It’s a new year and you’re looking to get in shape. You may be looking for that extra something to help you out. Many of us will turn to a little bottle we can get over the counter at our nearest drug store or exchange. But before you reach for that bottle, here are a few things that you may not know about supplements, but should.
1. Supplements are not regulated like over-the counter medicines. This means that a supplement doesn’t have to be tested for quality, effectiveness or safety before you can buy it as a consumer. In essence you become the guinea pig.
2. The FDA has “post-market” responsibility to ensure compliance with regulations. Which means that if there are enough reports of adverse events, impure products, labeling misinformation etc. the FDA can issue a warning to the manufacturer for compliance. So in other words, if enough people get hurt it may be pulled off the shelf.
3. Many supplements contain banned or harmful substances not declared on the label. Products that are touted for weight loss, bodybulding, sexual enhancement and diabetes management are most likely to be tainted. Be careful when you see labels such as –“May cause a positive result in a performance-enhancing drug test.” Labels like this should sound the warning bells.
So how do you know that a supplement is safe to take? First make sure you are getting information about that supplement from a reliable source. The following places are great resources for you:
- MCCS Semper Fit Heallth Promtion Department
- Human Performance Resource Center
- Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database
- Office of Dietary Supplements
- US Food and Drug Administration
Second look for a third party verification label. Such as Consumer Lab, Informed Choice, NSF International, or United States Pharmacopiea
These companies are independent from the manufacturers and test for supplement safety. When these labels are put on your supplements you know that what is on the label is in the bottle. However, it does not mean that the supplement is effective.
Lastly if you’re looking to take a supplement to get in shape, remember that a supplement can never replace hard work in the gym or a healthy balanced diet.