The latest dietary supplement recalls and warnings underscore the need for consumers to be wary of products that sound “too good to be true.” Whether it’s a wild (and illegal) claim to cure a disease, or a sticker price that’s far below similar products on the shelf, both are warning signs that something may be amiss, and that it’s probably safer to “pass” on the product altogether. Take these recent examples:
A supplement that claimed to provide “natural support for prostate health” promised users a “Miracle effect.” The product was recalled by the FDA as it was found to contain terazosin, the active ingredient of an FDA approved drug used to treat an enlarged prostate, making the product an unapproved drug.
This type of supplement adulteration with pharmaceutical drugs is most frequently found in weight loss and male enhancement products. The consumer is put at risk as these drugs and their contraindications are usually not disclosed on the label. This can lead to dangerous, even fatal, consequences for those who should avoid certain drugs due to health conditions such as hypertension or heart disease.
In the case of chondroitin sulfate, industry experts maintain that it is one of the most adulterated supplement ingredients on the market. The problem isn’t that these adulterants can’t be detected; it’s that some manufacturers are using inadequate testing methods. Current FDA Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) rules do not specify that companies use a specific testing method – they only require firms to use methodology that’s “scientifically valid.” And what qualifies for scientifically valid is left to the manufacturer to determine. More...