In the United States the FDA regulates both dietary supplements and dietary ingredients.
These regulations fall under a different set of regulations than those covering "conventional" foods and drug products.
In the United States, a supplement doesn’t have to be proven safe before it can be sold.
The federal Food and Drug Administration must prove that the supplement isn’t safe — i.e., after consumers have complained, or someone’s gotten sick. And even then, the FDA has almost no power to remove unsafe supplements from the shelves.
Sure, manufacturers and distributors of supplements and dietary ingredients are prohibited from marketing products that are adulterated or misbranded.
BUT what that means that these firms are responsible for evaluating the safety and labeling of their products before marketing to ensure that they meet all the requirements of DSHEA and FDA regulations.
Read that again, "THE FIRMS are responsible..." That means they govern themselves!
Here's more fun supplement information you may not know:
The dose can vary wildly between batches. There’s little standardization.
The product doesn’t have to be pure. You don’t know what really is in that bottle, nor can you trust the purity of the ingredients. In fact, something labeled “Product X” may contain almost no “Product X” at all.
The product can have ingredients not on the label, including banned ingredients.These can cause problems for drug tests and allergic reactions.
The product may be full of things you don’t want, such as sugar, artificial sweeteners, glycerin, soy, artificial colours, etc.
The label can claim all kinds of things: “fat scorching”; “muscle amping”; “will turn you into a raging beast”, and so forth.
How the heck are you supposed to know what is "safe" to take???
Luckily, there are some things you can look for:
Start by looking for a “GMP” sticker, which means “Good Manufacturing Practices”. Or check Consumer Reports or ConsumerLab to see whether a given dietary supplement has been tested and approved.
Look for other filler ingredients on the label. They may not always be listed, but you can be sure if it says “sugar”, you should put the bottle back on the shelf.
Recently, consumers have pushed for agencies to certify supplements.
Buy from reputable distributors and manufacturers.
Don't hesitate to contact companies and ask about their manufacturing process, and/or where they get their ingredients.
Buyer beware! Be skeptical and ask questions!
Consider having a pharmacist or someone you know knows their stuff in your referral network.
If you want one of our certified strength and nutrition coaches to set you up with a personalized supplement plan. Shoot us a message and let's get you started on taking quality supplements and off of that non-regulated nonsense.