Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Buy Supplements From Reputable Companies

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 7, 2009 — In response to a “Perspective” article published on-line today by the New England Journal of Medicine, which discusses the regulatory status of dietary supplements, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association representing the dietary supplement industry, issued the following statement by Andrew Shao, Ph.D., vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs, CRN:

“We question how a perspective article about the regulatory status of dietary supplements was accepted for publication in a leading scientific journal, yet facts were not checked. This article contains numerous errors, omissions or misinterpretations with regard to the regulation of dietary supplements, including the misstatement of how botanical supplements were regulated prior to the passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). The author may be a credible doctor, but his expertise in understanding the practicalities of the regulatory framework for dietary supplements is questionable.

Contrary to what has become an urban myth, DSHEA did not lessen the oversight of dietary supplements—in fact, DSHEA actually provided the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with new enforcement authority not previously available. For example, DSHEA provided FDA with additional authority to remove adulterated or unsafe supplement products from the market. Further, DSHEA gave FDA authority to issue good manufacturing practices (GMPs) specific to dietary supplements to help ensure the quality and safety of dietary supplements, a critical component of dietary supplement regulation, conspicuously absent from this article. It is already against the law to manufacture and market adulterated or contaminated dietary supplements.

The author chooses to focus on select isolated examples of incidents, as if they were representative of the industry as a whole and fails to place the information into any kind of context. In the first full year that mandatory reporting of serious adverse events was in existence, FDA received only 1,080 total adverse event reports, 672 of which were considered serious. For context, these numbers are minute in comparison to the hundreds of thousands of adverse event reports FDA receives each year for other regulated products such drugs, biologics and medical devices. The overwhelming majority of dietary supplements are safe and well-made and consumers value the benefits these products can provide.

The problems presented by outliers are not isolated to dietary supplements. Like any regulated industry, there are unscrupulous manufacturers that don’t follow the law—but that is not the fault of the law itself nor of responsible manufacturers and changing the law will not deter rogue companies from breaking the law. What is needed are more resources for both FDA and FTC to step up enforcement efforts. The best bet for consumers is to learn as much as they can about the companies from which they plan to purchase supplement products. Stay away from companies making product claims that purport to cure diseases or promise magic bullet results; focus on companies with good reputations, well-known brands, or third-party certifications; and discuss with your physician or other healthcare professional what products or companies he or she recommends. More than 150 million Americans take dietary supplements each year as part of their healthy lifestyle.”


I post this as a voting member of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing dietary supplement manufacturers and ingredient suppliers. In addition to complying with a host of federal and state regulations governing dietary supplements in the areas of manufacturing, marketing, quality control and safety, our 70+ manufacturer and supplier members also agree to adhere to additional voluntary guidelines as well as CRN’s Code of Ethics. Visit


Joe Vanyo said...

I appreciate that Biosyntrx does not make false claims about their products like so many companies do. Many of the fish oil, diet supplements and Resveratrol sellers are making outrageous claims; hopefully the FDA and the FTC will step in soon since they have new Obama money.

Sandra said...

I always look into a company before I buy! It was easy to research Biosyntrx and find out that they are a reputable company. They back their products and provide a lot of information for their patients!

Synaura said...

Different body requires different nutrition, so it is advisable to consult first with a physician before taking any supplements. Everyone should bare in mind that aside from taking supplements, one must be conscious of his diet and daily activities to live a healthy lifestyle.

Cynthia Perkins said...

Synaura, I always look to see who owns companies and who their advisors are before I buy supplements - this information is easy to find in the internet world. My health is too important to me to by supplements based on "what's on sale," or the latest multi-level marketing fad. My physician told me to just buy any multiple because they are all the same. I hate to say it, but he is an idiot when it comes to dietary supplements.

Ellen Troyer, MT MA said...

Hi Cynthia, I truly doubt that your doctor is an idiot, but he may not be well-informed about nutrition or dietary supplementation.

Spencer Thornton, M.D. said...

Unfortunately most doctors are uninformed about multivitamins and nutritional supplements. They know the names of the vitamins, but not how much the body needs more than just individual vitamins and minerals. This is because, in training, this area is considered less important than "crisis intervention" with surgery, chemotherapy or pharmaceuticals.
Thankfully more doctors are now seeing the benefits of broad spectrum multiples and are making this a larger part of their continuing education.
I highly recommend discussing your concerns for nutritional therapy with your doctor, and letting him or her monitor your progress.

Jeffrey said...

I agree that the hardest decision doctors can make is about which nutrients to choose (also, which company!). I try to explain what to look for but they most often come up to me (after my lecture) and ask me which one that I chose! Guess they just want to be spoon-fed the right answer after I've done all my homework!
However, I don't mind telling them- at least I feel confident that I've made the right decision and that the products/company I work with is legit and well formulated. said...

You are right is really necessary to make sure about the good reputation of the costumer when it comes to buy supplements.