In the United States, all drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter are subject to inspection and regulation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But what about dietary supplements such as multivitamins?
I spoke to Dr Eric Huntington, President of the international nutraceutical manufacturer, Custom Nutra to get some insight into the protocols.
From a regulatory perspective, supplements aren?t considered drugs. They aren?t subject to the same kinds of stringent regulations regarding safety, content, effectiveness and potential side effects as traditional drugs are.
Why is this? Modern drugs are composites of chemical compounds designed to create a reaction in the body, not heal it. Most are forms of poisons or manipulators which shut off or activate bodily functions to alleviate some form of suffering. Such chemical reactions can have pretty dangerous side-effects,thus drug regulation is pretty much the process of weeding out which drug does what we want but has the minimum damage on the consumer.
The area of prescription drugs is so wildly out of control that in recent times D/Attorney Generals have been suing pharmaceutical companies for contributing to the opioid epidemic. The Independent newspaper even reported that one drug, Carfentanil is so deadly it is also used as a chemical weapon.
But I am not here to rip open the exhausting, yet endless scandal, of big pharma. I am here simple to explain that the FDA?s job is to review the clinical trials done on drugs and that the drug companies must only exhibit that the drug will not have ?too many serious side-effects?and ensure they don?t hurt people ?too much?.
From a language (etymology) perspective, nutritional supplements are really drugs. However, rather than attempting to cloak a non-desired body or mind issue, supplements are classified as food by law. This is not wrong as supplements themselves are attempting to provide the consumer with the missing nutrients no longer available in modern food.
Supplement Manufacturing Standards
There is a down-fall to the lack of interest in manufacturing supplements by regulatory bodies. Testing shows that over 85% of all supplement manufacturers use high volumes of fillers (starch and sugars). This means brands are permitted to manufacture vitamins and nutritional supplements and pretty much put whatever they want in it.
Child vitamin gummies are over 60% sugar, having the opposite effect of nutritional value. Yet kids love them so they are sold in the millions.
Body Building proteins are full of starch and thickeners and after testing can have as little as 5% of the stated proteins.
The examples go on and on. But as the industry is not well regulated, Supplement Manufacturers in the USA have free reign to push up profits and lower quality of supplements.
Dr Eric Huntington, summarized this further:
?The nutraceutical manufacturing industry is undergoing a peculiar shift. As awareness of the need of health supplements increases in the USA, international supplement manufacturers are undergoing more scrutiny to ensure product quality is maintained. The key is stringent ingredient quality testing and constant focus on ensuring consumers get what is written on the bottle.?
Nutritional Standards Start With Us
Looking forward, it is up to you and I (why we always have to deal with it I don?t know?) to enforce the standards of the supplement manufacturing industry within the USA. By demanding testing, by demanding to see lab results and demanding high concentration supplements we can reap the benefits of nutrition and perhaps remove the stigma that ?these don?t work?.