Vitamins and the Controversy Over Regulation
Supplements deemed "natural" can contain a lot of natural things such as arsenic, lead, bugs, and even drugs.
Millions of Americans take vitamins and supplements and sales have been healthy – exceeding about $23 billion a year, reports CBS News. For the most part, supplement makers are responsible, but there are the exceptions. And every year U.S. poison control center across the country receive reports of supplement related health problems.
In excessive doses, vitamins can be toxic. In other cases, they can just make your urine rich with vitamins which are excreted when too much is consumed.
There has been an ongoing, robust debate whether supplements, vitamins and "natural" health enhancers should fall under the regulatory eye of the Food and Drug Administration. Regulators would look not just for contaminants but whether the label matches the contents of the bottle.
The natural food and supplement industry believes the FDA is too influenced by the pharmaceutical industry that doesn’t want consumers to turn to natural alternative in their quest for health.
In 1994 the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) was passed. It is a law that treats vitamins and supplements just like food, allowing them to be sold directly to consumers bypassing FDA approval. Many consumers would like DSHEA to stand and are organizing to fight efforts to regulate supplements.
Supplement makers are now required to report problems to the FDA, but they need only report the serious problems to the adverse events reporting system. In September, 2007, the FDA required vitamin makers follow a good manufacturing practices policy to cover manufacturing, packaging, and labeling to ensure supplements do not contain contaminants.
Still, the FDA says there are more than 50,000 safety problems related to supplements every year.
So where does this leave the consumer?
Some vitamin makers have sought a seal of approval by ConsumerLab, but it found lead in zinc, black cohosh and ginko supplements. ConsumerLab found a fungal toxin in red yeast rice products. Ayurvedics traditionally come from India but often contain metals. Metals may actually come from the soil the herbs are grown in.
The Institute of Medicine, which advises the government said in 2005 it was concerned about the quality of dietary supplements and that the reliability of vitamin products is low.
But to date, only one dietary supplement has been found to be unsafe, the weight loss pill, ephedra.
Despite the debate back and forth concerning the regulation of supplements, for the most part, vitamin makers have been responsible in producing sound products that reflect what’s on the label.
But there are the exceptions – the quick buck artists who know they can cash in on a product that promises weight loss or sexual enhancement, have been the worst offenders. Stick with the established brands and do your own personal research before beginning a supplement regimen.
Get Help from a Jacksonville Vitamin Regulation Lawyer
If you have suffered serious side effects as the results of taking vitamins, please contact a Jacksonville personal injury lawyer at Farah & Farah at 877-245-6707 immediately.