CONSUMER BELIEFS ABOUT DIET SUPPLEMENTS
Consumers tend to believe that dietary supplements:
- Are not drugs.
- Have fewer side effects than prescription drugs.
- Are approved by the FDA.
- Will improve and maintain health.
- Are safe, high quality, and effective.
- May replace conventional medicines .
DIETARY SUPPLEMENT REALITIES
- FDA does not approve, test, or regulate the manufacture or sale of dietary supplements.
- The FDA has limited power to keep potentially harmful diet supplements off the market.
- Dietary supplements may not have been tested for safety or effectiveness before they are sold.
- Dietary supplements often do not list side effects, warnings, or drug or food interactions on product labels.
- Ingredients listed on supplement labels may not include all active ingredients.
- Dietary supplements may not relieve problems or promote health and performance as advertised.
One of the most serious consequences of supplements results when they are used as a remedy for health problems that can be treated, but not by vitamins or minerals. Vitamin and mineral supplements have NOT been found to prevent or treat heart disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, premature death, behavioral problems, sexual dysfunction, hair loss, autism, chronic fatigue syndrome, obesity, cataracts or stress. Some such as vitamin E, vitamin C and beta-carotene may be harmful to certain groups of people. If taken, dosages should not be excessive.
Source: Judith Brown, Nutrition Now, 2013.
For a case study that clearly illustrates how unscrupulous a company will be to promote an adulterated product, it makes one be aware of dietary supplements that sound innocuous, but in actuality can be harmful and in certain instances, lethal. Note the cases in the article concerning supplement use and acute liver failure, for example.
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