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Dietary Supplements Shortchange Wallet and Health

We’re all seen the commercials or internet pop up ads. Hoodia will help us lose weight. Hydroxycut will give us bodybuilder abs. A whole slew of pills will contribute to longevity. But before you add that big bottle of Acai capsules to your shopping cart, you may want to read a recent Atlanta Journal Constitution article first. This very well researched article consulted some of the giants of the medical and pharmacological industries to uncover the dirty secrets behind the dietary supplement industry.

4 Reasons to Do Your Homework before Purchasing Dietary Supplements

1.) Many Dietary Supplements Do Not Have to Be Approved by the FDA – Only the nation’s largest supplement companies are required to submit their product to the Food and Drug Administration for approval. Next month companies with more than 20 employees will have to open their products up to FDA inspection, but the smallest companies will still go unregulated.

2.) Not all Chemicals Present in Dietary Supplements are Listed on the Label – Without FDA oversight, supplements producers have no reason to list controversial or possibly harmful ingredients on their labels. Some products include unlisted drug ingredients that may react adversely with prescriptions. Others may include lead or other toxic substances. Most people are not chemists, and without some sort of independent testing, it is impossible for the average person to know what they are ingesting when they pop a dietary supplement.

3.) Many Dietary Supplement “Free Trials” are Anything but Free – A Woodstock woman was one of many people who fell prey to a scam perpetuated by an online supplement company. After opting in to a low-cost trial Shirley Lewis found that she had also signed on for periodic high fees charged to her credit card. Wouldn’t you want complete transparency from a company when you are entrusting them with your health?

4.) Dietary Supplements have Questionable Effectiveness – The AJC article quoted Bruce Silverglade, director of legal affairs for the Center for Science in the Public Interest as saying, “Nothing burns fat. Nothing makes you lose weight while you sleep. These are known false claims. The [federal] agencies have taken action against them, but only on a case-by-case basis.” And according to David Allison, director of the Clinical Nutrition Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, evidence of effectiveness is nowhere to be found when it comes to most supplements. He suggests those in the market for dietary supplements ask the companies to first share the results of randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies done on humans before shelling out for a potentially worthless and perhaps even harmful product.

According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), only a few groups need dietary supplements in order to maintain good health. So if you are not a pregnant woman, nursing mother, strict vegetarian, senior citizen or sufferer of a food allergy, think twice before supplementing your natural diet.