My goal for this post is to highlight the real world regulations for the market of supplements or lack there of. Over the counter supplements are seen as natural herbal remedies for a wide range of health struggles some examples include but are not limited to; depression, erectile-dysfunction, weight loss, improved metabolism, constipation relief, increased muscle growth, lowering blood pressure, improving immune systems, etc. The list can go on and on in just about every area of health along with every claim you could imagine. Some of these natural remedies and supplements are great they work well to improve symptoms without the need to seek further support. However, there are also lots of supplements that can be dangerous due to drug interactions so please consult you doctor before jumping to take a natural supplement if you are taking other medications. There are also supplements that, much like food products, have been adulterated to increase consumer acceptance and improve sales. This is what I will be focusing on today.
As you can already tell I am completely open to natural supplements but only when the consumer has done their homework to find the best option for them in addition to finding a "clean" product. But when consumers fall prey to the marketing of products without understanding anymore than what the supplement shows there is an increased risk of side effects you never realized. So what do I mean when I say a "clean" product aren't all natural supplements "clean?" Absolutely not. In fact the supplement industry is very poorly regulated so much so that more an more adulterated supplements are being discovered and brought up to the FDA (Federal Drug Administration: the organization that is supposed to be regulating this market). The FDA identified 746 supplements that were pharmaceutically adulterated between 2007 and 2016. What does that mean? These are "clean" natural supplements that have added unapproved anti-depressants and designer steroids, added sildenafil (prescription erectile-dysfunction drug), and prescription weight loss medications such as Meridia (sibutramine) which has been taken off the market due to increased risk of stroke and heat attack. These are products that are found on the supplement shelves across the country that can be purchased over the counter. What's even more upsetting is that despite the FDA having the power to recall these supplements the agency has failed to require recalls from any of the 146 companies that have adulterated supplements for sale in markets across the United States. Read more in this article: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/10/12/656875443/no-wonder-it-works-so-well-there-may-be-viagra-in-that-herbal-supplement
There are also concerns about the concentration amounts of vitamins and minerals in these supplements. A product should have what it claims to have in it but the FDA regulate these products to confirm these supplements truly contain what a company claims. This is why you need to consult a professional to find good quality supplements that are third party test to prove the supplement has what it says it is.
I hope this shows you how "open" the supplement market is. That there is lacking consistent regulation on the products that are being sold. This is why it is so important to do you homework when it comes to using over the counter supplements. You really need to know what is in the supplement you plan to take and why you are planning to take that supplement. It can be very helpful to speak to a pharmacist who can better describe supplements making them easier to understand. The big take away here is, don't just grab an herbal supplement thinking its natural so therefor safe believing it will meet your needs. Do your research ask the professionals including doctors, pharmacists, and dietitians to make a more informed decision the next time you are going to purchase a supplement.