Remember to look for these symbols, which will indicate that a supplement has been tested for quality, contamination, and proper strength:
#1) Health Claims
Regulation: The FDA is responsible for making sure foods and supplements make health claims that are not false and misleading. Normally the FDA will review a health claim prior to the product being put on the market. There are many qualified health claims, which you can view here. Does the FDA actually test the food or supplement to make sure it actually contains what the health claim says? Nope. That would just take too long, even though it would be nice.
If a product’s health claim is ever brought into question, the FDA will re-analyze the claim. A good example would be Cheerios, which in May of 2009 was brought to the attention of the FDA because their claim to help reduce cholesterol and thus reduce heart disease wasn’t really stated clearly, or in an appropriate manor.
Some Examples of Health Claims
– ” This food is an excellent source of calcium, which has been shown to decrease risk for osteoporosis.”
– “This product is low in sodium. Low sodium diets may help prevent high blood pressure.”
– “The fiber in this product has been shown to decrease risk for some types of cancer.“
# 2) Structure/Function Claims
Regulation: How many time have you read a food or supplement label and thought to yourself, “Who regulates these? How can this company make this claim?!”. The FDA doesn’t regulate these claims until after they have been on the market, and after someone suggests to the FDA that the claim should be reviewed (similar to the Cheerios example, with the claim to “help reduce cholesterol”, which was written in a way that made it sound like Cheerios was a drug that could be used as a cholesterol lowering agent).
Some Examples of Structure/Function Claims
– Fiber can keep you regular