“This preparation has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety or efficacy.”
This statement is on every nutritional supplement sold over-the-counter in the U.S.
Doesn’t matter if they’re “memory power” or “male enhancers” or even “joint preserver.”
It’s on every one of them—look for yourself. You’ll find it in the smallest print on the lable.
It means “The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), by law, doesn’t have the authority to say whether or not this stuff works or is even safe.”
That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Nor does is mean it’s not safe.
it just means it’s not regulated.
As long as the stuff in the bottle isn’t known to be unsafe, you can pretty much package and sell it.
As a physician/influencer I get offers all the time to endorse pills for weight loss or fatigue or hair growth.
Do they work? I have no idea. But based on what I’m offered to endorse them, they sure do make money.
Now, the pills and potions I do prescribe are really no different than these supplements—heck, many started out that way.
- The FDA has checked the research that supports their use.
- The FDA is checking what’s happening to people who currently take the drug.
- The FDA can and does kick down the door of any medication factory and pull a pill off the manufacturing line for testing. If the pill’s not right, someone’s going to be fined.
If it was intentional, someone is going to go to jail.
None of these things are true for nutritional supplements.
Even if Dr Oz endorses them.
And Dr Donohue says they’re safe.
What to do?
- Recognize that this stuff may be “natural”, but they’re still drugs. They can cause a reaction, have side effects, even interact with the medications you’re already taking.
- Don’t get ripped off. Wal-mart and Walgreens usually have an equivalent for a fraction of the price.
- And for the love of heaven, tell your personal clinician absolutely every supplement you take on a regular basis. If she mocks or belittles you for doing so—fire her and get a new one. Actually, this is a pretty good test of whether your clinician respects you or merely sees you as a rube with an insurance card.
There’s nothing wrong with taking nutritional supplements. I have plenty of patients who swear by them. And if it helps them feel better safely, I thinks it’s great.
But these supplements do need to be treated with every bit of respect that prescription medication does.
And since they’re not regulated—perhaps a little bit more.
I’m THE expert on all things Medicare Advantage and Managed Care Medicaid. I’ve been a family physician for 25 years, helped create a multi-specialty group that cared for over a quarter-million souls and am absolutely not interested in selling you anything.
So ask me a question—what do you want to know? My expertise is at your command.
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