Dietary supplements can work extraordinarily well at what they’re intended for, and with far fewer adverse side effects than its pharmaceutical cousins. Recently a study was released that created chaos and misinformation among the industry and consumers.
Basically the study released by the New England Journal of Medicine ‘estimated’ that supplement use caused 23,000 ER visits per year. The study was based on 63 hospitals during 2004 to 2013. Data NOT used at all was the official FDA’s “Adverse Event Reporting” database which is the legal process of reporting, and has data showing a drastically smaller number of incidents. Interestingly, 20% of the study’s total involved children getting ahold of products, 38% were seniors who had various issues with the size of the pills, and the report included products that were herbals, topical creams, and homeopathic remedies – all skewing the numbers. USA Today sums up the issue here http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/10/14/side-effects-dietary-supplements-send-23000-people-year-er/73884400/
I applaud Dr. Daniel Fabricant, Director of The Natural Products Association and former Director of supplement programs at the FDA, for the manner in which he is challenging the methodology of these findings. “The facts are that adverse events from supplements are extremely low given their widespread usage, and most of these are the result of three factors: accidents, people not consulting with their doctor, or misuse of a product combined with other health factors. Supplements are safe, which is why millions of Americans use them every day. Unlike drugs, supplements are regulated like a category of food, rather than medication. The FDA requires manufacturers to report side effects and to follow GMP (good manufacturing processes).” Link to NPA’s news release
Even if the study estimates were accurate, the number of hospital visits suggested to relate to dietary supplements would represent 0.0001687 percent of the 136.3 million hospital visits each year, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). “If you put it in context that over 150 million Americans take dietary supplements each year, we have, ‘Far less than one-tenth of 1 percent of supplement users will visit the ER” says Duffy MacKay, a naturopathic doctor and Sr. VP for scientific and regulatory affairs at the Council for Responsible Nutrition.
Yes, consumers need to take basic precautions with supplements, just like with other lifestyle choices they make. Ask your doctor about them, about whether a weight-loss or energy supplement interferes with an existing condition, and take them as directed. Products made in America dramatically decrease potential harms due to loose regulations and false labeling, and products made using American sourced raw ingredients may be FAR more effective, safe and science-based than imported versions.
NutraSense is a proud member of the Natural Products Association, the NPA True Label regulation program, a BBB A+ Member, and a family-run business offering only high quality, niche market supplements sourced & made in the USA and backed by years of proven scientific research.