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New FDA Rule Raises Bar for Supplement Industry

Well, hooray for the FDA.  On August 24th a new rule will be phased in, requiring all supplement manufacturers to demonstrate that their products contain the ingredients listed on their labels (nothing more, nothing less).  This rule will help to reduce contamination issues (some supplements have been found to contain dangerous levels of lead, bacteria, and other contaminants) and false advertising (some supplements don’t contain as much of an ingredient as the label claims).

This is really good news, and better late than never.  Although some manufacturers were already conforming to this rule (kudos to them), this will require compliance for the rest of the companies out there who have been misleading the public about the contents of their supplements.

Some say that this rule doesn’t go far enough to ensure the safety and efficacy of the contents of the supplements, and that these bio-active ingredients should undergo the same degree of testing as pharmaceutical products.  Unfortunately, studying all the supplements for efficacy would be an enormous and extremely expensive task that is totally cost-prohibitive.  At this point, the best we’ve got is NCCAM, and they are slowly grinding their way through a long list of supplements that are purported to be useful for the treatment of various conditions.  They are systematically reviewing them to see if indeed they produce the desired effect, without any undesired effects.

And so at this point, let the buyer beware – supplements may or may not be as helpful as the manufacturer claims, and they may not be as side-effect free as they suggest either.  But soon you’ll at least be able to know that they don’t contain toxic chemicals, heavy metals, or dangerous bacteria – and that’s a giant step in the right direction for public safety.This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

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One Response to “New FDA Rule Raises Bar for Supplement Industry”

  1. earthling says:

    This certainly is good news.  Such a basic thing – hard to believe it has taken this long before the FDA has stepped in. The supplement world is a “wild west” of claims and marketing and we can only hope that over time clinical studies will be performed so that there is objective evidence of their effectiveness for various healthh conditions.

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