March 1, 2012

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In the Lab

Do Supplement Manufacturers Validate their Products with Research?

Di Lewis

March 1, 2012

“Say we have a joint product that fights arthritis—well, that’s a drug claim. Even if we could prove it from a research standpoint, we can’t make that claim because we’re registered as a supplement company. So we have to say ‘supports joint health.’ Some people say, ‘Well I can’t make the claim anyway, so what’s the point [of research]?’” Westerlund says. That’s why it’s so important that people do their homework.

Many nutraceutical companies work hard to create safe and effective products. A few rush things to the shelf to cash in on a fad. The process can vary widely from company to company, and country to country. Knowing what goes into creating the pills and powders can give consumers confidence that the company they buy from has done their homework too.

CLAIMS THAT ARE ALLOWED BY THE FDA:

Structure/Function Claims can be made on supplements. These are things like “supports a healthy digestive system” and “maintains healthy joints.”
Health Claims and Qualified Health Claims can only be made as authorized by regulation. These claims deal with risk reduction, i.e., “Healthful diets with adequate folate may reduce a woman’s risk of having a child with a brain or spinal cord defect.”
Nutrient Content Claims deal with product content. Along the lines of “contains 100% of the Daily Value of vitamin C.”

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