Consumer Safety with Dietary Supplements

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					Consumer Safety with Dietary Supplements

Dietary supplements are big business. An independent market analyst has recently
released 'The Dietary Supplements Regulatory and Market Outlook' based on the US
market for dietary supplements. The report states, the US dietary supplement industry could
register a 3.8% annual growth rate during 2010–15.

Despite belief to the contrary by some people, dietary supplements are not a replacement
for eating well. Instead, they ‘supplement’ the vitamins and minerals that you naturally
ingest from eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains and proteins. Dietary supplements are
found in capsules, tablets, pill, or even in liquid form. Supplements are usually found at
grocery and health food stores, pharmacies or online through distributors. If purchasing
supplements online, be sure that you are dealing with a credible manufacturer or distributor.

Though dietary supplements are taken for health reasons, manufacturers are not legally
allowed to state that a particular supplement will treat or cure a medical condition or that
they will in any way prevent a particular disease. They are however, allowed to say that a
specific supplement may contribute to well-being and maintenance of good health. Most
often the ingredients of dietary supplements are natural substances, many of which have
been used for hundreds of years in treating illness and helping maintain health. These
ingredients might even be used in some medicines; for example, willow bark tea has been
used for centuries to treat a fever.

The current good manufacturing practices (CGMP) Final Rule issued by the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) covers dietary supplements. It states that processing of dietary
supplements should match strict quality controls and be manufactured in a consistent
manner. The CGMP Final Rule ensures that consumers receive quality dietary
supplements that are correctly labeled and contamination free.

The Final Rule is designed for consumers to feel more at ease about the purity, strength,
identity and composition of the supplements that they are taking. The Rule does not restrict
consumers' access to any dietary supplement, however, the FDA does not cover any
guidelines relating to clinical trials or research about how dietary supplements impact
health. The FDA only ensures that the supplements are manufactured properly and meet
quality standards.

How safe are dietary supplements?
Dietary supplements are best taken after consulting a dietician, pharmacist or physician.
Also, supplements should be bought from a reputed manufacture. Dietary supplements
should not be viewed as replacements for conventional medicinal treatment, though they
might be combined with other treatments under a doctor's supervision. Women who are
breast-feeding or pregnant should be particularly careful about using dietary supplements.

Dietary supplements might cause some side effects, interact with other non-prescription or
prescription drugs, and trigger an allergic reaction. Check with your doctor before taking any
dietary supplement.

The medical community feels the FDA scrutiny is not strict enough and the regulations
remain unenforced. They are calling for stricter compliance standards and for extensive
monitoring and testing.

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Description: Dietary supplements are not a replacement for eating well. Instead, they ‘supplement’ the vitamins and minerals that you naturally ingest from eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains and proteins