Though many of us consume vitamins and minerals via the food we eat, dietary supplements can be extremely beneficial in providing vitamins for those who have certain health conditions, have a vegan lifestyle or are pregnant. Furthermore, you may have been advised by a doctor to take a supplement due to an underlying condition. Despite supplements providing the essential nutrients required for a healthy lifestyle, you need to be aware of the risks associated with taking certain supplements and why it’s highly important to take those that are FDA approved and cGMP compliant.
How are supplements regulated?
Vitamins are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Dietary supplements include any product that is intended to supplement a diet, such as minerals, vitamins, amino acids, microbial probiotics and enzymes. They may be in pill form, a concentrate, extract, capsule or any other form for consumption.
Dietary supplements are regulated in a different manner from conventional food products. The Dietary Supplement Health Education Act (DSHEA) 1994 states that manufacturers must not market products that are misbranded and are responsible for ensuring their products meet regulations of the FDA and DSHEA. However, it should be noted that the FDA does not have the authority to review supplements before they are marketed for sale. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to ensure their supplements are safe for use.
The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act rules that supplements must be intended for dietary purposes and must not claim to cure, treat or prevent a medical problem. This act is also responsible for setting legislation for labelling supplement products.
In 2007, the FDA established the cGMP regulations, or in other words, current good manufacturing practice, requiring that products are evaluated via testing of composition, strength, identity and purity during the manufacturing process. If a product is found to have adverse reactions, be unsafe for use or make false advertising claims, the FDA can remove the supplement from the market.
What are the risks of taking dietary supplements?
Consuming too much of a vitamin can result in negative side effects. The American Academy of Family Physicians or AAFP lists several side effects of consuming too many vitamins, such as an upset stomach, flushing of the skin and headaches. Furthermore, combining supplement products or taking them with prescribed medication can result in adverse effects.
When purchasing supplements goes bad
The internet has altered our spending habits, with more and more of us choosing to buy online, whenever we desire. While it’s ideal for allowing us to purchase products we may struggle to get hold of otherwise, as well as cheap deals, there are several risks associated with the online purchasing of dietary supplements.
Buying supplement products from countries outside the US may not be safe or effective. According to the FDA*, many manufacturers label their products as natural or herbal to gain trust from consumers. These products may contain hidden ingredients, such as potentially harmful substances that pose a health risk. You may find labels may state that the product is made in the USA, however this may not be the case as consumers tend to trust products that are manufactured in their home country. As well as purchasing products online, you may find unsafe supplements on sale at flea markets, on television advertisements, in magazines or in ethnic stores.
Even FDA approved products may prove unsafe, leading to the removal of the product from the market. Such was the case with Sibutramine in the drug Meridia. This product was removed in 2010 after studies demonstrated a risk of heart disease and strokes with use. Another case in 2008, revolved around a product named Total Body Formula, which had significant reports of adverse reactions. After the FDA tested the product, most samples were found to have more than 200 times the amount of selenium than specified and up to 17 times the recommended amount of Chromium.** The distributor later removed the product from the market.
How to stay safe when purchasing supplements
Although legislation does not require the FDA to approve products before the marketing process, the FDA ensures that products on sale are safe for consumption. You should always contact your local consumer complaint coordinator or Medwatch online to report instances of adverse effects to supplement products.
To stay safe when making a purchase, there are a few factors to consider.
- A claim of the product being all natural may be anything but. The FDA have discovered instances when supplements stating to be natural contain hidden ingredients that are dangerous for health.
- A product claiming to be a miracle cure or a quick fix for a health concern is most likely to be fraudulent. Any major scientific breakthrough would be mainstream news and not labelled as such on a supplement.
- A product with highly suspicious testimonials do not provide scientific evidence of effective results.
- Be wary of products that claim to treat a wide range of concerns.
- Imported products will not be FDA approved, even if they claim to be manufactured in the US.
- If you’re suspicious of a product or its claims, ask for advice from a doctor or healthcare professional.
- Buy from recommended brands, such as Nutrichem Labs.
Nutrichem Labs only provides high quality custom blends that are manufactured in FDA registered and cGMP certified facilities. This means that legislation is complied with during the manufacturing process in order to ensure that products are safe for consumption. Nutrichem Labs products are crafted with the consumers’ health in mind. All dietary supplements contain the correct dose of nutrients, so health benefits are delivered in the safest way possible. Nutrichem Labs don’t believe in providing miracle cures. Instead, each product is designed to achieve a healthier lifestyle in combination with regular exercise, a balanced diet and motivation.
Discover the incredible benefits of Nutrichem Labs products here and reveal a healthier you.
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