By: Nikki Nies

The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994 is the leading regulator of supplements, defined as products that are used to supplement the diet.  Specifically, supplements can include vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, amino acids and other dietary  substances. images

Critics stated that supplements aren’t regulated at all.  Part of that is true.  Supplements aren’t regulated like other types of drugs, but like foods, even though they’re not foods!

DSHEA is jointly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It should be noted that DSHEA has grandfathered all dietary supplements that were marketed in the U.S. before October 15th, 1994, considering them safe.  Due to this distinction, DSHEA has two categories of supplements: old (“grandfathered) and new (after 10/15/1994).  

I’m currently taking a Complementary Alternative Therapy class, which focuses on supplement use in American society.  It’s inevitable that people are going to try supplements, but I highly encourage you to consult your primary physician, dietitian and/or do your own research on the impact of specific supplements in academic journals.

While DSHEA is the primary regulatory of supplements, it doesn’t fully protect consumers from harm.  A supplement is considered unsafe if it’s been seen to cause “injury to health.”  As always, your primary source of nutrition should be from whole foods while supplements are used for special situations (i.e. malnourished individuals).

If you have any additional questions in regards of DSHEA and the regulation of supplements, don’t hesitate to ask or contact us at wedishnutrition@gmail.com

Sources:  http://www.fda.gov/Food/Dietarysupplements/default.htm





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