Did you know federal law doesn’t require the potency, purity, efficacy, or safety of dietary supplements to be proven prior to being put on the market? In fact, most dietary supplements are already being sold before the Food and Drug Administration’s safety monitoring role begins. This means you could be taking a supplement that doesn’t even contain what is listed on the label, or that contains significantly different amounts than it claims to contain. This is concerning, as data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted in 2017-2018 revealed that close to 60% of U.S. adults reported taking a dietary supplement within the last 30 days, and this percentage is predicted to be on the rise.
So how do you tell if the supplement you’re taking is safe? Fortunately, there are
independent (not involved in the sale or production of the supplement) third-party organizations that test dietary supplements to ensure their safety and quality, such as the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) and US Pharmacopeia (USP). Products that have been third-party certified typically have a stamp of certification somewhere on the label. However, prior to taking any supplement, you should always speak with your primary care physician/health care professional to ensure it is necessary, safe, and will be beneficial for you, as many supplements can have unintended side effects or may interact with other drugs or dietary supplements. You can visit the Food and Drug Administration’s website to learn more about dietary supplements and how they are regulated.