The Truth About Supplements
Are Nutritional Supplements Safe?
Watch T.V. these days or read magazines and you are sure to hear about the latest in health supplements. Some are very effective, and others are unable to live up to the hype.
Are they safe, and is what you see in the media true?
Some reports claim that dietary supplements are unregulated and lack in research which only proves their effectiveness. In terms of regulating supplements, ALL dietary supplements within North America are regulated and subject to Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) regulation. The following is stated on the FDA website:
“FDA regulates both finished dietary supplement products and dietary ingredients. FDA regulates dietary supplements under a different set of regulations than those covering ‘conventional’ foods and drug products. Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA): FDA is responsible for taking action against any unsafe dietary supplement product after it reaches the market.”
The safety of supplements has also been questioned and put into the spotlight by the media. When used as directed and under the direction of a physician or health care provider, supplements are quite safe. In fact there have been no deaths reported to the US Poison Control Center in the last 27 years due to dietary supplement consumption.
Media Claims Dietary Supplements are Useless and Harmful
Another claim made by the media is that dietary supplements are useless and harmful; stating that fish oil led to prostate cancer. In July 2013, a study published results on the “Plasma Phospholipid Fatty Acids and Prostate Cancer Risk in the SELECT Trial” claiming that after a single blood draw, those individuals who had a higher blood level of omega-3 fats had a greater risk of prostate cancer. After this, the media made claims that supplementing with fish oil would raise your risk of prostate cancer.
This claim has yet to be proven and there were many flaws within this study. One of which points out the fact that the study used data that was collected to investigate the relationship between selenium, vitamin E and prostate cancer. This does not involve the effect of omega-3 fatty acids to prostate cancer.
Study Also Conflicts with Results From Other Studies
It was also important to note that the participants in the study, were never given fish oil supplements, or tested for heavy metals from eaten fish containing high levels of mercury, which could potentially lead to cancer. It is also important to note that this study also conflicts with the results from other studies that do suggest that omega-3 fatty acids offer a protective benefit against prostate cancer.
Are They Safe to Use?
Yes they are, but you should always seek the advice of a health care professional about what supplements are right for you.