August 1, 2019 – Regulating Supplements


Anchor lead: Dietary supplements don’t provide much benefit and may not even contain what they say they do, Elizabeth Tracey reports

If you use supplements to improve your health, you may want to spend your money elsewhere. That’s the conclusion of a recent study by Erin Michos, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues looking at the impact of dietary supplements on cardiovascular health and death, and largely finding no benefit. Michos notes that supplements often do not contain what they are labeled for.

Michos: The problem with the supplement industry is that it’s not regulated by the FDA in the same way. It falls under the umbrella of food, not drugs. And so manufacturers don’t have to prove that they’re safe before they get put on counters, they don’t have to prove that they do the health claim that they put on the label. There’s been many studies where they’ve actually pulled supplements, for example fish oil, off the counter and looked. Many of them contain pharmaceutical ingredients that are not disclosed on the label, they contain not the amount of the compound that they said, so you just don’t know what you’re getting.  :32

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.