What Do You Really Know About Your Dietary Supplements


There's a frightening and emerging trend plaguing the dietary supplement (DS) industry. Recent studies (conducted by independent labs, scientists, and/or newspapers) in which DS were randomly and independently tested have shown that DS products do not always contain the ingredients (or the purity of ingredients) stated on the product label. In fact, studies have shown that only about 20% of supplements meet label claims! This concern goes across all supplements: vitamins, minerals, herbs/botanicals, and amino acids. How can you confidently make a purchase under these circumstances?  In most cases it is best to rely on a professional, such as Dr. Bossio, with experience in selecting and assessing each product. 

To complicate matters, manufacturers of DS are not required to submit products to the scientific scrutiny of the FDA because DS are regulated as a food product, not a drug. The Federal Trade Commission regulates advertising of product claims, but that has nothing to do with the purity and quality of the pill you're taking. The FDA has the authority to spot-check supplements (and to remove products that violate certain regulations) but is not required by law to test, or require testing, on all over-the-counter supplements. With this in mind Dr. Bossio selects her products from trustworthy professional line companies and highly reputable manufactures that use third party testing for quality assurance.

Several private groups, as well as the Government Accountability Office (Natural Resources and the Environment Division) want more done to hold supplement makers accountable for the purity of their products. It's a heated debate, but as more clinicians, consumers, and retailers call for standardized practices for testing, producing, and marketing DS before they go on the market, the more confident we all can be about what we're buying.

Be an informed consumer:

  1. Read labels and understand what the terms on the label actually mean. Ingredients you don't want to see include fillers, dyes, lead, dextrose, titanium dioxide, and magnesium stearate.
  2. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
  3. Look for a Quality Assurance seal of approval: Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP).
  4. Purchase products from Dr. Bossio or another reputable healthcare provider.  Finding supplements at a bargain price may seem like good financial sense, but think again. For example, Amazon cannot test or guarantee products sold through third party sellers and there is no assurance that the items are not expired, relabeled or even counterfeit. While the cost of clean raw materials and optimal quality control means that high quality supplements may be more costly than those sold at vitamin warehouses, cheaper varieties may not be worth even a few pennies.
  5. Research the product / company on the Internet: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). Look for product recalls and scams: FDA Health Fraud Scams & Tainted Supplements.
  6. Your best source of educational support is Dr. Bossio or your health care practitioner.

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