How do you know if a supplement is safe?

Third-party testingThe supplement contains what is stated on the label and in the quantities listed, The products are standardized from batch to batch, The supplement is free of harmful levels of contaminants or other potential drug contaminants, The product does not contain any undeclared ingredients. If a supplement sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

How do you know if a supplement is safe?

Third-party testingThe supplement contains what is stated on the label and in the quantities listed, The products are standardized from batch to batch, The supplement is free of harmful levels of contaminants or other potential drug contaminants, The product does not contain any undeclared ingredients. If a supplement sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Credible supplements have peer-reviewed scientific literature that supports their use and effectiveness. Also, make sure the recommended dose is backed by science.

If it is, it will also be discussed in supporting studies. More doses don't always equate to better results, so be careful with mega doses. All supplements that InsideTracker recommends are backed by numerous studies and come with personalized dosing instructions. Talk to your doctor if you are taking medicine, are pregnant, or breastfeeding.

Get the latest public health information from the CDC Many adults and children in the United States take one or more vitamins or other dietary supplements. In addition to vitamins, dietary supplements may contain minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, and many other ingredients. Dietary supplements come in a variety of forms, including tablets, capsules, gummies, and powders, as well as energy drinks and bars. Popular supplements include vitamins D and B12; minerals such as calcium and iron; herbs such as echinacea and garlic; and products such as glucosamine, probiotics, and fish oils.

Products sold as dietary supplements come with a supplement information label that lists the active ingredients, the amount per serving (dose), and other ingredients, such as fillers, binders, and flavors. The manufacturer suggests serving size, but your healthcare provider may decide that a different amount is right for you. Some dietary supplements can help you get adequate amounts of essential nutrients if you don't eat a variety of nutritious foods. However, supplements cannot replace the variety of foods that are important for a healthy diet.

To learn more about what makes a healthy diet, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate are good sources of information. Many other supplements need further study to determine if they are of value. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not determine whether dietary supplements are effective before they are marketed. Many supplements contain active ingredients that can have strong effects on the body.

Always be alert to the possibility of a bad reaction, especially when taking a new product. Manufacturers can add vitamins, minerals, and other supplement ingredients to foods you eat, especially cereals and breakfast drinks. As a result, you may get more of these ingredients than you think, and more may not be better. Taking more than you need costs more and can also increase the risk of side effects.

For example, too much vitamin A can cause headaches and liver damage, reduce bone strength, and cause birth defects. Excess iron causes nausea and vomiting and can damage the liver and other organs. Be careful when taking dietary supplements if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Also, be careful when giving supplements to a child, unless recommended by your health care provider.

Many supplements have not been well tested for safety in pregnant women, nursing mothers or children. If you think you have had an adverse reaction to a dietary supplement, tell your health care provider. You can report your experience to the FDA. You can also submit a report directly to the FDA by calling 800-FDA-1088 or by completing an online form.

You should also report your reaction to the manufacturer using the contact information on the product label. The FDA has established good manufacturing practices (GMP) that companies must follow to help ensure the identity, purity, concentration and composition of their dietary supplements. These GMP can prevent the addition of the wrong ingredient (or too much or too little of the right ingredient) and reduce the possibility of contamination or improper packaging and labeling of a product. FDA regularly inspects facilities that manufacture supplements.

Tell your healthcare providers (including doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and dietitians) about any dietary supplements you are taking. They can help you determine which supplements, if any, might be valuable to you. Keep a complete record of all dietary supplements and medications you take. The Office of Dietary Supplements website has a helpful form, My Dietary Supplement and Drug Registry, which you can print and fill out at home.

For each product, write down the name, the dose you take, how often you take it, and the reason for use. You can share this record with your healthcare providers to discuss what is best for your overall health. Dietary supplements are products intended to supplement the diet. They are not medicines and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent or cure diseases.

The FDA is the federal agency that oversees both supplements and drugs, but the FDA regulations for dietary supplements are different from those for prescription or over-the-counter drugs. Drugs must be approved by the FDA before they can be sold or marketed. Supplements do not require this approval. Supplement companies are responsible for having proof that their products are safe and that the claims on the label are truthful and not misleading.

However, as long as the product does not contain a “new dietary ingredient” (one introduced since October 15, 1999), the company does not have to provide this safety evidence to the FDA before the product is marketed. Dietary supplement labels may include certain types of health-related claims. Manufacturers may say, for example, that a supplement promotes health or supports a function of the body (such as immunity or heart health). These statements should be followed by the words: “This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Manufacturers must follow good manufacturing practices (GMP) to ensure the identity, purity, strength and composition of their products. If the FDA considers a dietary supplement unsafe, it may recall the product from the market or ask the manufacturer to voluntarily recall the product. The FDA monitors the market for possible illegal products that may be unsafe or make false or misleading claims.

The Federal Trade Commission, which oversees product advertising, also requires that information about an add-on product be truthful and not misleading. The federal government may take legal action against companies and websites that sell dietary supplements when companies make false or misleading statements about their products, if they promote them as treatments or cures for diseases, or if their products are unsafe. NIH supports research and provides educational materials on dietary supplements. FDA issues rules and regulations and oversees labeling, marketing and safety of dietary supplements.

Recall notices are also posted on the FDA website or you can subscribe to receive FDA notices of recalls, recalls, and safety alerts. The FTC regulates health and safety statements made in the advertising of dietary supplements. The USDA provides information on a variety of food and nutrition topics. HHS provides wellness information, personal health tools and health news.

Scientists don't know if a daily multivitamin prevents the disease, but many people take them to maintain or improve their health. Others take only one vitamin or mineral, such as iron, to fill a gap in their diets. Like medicines, dietary supplements have risks and side effects. But unlike medicines, most people choose which dietary supplements to take without their doctor, nurse, or pharmacist knowing them.

As a result, is your doctor's main concerns that it is safe? is it effective? may be impossible to address. Vitamins made cheaply are a problem (scam) and are mainly based on the back of good well-made supplements seen in published studies. At a recent conference, I spoke with a researcher whose family mainly uses supplements where the specific brand has been tested in clinical trials. In addition, the data showed that people who ingested adequate amounts of magnesium, zinc, and vitamins A and K had a lower risk of death, but only if they got those nutrients from food instead of supplements.

On the one hand, dietary supplements can sometimes interact with each other, as well as with over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs. More than 50% of adults in the United States report using at least one dietary supplement,1 but just because supplements are consumed a lot doesn't mean they're heavily regulated. That means that supplements are not subjected to the same strict processes as clinical trials to prove their efficacy, purity or marketing claims, before they enter the market. Another much larger study reveals that the problem of contaminated supplements and lack of supervision is widespread.

In the past, research on a variety of supplements has found worrying discrepancies between what is on the label and what is on the bottle. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have the authority to review dietary supplement products for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed. In other words, the regulation of dietary supplements is much less strict than for prescription or over-the-counter drugs. However, most people who have side effects, illnesses, or drug interactions from dietary supplements don't call a poison control center or supplement manufacturer.

Unlike pharmaceuticals that must be proven safe and effective for their intended use before they are marketed, there are no provisions in the law for the FDA to approve dietary supplements for safety or effectiveness before they reach the consumer. . .

Sylvia Sako
Sylvia Sako

General beer ninja. Hipster-friendly beer evangelist. Hardcore web practitioner. Certified zombie nerd. Extreme twitter scholar.