Dietary Supplements: Not All They're Cracked Up To Be
our understanding of nutrition and its daily value have led to numerous
products and supplements aimed at improving our lives today and in the
future. While these products are supposed to make us healthier and
extend our lives in the process, new information from the American
Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) shows how some
supplements may be more detrimental than beneficial.
information was presented at the AAPS Dietary Supplements Forum at the
end of June. At the forum, consumers were recommended to conduct
thorough research before purchasing any supplement in which they were
interested. This recommendation came from meeting chairman Dr. Larry
Augsburger, an immediate past president of AAPS and a professor at the
University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. Augsburger said consumers
should research each supplement because reading labels and comparing
prices does not give the customer concise information about the
efficacy of supplements or possible side effects.
government or industry standards are put into place, consumers must
take it upon themselves to learn the nuances of dietary supplements and
to protect themselves from potential dangers, not to mention from
wasting their money no less-than-efficacious products," Augsburger
He said customers should be able to answer these questions about supplements:
- Could the
product interact negatively with your prescription medications? For
example, one particular energy bar for women does not warn about
excessive Vitamin-K that may interfere with certain blood-clotting
- Is the
product absorbable in its purchased form? Substances added to herbs or
botanicals to create a capsule or pill can affect their ability to be
adsorbed. In one study, two of nine commercial Melatonin products did
not disintegrate after more than 20 hours.
- Are there
additional warnings or cautions about the category of dietary
supplements that the manufacturer chose to omit? A popular
over-the-counter memory concentrate with ginkgo biloba has potential
drug interactions with medicines that prevent blood-clotting, yet the
label contains no warning.
also recommended that consumers only use products cited positively in
clinical trials, and that they not choose products based on price,
since there is no relation to price and quality.
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