The Ugly Truth About Supplements
Supplements are not drugs. They are not prescribed to cure, treat or prevent disease. One of the big factors that differenciate drugs from supplements is that drugs must undergo extensive testing to determine their safety and effectiveness, dosing interactions and their effects. Drugs are required to have FDA approval before hitting the market.
Supplements on the other hand do not undergo such research on safety and efficiency before hitting retail shelves. Supplements also do not fall under the food additive category that also must undergo testing before being released to the public.
Since 1999, Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act has required all supplements to be labeled with the products ingredients and the Supplement Facts panel. The FDA does not readilly monitor these claims because of the high volume of supplements bombarding the market in today’s health and fitness minded society. Often times athletes may be misled by effective marketing and packaging to believe the product’s claims.
With all this hype about supplements, is it really necessary to take supplements when consuming a well balanced diet? For the general public, supplements are typically not advised. A well-balanced diet will meet all the daily requirement levels of vitamin and minerals. This is not a blanket statement as varying activity levels may cause your body to use certain vitamins and minerals at various rates. Professional athletes may be advised to take supplements by their sport nutritionists or dietitian. In these cases the athlete should consider these questions when deciding on the best product to use.
1. Is there scientific research that supports the reported claims?
2. Is the supplement safe?
3. How much does the supplement cost?
4. Is the supplement just a gimmick packaged with a great advertising message?
5. Does the product contain a banned substance?