It's absurd that you can't trust that the ingredients list on something as mundane as a multi vitamin is accurate.
The reason why we know these supplements have unapproved pharmaceuticals in them is because regulations say: 1) you can't, 2) the FDA has the power to test them, 3) the FDA has the power to force a recall.
The FDA is prohibited from banning supplements that have been in use prior to 1996 (or so). They are also allowed to restrict what can be said about the supplements (they can't make unsupported medical claims).
I don't know about you, but unless a supplement is actually dangerous, I think it's good the FDA can't come in and tell adults what they can and can't put in their own bodies.
If data suggests a supplement isn’t safe, the FDA can ban it.
Plus, you’re not allowed to make specific safety or efficacy claims when selling a supplement. You can be vague about “It’s been used for insomnia”. But that’s about it.
> Under a 1994 federal law, supplement makers must submit some kind of safety data to the F.D.A. if they plan to introduce new ingredients to the market. And manufacturing-practice rules require them to make sure their products contain only the ingredients listed on the labels, with no hidden substances. But, unlike drug makers, supplement makers are not required to prove that their products are safe and effective on humans. Nor do they have to get federal approval before selling their products. That means it is up to the F.D.A. to identify any risky supplements from among the estimated 85,000 on the market, and to prove that they are adulterated or present health hazards.
Again, the onus is on the FDA to find supplements that are previously unknown, regulated drugs. If we flipped the requirements, supplement makers would be barred from selling their supplements without clearing them with the FDA first. The active drug in that story has since been banned by the FDA: https://www.fda.gov/food/dietarysupplements/productsingredie...
You're not allowed to make specific medical claims. But you are also not required to show any efficacy for what you do claim, and the supplement industry regularly gets as close as they can to "specific medial claim." And sometimes they cross it! And, again, the onus is on the FDA to find such cases.
In terms of the onus being on the FDA, that’s how it should be. A default “it’s banned unless we say so” would limit access to supplements that have been used for decades. They’d need to be pulled off the market. Supplement makers are unlikely to have access to the millions of dollars it would take to a supplement through clinical trials to prove safety and efficacy.
And as for the claims, the FDA issues warning letter by the ton when supplement makers step over the bounds.
You can claim it’s used, but t can claim it treats any disease.
>High doses of omega-3s can reduce levels of triglycerides.. Omega-3 supplements may help relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
My understanding is that there is no evidence suggesting fish oil is beneficial for humans other than these two things. However, regularly eating fish has a few more benefits. So, instead of taking fish oil pills, it probably makes more sense to eat fish once a week.
In my opinion, people should start with topical treatments for arthritis first, such as blue-emu or penetrex cream, as it is safer (not entirely safe, but much safer) than ingesting anything that is a COX-1 or COX-2 inhibitor, or that acts as a blood thinner. I mention Cox-1/2 because many other supplements are in that category (Curcummin, Aloe and many others) but people may not understand what that can mean for them. A lot of folks take Aloe for Arthritis, but not everyone should. It depends heavily on your gut lining and health.
I am reaching a point where I can probably debunk most of the health websites and I might make some youtube videos on the topic, since many of these sites are harming people by not giving them all the facts. NIH being the number one offender. For some time, I thought those articles were vetted and peer reviewed. A few of them are, but most are not. Anyone can publish write-ups on PubMed it turns out.
Strangely enough, his Wikipedia article doesn't mention his championship of the natural health industry, the word "supplement" doesn't show up even once. It must be that even his supporters find the "Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994", which he sponsored, too blatantly in favour of the industry and too damaging to public health.
The word vitamin doesn't appear in the article.
There's an incentive to adulterate these products with anything producing noticable positive short-term effects. There's no reason to believe vitamins are exceptional here - if you start taking a multivitamin that seems to improve your focus and energy slightly, you're more likely to continue buying that vitamin. A small addition of Amphetamine salts or even caffeine would do the trick.
(I should mention that I worked in a pharmacy, and have seen these effects first hand. I've also seen folks completely ignore a pharmacist recommendations for whatever their cousin's husband's mother said).
I'll add that I wouldn't trust such an agency to tell me my actual, FDA-approved medications are safe, and we are basically talking about folks using products for health reasons.
Caveat emptor is never going to work for subtle problems like this.
Note that the paper used the FDA's own wesbite for it's analysis.
My take is that it's unreasonable to expect most of the population to be mostly skeptical of the products they consume most of the time. I think most people have the feeling that things they buy at the drug store or GNC will not actively harm them; I don't think they understand that the supplement industry is essentially unregulated. I think they have about the same level of trust in supplements as they do in, say, buying meat from the grocery store. My position, then, is rather than acceding to the existence of the bad actors, we should use regulation to prevent them from existing.
An editorial from a medical researcher who thinks the FDA is under-performing in even the light regulation they have of the supplement industry: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle...
The study takes 150 random products and finds issues with 20% of them, I guarantee those 20% are not sold at GNC, VitaminShoppe etc.
This is just really not a big problem for normal every day people.
> Since FDA sampling has focused on dietary supplements found online or through import screenings, this data analysis does not indicate the prevalence of these adulterated supplements at retail locations.
But I would not have confidence in what is sold at retail. A 2015 operation by NY state found problems with supplements sold by GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart: https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/03/new-york-attorney-... Granted, I don't think they found any actual drugs in the supplements, but many of the supplements did not contain what they claimed to contain, and some of what they did contain are potential allergens.
Literally the only surprising one on the list is Slim Fast, and it's so surprising I'm wondering if they are using extremely old stock or something. The rest of the "supplements" are dick pills with names like "Sexy Monkey."
It's just not even the same market as the weekend warrior crossfit bro who takes whey protein and maybe gasp creatine.
The general problem is that whatever you look at you are likely to find a type of contamination that isn't being checked for with the same level of oversight as the food industry or the pharmaceutical industry.
It's crap, but it's not on the list.
It is on the list, and now that I look closer, yes the stock they are using is from 2009 when Slim Fast openly advertised that they used sibutramine. They have since stopped, so this list is somewhat suspect.
The "Slim Fast" that is on this FDA list is a knock-off from "Universal ABC Beauty Supply International, Inc."
Didn't GNC sell Superdrol and other designer steroids and pro-hormones?
That's obviously false.
The worst the free market can do to a fraudster is to stop dealing with her as knowledge of her frauds becomes widely known. That, of course, doesn't work very well to limit fraud.
There are all kinds of other problems with that, of course. I'm not saying it's a good idea. But in terms of "why would people buy these?", well, I'd suggest part of the reason is that people want to lose weight, be sexually potent, or get swole, and these "adulterated" supplements actually work. Just at a cost you may not have realized you were paying, or intended to pay.