4 Myths and Facts You Need to Know about Dietary Supplements

Get the facts about dietary supplements with LIVING HEALTHYDebbie M., MS, RD contributed to this article –

Did you know that dietary supplements such as vitamins, protein powders and creatine are not subject to the same federal regulations and manufacturing guidelines that pharmaceutical manufacturers must follow? Sure, bottles of vitamin C and omega-3 supplements have similar packaging to acetaminophen or ibuprofen, but their contents are subject to a drastically different set of rules.[i]

In fact, any product that is considered a “dietary supplement” isn’t even subject to the regulations that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) imposes on the FOOD industry. Though dietary supplements are readily available to the consumer—often found next to food and medicine aisles in your local super market and drug stores—they are not required to go through the same government pre-market testing for quality, safety and efficacy as these products. There is no Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) or registration with the FDA required for products that fall under the classification of a dietary supplement.

The FDA clearly states on its website the following: “Generally, manufacturers do not need to register their products with FDA or get FDA approval before producing or selling dietary supplements.”[ii]

That being said, it is important to address some common myths about dietary supplement so you can have the facts.

MYTH:  If it’s made it onto the shelf of your favorite super market or local supplement shop, then it’s been approved for sale.

FACT:  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve dietary supplements.  The FDA is responsible for taking action against any unsafe dietary supplement after it reaches the consumer. The FDA can limit or ban a supplement only if it is proved harmful to the public.

Adverse reactions by users are voluntarily reported.  Serious side effects should be reported to FDA: 1-800-432-1088 or www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/HowToReport/ucm053074.htm


MYTH: If something is labeled “natural,” then it’s safe and good for you.

FACT:  Although many supplements are considered safe when taken properly, some herbal products can be dangerous. Even certain vitamins can be toxic at high doses. Just because sugar and fat are natural, doesn’t mean that more of them is better, does it?  Remember, certain compounds found in natural forms of food are isolated or concentrated when they are in supplement form.

MYTH:  Like over-the-counter (OTC) drugs without a prescription, a dietary supplement can help me with an ailment or health condition.

FACT:  Though many herbal preparations are used to treat minor illnesses, they only assist in the treatment of major disease.  Dietary supplements shouldn’t be used to self-treat an illness without a health professional’s supervision. Certain supplements may interact with medications and cause harm.  If you have a medical condition, are undergoing treatment, or are taking medication consult your healthcare professional before taking a dietary supplement.


MYTH: Statements on the packaging and advertisements for supplements are accurate and regulated by the FDA.

FACT: They may not be. Retailers or marketers can provide reliable information about their products and their ingredients, but keep in mind that they have a financial interest in their products. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates the advertising of health claims on dietary supplement packaging and labels.

Be wary if statements are unclear or preposterous claims are made on the label.  Only health claims that are backed by research receive the FDA’s approval.


3 Supplement Rules of Thumb

-Due diligence = Consult your physician and learn about the supplements you are considering taking.

-Follow the directions provided on the package; don’t exceed the dosage instructions.

-Know the possible side-effects and what to look for in the case that you have an adverse reaction.


Remember, a Supplement is not a replacement for a Healthy Diet!

Posted on July 8, 2013, in Health, Helpful, LA Fitness, LA Fitness Blog - Living Healthy, LA Fitness Blog - Top Tips, LA Fitness Reviews - About, lafitness.com, Nutrition, Top Tips, Weight Loss and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. bhappy163@aol.com

    Nice article 🙂

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone

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