Consumer Information

Important Consumer Information about Dietary Supplements

People are using dietary supplements more often now than ever before to make sure they get the proper daily nutritional requirements and to naturally treat certain health conditions.  In addition to the more common dietary supplements such as vitamins and minerals, there are newer ones like New Zealand green lipped mussel extract.  Prior to using any supplement, there is information that all consumers should know.

Regulatory Oversight

To begin with, while there are strict regulations in place that monitor the manufacturing and distribution of synthetic drugs like prescription and over-the-counter medications, the oversight of supplements is somewhat different.  In fact, it is the manufacturers of dietary supplements that are responsible for ensuring all ingredients as well as the final product are safe.  Supplements are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for effectiveness. However, the FDA will take action if a supplement is deemed to be unsafe based on consumer complaints filed with agency and subsequent testing.

Manufacturer Requirements

Manufacturers of supplements are still legally required to provide truthful information when marketing their products.  In this regard, it is fairly simple to see if there have been problems with a particular supplement before you decide to use it.  And the FDA requires all manufacturers to submit reports documenting known and suspected side effects associated with the dietary supplements to the agency.  Because the FDA does not officially approve supplements, you should avoid those that claim to “cure” medical conditions.

How to Use Supplements

If you believe you are not receiving the recommended level of daily nutrients or you have a health condition that is affecting your quality of life, supplements may be helpful.  Regardless of the supplement you choose, you should always take it as instructed by the manufacturer.  It may be difficult to determine the appropriate dosage without first consulting a doctor that understands and appreciates the benefits offered by supplements.

Uses of Supplements

Dietary supplements are known to be beneficial for a variety of health conditions.  More physicians are supporting patient use of supplements. Many will even recommend the best supplements for specific conditions.  Not only do supplements offer benefits comparable to traditional drugs but they tend to be much safer with fewer side effects.   It is frustrating to take a pharmaceutical drug to treat one condition only to have another develop as a result of the initial medication.

Case Study:  Green Lipped Mussel Extract

This is an example of a supplement that is not approved by the FDA but is still available to consumers.  Several manufacturers produce oils and powders from the extract of New Zealand green lipped mussels which are known to have anti-inflammatory properties.  These particular dietary supplements are used by people to reduce inflammation associated with chronic conditions like arthritis.  Under no circumstances should you suddenly stop taking prescription medications without first consulting your doctor.  Specific medications can cause serious complications if dosage is not properly tapered off.

No complaints have been filed with the FDA regarding the content of New Zealand green lipped mussel supplements.  However, there have been alerts posted by the FDA pertaining to misleading labels and unsubstantiated medical claims.  These alerts were for a specific product that was shipped to the U.S.  Any consumer can easily check the safety of a supplement or the reliability of a manufacturer by using the FDA’s online consumer complaint and MedWatch system.

Certain dietary supplements like those made from New Zealand green lipped mussels are safe as long as you purchase them from a reputable seller who has followed the legal requirements imposed by regulatory agencies. Be sure you learn about the process used to manufacture the supplements so you know you are getting the best product available.