By Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D., Nutrition Editor, EatingWell Magazine
A recent government study said more than half of all Americans take dietary supplements, which in my opinion is surprisingly high, considering these pills and powders aren't regulated like drugs but like foods.
The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994 defined "dietary supplement" (to include vitamins, minerals, botanicals and other ingredients) and ruled that supplements would be regulated like foods. This exempted companies from having to prove the safety or efficacy of their products-entirely reasonable, given that the nutrients come from natural foods, say advocates. The law also permitted supplement makers to use several kinds of marketing claims (some that don't require FDA approval), including structure/function statements, which describe how a nutrient is intended to affect the body.
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