402 – Are Your Supplements Really Regulated and How?

We Discuss the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA)

DSHEA protects our rights to access safe, effective nutritional supplements.

Most people who take supplements do not know about DSHEA. Even within the supplement industry many people were not around in the early 1990s or don’t remember. In this interview with Asa Waldstein, we will discuss the whys and hows of DSHEA and how dietary supplements are regulated.

In 1991 David Kessler, head of the FDA, said all dietary supplements should be taken off the market pending clinical drug-like trials. Yikes!!! This would make virtually all supplements illegal. This was life or death for the supplement industry. FDA raided, with guns drawn, the office of Dr. Jonathan Wright. This became not only an assault on dietary supplements but on alternative health care providers as well. Supplement use was being criminalized. Interview with Dr. Wright.

The shockwave was enormous and galvanized a grassroots movement that led to the law that gave respect and legitimacy to supplements and alternative health. The past 27 years have been good overall but not without controversy and the need for oversight. This was very real and and serious time for the supplement industry, for alternative health providers, and most significantly the customers.

Watch this memorable commercial with Mel Gibson.

Some of us remember it all too well. What emerged was a grass roots movement to stop FDA. DSHEA is the law that was passed in 1994 that required FDA to regulate supplements differently than drugs. It is this law that now regulates dietary supplements. It is this law that has allowed nutrition to come out of the shadows and enter into a golden age of science and innovative products.

However there is still a dark cloud that hangs over the dietary supplement industry. While there is a lot of good that exists in the supplement industry, there is a lot of bad that should not exist. Violations of DSHEA are a huge problem. FDA and FTC (Federal Trade Commission) only pursue the worst offenders. As a result, many violations go unnoticed and therefore unenforced. Unsuspecting consumers pay the price.

Every concerned consumer needs to understand the distinctions in DSHEA. Because you can’t count on the FEDS to do it for you. We have discussed this in a previous interview with Gene Bruno. 388 – Is Your Supplement Real or Fake – How Can You Know? There is a huge problem with products that are not what they claim to be.

Another huge issue is companies who make medical or drug claims. Claims sell product. But medical and/or drug claims are not allowed for supplements. Be cautious with any product or company that makes a medical claim such as “Garlic lowers high blood pressure” Companies who make drug claims are either ignorant of the law OR willing to violate the law. Either way this is not a good sign.

Supplement companies are allowed to make what are called structure/function claims. This is actually how nutrients exerts their benefits. “Garlic supports healthy blood pressure” would be a function claim.

IMPORTANT: Nutrients are not drugs and drugs are not nutrients. DON’T CONFUSE THE TWO. Drugs treat your disease. Nutrients do not treat disease. Nutrients nourish the structure and/or functions in the body. Nutrients support the maintenance, repair, and restoration of the body. The body always does the healing.

Quality companies have done an amazing job of creating a marketplace of safe, effective, innovative nutritional supplements. The science of nutrition is growing because targeted nutrition works. There is great scientific validation for supplements. Good companies want you to know who they are, what they do and why you can trust them. Find the good companies and you will have better results.

This is what we do here on HealthQuestPodcast.com. We explore the best companies, with the best products, with the best experts and the best science. We believe that good companies deserve recognition and good products need to be explored along with the science that gives us all more confidence.

Asa Waldstein

Asa Waldstein is a 20-year natural products executive now focusing on bridging the compliance, marketing, and regulatory gap between the supplement and hemp industries. He chairs the American Herbal Products Association’s Cannabis Committee. Waldstein also is principal of the consulting company Supplement Advisory Group, a boutique group focusing on marketing risk analysis and practical marketing solutions. Learn more and contact him at AsaWaldstein.com.

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