unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

The fact that a number of companies do not have to test their products can be a real problem.  Four major companies were hit for selling herbal supplements that do not contain the herbal ingredient on the product label or very little of it. CNN Money reported these companies had multiple products tested, and none contained the active ingredient to provide the beneficial effect. One company’s St. Johns wort product is an example. SJW is normally used for its serotonin boosting properties to help with mood and depression, but one company’s product only contained grass and dirt.  None of the active ingredient was found. A picture of a hoe in some dirt

The Washington Post reported, “Of the four retailers, Wal-Mart was the worst offender: None of its six supplements that were tested was found to contain purely the ingredient advertised.”

Educate yourself.

Like I explained yesterday, you can protect yourself by purchasing products that contain exactly what you want. Look for products that are third-party tested.  If they have a USP certification or a cGMP certification, you can feel safer going with those products. The company has voluntarily taken their product and had it tested it at another facility to prove it contains exactly what the label says.  

And, as I mentioned above, many companies do their best in making sure the products they send out are of the highest quality,  Going above and beyond to ensure their customers are 100% satisfied with their purchase.  

However, there are companies out there who place less of an importance on customer satisfaction and place profits above that of customers.  Companies need to profit, which is not an inherently bad thing, but, it is a problem when companies place customer satisfaction/safety below profits. That’s when things get messed up.

Please note, this is something to watch out for, but not a “con” to taking supplements. A lot of great companies sell products that work, and I’ll cover these as we go. 

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