More than 40 million Americans take vitamin supplements and less than 10 percent of them are doing so under a doctor’s guidance. Where, then are they getting the information they need to make informed decisions about vitamin supplements?
My friend, the Vitamin Queen, takes more vitamins and supplements than a strawberry has seeds. I’m in the process of remembering not to say anything hurts around her for fear she will make me swallow her latest discovery. Her middle name is Antioxidant and I asked her once how she knew this particular supplement would wash her car, iron her clothes and paint her toenails pink. She showed me this catalogue-type publication and pointed to the article – by the very man who was selling it!
She gets mad at me when I talk to her about doing independent research on her potions but that’s what you’ve got to do. If all you’re going to do is believe the hype that every manufacturer gives you, then you’re likely to miss some valuable information. Instead, why not check trusted independent sources for your vitamin supplement information?
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a website full of nutritional facts and figures, including vitamin supplement information. The American Cancer Society addresses this very issue as unfortunately, cancer patients can sometimes be particularly susceptible to wild claims of health and healing by unscrupulous marketers of vitamins, minerals and herbs.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a wealth of vitamin supplement information on their website, including what the law says about the labeling on dietary supplements. The FTC regulates the advertising end of this industry and has taken action with more than a few who have made false claims about their products. You can find examples of some who have erred on their website.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates dietary supplements as food, not as drugs. Therefore, the claims made by the manufactures of these supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA. You’ll find some such statements on most dietary supplements. The FDA also has a wealth of vitamin supplement information on their website along with reports of fraudulent claims made by some perpetrators.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) website is a comprehensive source of vitamin supplement information. The Mayo clinic’s website and about.com are other independent sources of dietary supplement information.
It’s important to make an informed decision about which vitamins and supplements you feel are safe and necessary to take. The websites and publications developed by those who sell these supplements are not always honest about them. Vitamin supplement information is especially important when you are taking prescription or over-the-counter medication as even vitamins can interact negatively with some drugs. Be proactive and read more than just the label when evaluating your dietary supplement choices.