How Do I Know What Dietary Supplements My Body Needs?
The dietary supplement space is one of the fastest growing industries in the global market, representing an estimated $121.6 Billion to the US economy. This amazing stat, featured in a June 2016 article on Nutraceuiticals World analyzing an economic impact report from the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), is easily observed first hand by walking through the aisles of your local Wall Mart, Costco or simply heading to Amazon.com. Further, according to CRN, 71% of us are taking dietary supplements, representing 170 million Americans, with multi vitamins topping the list of best sellers.
So if we are taking all of these supplements, how much do we really know about them? In a piece featured on CNN from October 2016, Dr. Paul Offit, author of “Do You Believe in Magic? Vitamins, Supplements, and All Things Natural: A Look Behind the Curtain,” is quoted as saying, “I think people hope that either they won’t do any harm, or maybe, just maybe, they will make a positive improvement in their life.” This generalization would mean 71% of the American public is subscribing to this flimsy point of view. Are you?
The article continues by stressing how big ad budgets that feature health claims from the dietary supplement companies are creating interest and driving sales, but can be disingenuous due to lack of regulations. “Unlike drugs that require Food and Drug Administration approval to make such claims, supplements don’t go through a rigorous approval process.”
Contrary to the statements in the article, when I go to the dietary supplements page on the FDA web site, I see there actually are regulations enforced in this space:
“FDA regulates both finished dietary supplement products and dietary ingredients. FDA regulates dietary supplements under a different set of regulations than those covering “conventional” foods and drug products. Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA):
Manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements and dietary ingredients are prohibited from marketing products that are adulterated or misbranded. That means that these firms are responsible for evaluating the safety and labeling of their products before marketing to ensure that they meet all the requirements of DSHEA and FDA regulations.
FDA is responsible for taking action against any adulterated or misbranded dietary supplement product after it reaches the market.”
So which is it? Are these products regulated or not? What is DSHEA? How is a “health claim” defined? What does “adulterated” mean in this context? When is something “misbranded”? It seems the more I research, the more questions i have, yet 170 million of us are buying and taking these products everyday.
Over the coming months, I will be exploring the realities of the dietary supplement space through the Nutrition Wave at Wave IQ. I will be speaking with industry insiders, ingredient suppliers, doctors, registered dietary nutritionists, naturopathic physicians, associations and regulators to try and demystify what all of this means to us.
I am also going to analyze the interesting link emerging between wearable technology, IoT (Internet of Things), apps and optimizing our health and nutrition. Looking into the role of Apple Health, Fit Bit and newer solutions like those from Styr Labs.
Finally, I am going to dig into the clinical studies, research papers and animal/human trials that have been evolving in the ingredient category. Interestingly, these studies are starting to look a lot more like pharmaceutical grade processes rather than what I would have expected in the dietary supplement space.
So, if you are as interested in this space and want to optimize your health (and do so in an informed way), stay tuned and go on this journey with us. The goal is to increase everyone’s Nutrition IQ, so the 122 Billion dollars we are spending are not wasted in hopes that maybe, just maybe, the supplements will make a positive impact on our lives (to paraphrase Dr, Offit).
Please note that this information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. We insist that you always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical/health condition or treatment and before initiating a new health care regime. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the STYR app or on www.MyNutritioniQ.com.
If you are interested to hear more and receive personalized nutrition, check out STYR’s app, fitness tracker and suite of connected smart devices. Through the platform, you can track and log activity, food, hydration, sleep, nutrition, mood and more to personalize your nutrition needs based on data, science and access to registered dietitians, nutritionists and personal trainers.