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The Unregulated World of Supplements

Renee Romano |

While many supplements contain safe, beneficial ingredients, the industry's loose regulations make it a bit of a gamble. Do your research, buy from reputable brands, and have realistic expectations. Supplements are meant to supplement an already healthy diet - not replace it.

While vitamins, minerals, and natural compounds like creatine can provide great health benefits, the supplement industry is still very much a "Wild West." Here's a look at the lack of regulation:

No Pre-Approval Required

Unlike prescription drugs, the FDA does not review or approve dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they hit the market. It's up to manufacturers to ensure their products are safe.

Loose Manufacturing Standards

There are no standardized good manufacturing practices for supplements. Quality can vary widely between brands in areas like purity, potency, and bioavailability. Third-party testing is voluntary.

Misleading Claims

Supplement companies are prohibited from marketing products as treatments for diseases. However, they can make vague structure/function claims about affecting the body. Many stretch the truth.

Dangerous Ingredients

Certain ingredients like ephedra and DMAA were pulled from supplements after being linked to serious health issues. But new unlisted, untested ingredients pop up frequently in proprietary blends.


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