While it is critical that your physician be aware of what supplements you are taking, there are numerous supplements available, and it is likely that your doctor will be unable to provide you with advice on many of them. There are several causes for this, but the two most important are:
- Most supplements have not been properly studied as a preventative or therapeutic measure for the ailments for which they are advertised.
- The supplement sector is not governed in the same manner that prescription medications are. The label’s ingredients may not fully reflect what’s in the supplement.
As a consequence, your doctor’s primary concerns — is it safe? is it effective? — may be hard to answer.
Is the supplement label important?
Naturally, it does! You’d want to know, at the absolute least, that what’s on the label is what you’re getting.
- Previous research has revealed that supplement labelling may incorrectly define the supplement’s dosage, so you may be receiving more or less than stated on the label.
- Unveil the right medicinal components but omit to indicate that it may mix with other medications or exacerbate an existing illness For example, chondroitin (commonly used to treat arthritic symptoms) may induce bleeding if you have a bleeding disorder or are using a blood thinner, such as warfarin (Coumadin).
- Contain pollutants – the secret component is frequently included to boost the impact of the supplement. Banned stimulants, for example, have been discovered in a variety of weight reduction pills.
According to studies, contaminated supplements and deceptive labelling are frequent
Previously, studies on a range of supplements discovered alarming differences between what’s on the package and what’s in the container. One recent study looked at three memory supplements: two of them had no active component, and one had unknown compounds that raised severe concerns about its safety.
Another, far bigger investigation discovered that the problem of contaminated supplements – and the lack of control – is pervasive. The warnings issued by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) between 2007 and 2016 were examined by the researchers. These included 776 dietary pills containing pollutants, such as
- Sildenafil citrate (Viagra), a prescription medication included in sexual enhancement supplements
- Meridia (sibutramine), a weight reduction supplement. This medicine was licenced for weight reduction in 1997 but was pulled off the market in 2010 after research connected it to heart attacks and strokes.
- Steroids or medicines having steroid properties in muscle-building pills
More than one prohibited component was found in about 20% of the tainted supplements. Moreover, one-third of the tainted pills were discovered in more recent investigations by sampling goods acquired online, and another third arrived via international postal delivery.
Regrettably, the FDA announced voluntary recalls for just about half of the dangerous supplements.
The issue of contaminated dietary supplements is not going away anytime soon. However, we are hoping that the FDA will take a more active role in this problem and assist customers in protecting themselves from dietary pills that may include hidden substances.
Meanwhile, if you don’t know what’s in a supplement, you might be jeopardising your health while attempting to improve it. The safest bet may be to stay with what has worked in the past (and tested). If you have any questions, see your doctor and pharmacist. But don’t be shocked if they only say “buyer beware.”