How can will know which dietary supplements are safe and effective?
I often ask myself this same question when I buy supplements.
The majority of adults take one or more dietary supplements either every day, or at least occasionally. However, most people are taking at least two prescription drugs — are you, or do you know somebody who is? People take medications even when we really often don’t know how the medicine affects the body, and how to stay healthy while using drugs or natural alternatives.
We can keep ourself healthy primarily through lifestyle and eating wholesome foods. But we should not forget the benefits of natural remedies. Today’s dietary supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbals and botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, and many other products.
So are these dietary supplements safe and effective?
In the U.S., dietary supplements are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), although it is totally the responsibility of dietary supplement manufacturers to ensure that their products are safe and that the claims made on the labels are accurate and truthful. If the FDA finds a supplement to be unsafe once it is on the market, only then can it take action against the manufacturer and/or distributor.
In other words, there's really no control over what supplements are coming to market.
So to be sure that you’re buying the highest quality of supplements, look for the good manufacturing practices (GMPs) label. These GMPs are designed to prevent the inclusion of the wrong ingredient, the addition of too much or too little of an ingredient, the possibility of contamination, and the improper packaging and labeling of a product.
In addition, independent organizations such as ConsumerLab.com and NSF International offer quality testing and give seals of approval. These seals prove that the product was properly manufactured and contains the ingredients listed on the label.
You can also search online for information about a particular dietary supplement. Here some of the reliable sources:
- Fact sheets on dietary supplements from the National Institutes of Health
And if you want to see more studies, then this is a good resource.
Don’t keep this beneficial information to yourself — share with your friends too!