DRUG RECALLS FREQUENTLY INVOLVE NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS
If you have been around the field of nutrition for very long (I have been studying or working in this field since 1986), you are aware that the medical community --- via the long arm of the government --- has tried numerous times (unsuccessfully I might add) to have dietary supplements classified as "prescription only". This is because many of them are said to be "dangerous" or even "deadly". But is this true? Certainly not! INEFFECTIVE maybe, but not dangerous. But be warned; many of the so-called "nutrition" companies are fly-by-night affairs who are marketing and selling junk nutrition (several examples among THESE POSTS).
A recent issue of the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine reported that just over half of all the Class I FDA Recalls are for dietary supplements. Most of this has to do with the fact that these supplements either contain things that are not on the label, they do not contain things that the label says that they do contain, or the ingredients are substandard. Are you surprised? You shouldn't be. Particularly when you find out that most of these "rogue" supplements fall into one of three categories.
I have always said that if my life's purpose was making money, I would create a cheap weight loss formula using whatever garbage I could get my hands on, make all sorts of wild claims about its abilities, hire a couple of website / SEO gurus to promote it online, and sit back and rake in the cash from gullible consumers. And if I were really ambitious, I could take to the satellites and do a TV infomercial. Once people figure out it doesn't work as claimed (eat anything you want and still lose weight), I repackage the same formula and start the process over under a different corporation and with a "different" product.
As one might well suspect, the study's lead author, Dr. Ziv Harel of St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, stated that we need to, "regulate this industry through more stringent enforcement and a standard of regulation similar to that for pharmaceuticals. Keeping the status quo may taint the dietary supplement industry as a whole." Is Dr. Ziv correct here? What needs to be done?
Truthfully, I am not sure anything needs to be done. Regulation always leads to more regulation, which in turn leads to even more regulation. Although Dr. Mitch Katz (in an editor's note) states that the number of crappy dietary supplements is, "grossly underestimated", and that, "dietary supplements should be treated with the same rigor as pharmaceutical drugs and with the same goal: to protect consumer health," I am not personally convinced that anything drastic needs to be done about this problem.
Simply stop buying these cheap crappy supplements! Let the companies wither on the vine and die. If the claims seem too good to be true, they probably are! For instance, what is the best 'male enhancement' supplement for dealing with impotence? I discussed that just the other day --- and the answer is HERE. In fact, read what I had to say about this entire issue on my WHOLE FOOD NUTRITION PAGE. And the brutal truth is that I could say the exact same thing about the way that most people want to use dietary supplements.
Dietary supplements are usually cheap junk. Quality Whole Food Nutritional Supplements are made from cold-processed, real, organically-raised plants and animals are different. If you are one of those who are spending part of the estimated 20 billion dollars a year that Americans spend on supplements, make sure you are getting the greatest amount of bang for your buck. Nutritional Supplements should be just that ---- supplemental to a diet rich in nutrient-dense Whole Foods. And do not be fooled by the fact that this piece from JAMA Internal Medicine ended with the "trust us" disclaimer ---- The researchers reported no conflicts of interest. Don't kid yourself.
This article was not written with public safety in mind. It was written to soften up the public for the medical / pharmaceutical industry's next big grab ---- yet another attempt to heavily regulate nutritional supplements (including making them a prescription-only item). How do I know this? Despite the fact that there are, as claimed by the FDA, lots of cheap, ineffective dietary supplements on the market, the article stated that, "No adverse events related to these recalled products were noted in the FDA database". So even though many of the supplements were undeniably junk, there were no adverse events associated with them. Too bad we can't say that for THE PHARMACEUTICAL AND MEDICAL INDUSTRIES.
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).