It’s a confusing subject and my primary research hasn’t reassured me at all.
I’m reading and researching this area and will get back to you on a regular basis, supplement by supplement, vitamin by vitamin with what I can really dig up about each product.
You see, there’s so much marketing and self-serving bovine excreta flowing over our media, the average person hasn’t a prayer of understanding or keeping up with the data flow. I know when I decided to lose weight and improve my diet, I immediately felt lost and completely out of touch. There were so many “helping voices” out there, I surely didn’t know where to turn. Or, frankly, in which direction to turn.
It was the same thing when I started researching supplements around Alzheimer’s Disease
This information will be a work in progress. Much like myself I note.
Getting A Picture Of What’s Out There
Consider it a snapshot of the current state of the art and as I learn more, I’ll update right here. Simply understand, as I said above, it’s a work in progress.
I wanted to get a snapshot of the industry before I began so started searching around on random topics.
It wasn’t pretty.
For starters, the industry is a well-protected one with significant Congressional support in the U.S.
A Time Magazine article said:
“1994 law, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, which prevents the products from the scrutiny and approval given to other drugs. “I could pretty much create something this afternoon in my kitchen and sell it and not have to do any kind of testing ahead of time,” author Catherine Price” You can read the Time article here.
Price wrote a book outlining the industry and its “issues” here on Amazon
OK, but what about the size of this business?
Well now, we run into a few problems getting numbers. There are a multitude of small companies promoting products that fly totally under anybody’s radar. And the industry itself got into a “PR war” between two competing groups arguing whether the industry was a 12 Billion or 37 Billion.
But those numbers dwarf in comparison to the 278 Billion projected for 2024 by Globe NewsWire.
What we can agree on is this is big business.
But It’s All Safe. Right?
Well, here we go again. If you note the U.S.A. regulations above (the largest consumer market for supplements) there are no testing requirements as there are for other foods. As long as you make no outright medical claims on the label, you can sell it as a “dietary supplement”.
Here’s the FDA website. There’s a ton of information on it in case you’re interested. The point I found interesting was the manufacturer is responsible for
From the FDA site:
- Manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements and dietary ingredients are prohibited from marketing products that are adulterated or misbranded. That means that these firms are responsible for evaluating the safety and labeling of their products before marketing to ensure that they meet all the requirements of DSHEA and FDA regulations.
- FDA is responsible for taking action against any adulterated or misbranded dietary supplement product after it reaches the market.
The translation is the company must market unadulterated products and can’t label them as “drugs” to treat specific issues. The FDA will take action on unadultered product or any label “misbranding” or claims.
So don’t water it down and don’t claim to cure on the label or promotional material.
Naturally, what herbalists or supplement supporters write on social media is out of the company’s control.
But There Must Be Controls On Production
Well not that I was able to discover. In fact, one of the things I discovered was that you could start your own supplement company quite easily. And if you don’t know how to do this (yet) you can take a course here on Udemy for $100.
One of the most famous author/podcasters Tim Ferriss (The Four Hour Workweek etc) got his start this way. He formed a company, sold it and funded his empire.
And celebrity endorsements are legion. Here’s an interesting report on which celebrity is endorsing which product and data about the product.
Speaking of sports celebrities and products, Consumer Reports magazine reported in March 2012, “We’ve had more than 400 recalls of spiked products since 2008,” says Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., director of the FDA’s division of dietary-supplement programs. Most were marketed for bodybuilding, sexual enhancement, and weight loss.” That, by the way, was in 4 years.
Are you confused yet?
Or a bit hesitant to take a look at your own supplements?
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