FDA Prohibits Useful Information About Supplements

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The FDA regulates and prohibits the dietary supplement industry from stating on product labels

or any related literature that could be useful to consumers who are looking to prevent or cure a

disease. Exceptions to this rule include claims that calcium is important to the prevention of

Osteoporosis and that folic acid can prevent neural tube defects. While these two supplements

are allowed to claim the prevention and treatment of disease, hundreds of others may not.

In these cases, the FDA limits the dissemination of factual scientific studies and allows

“structure-function” claims. For example, a label for magnesium may claim that it helps to

maintain a healthy circulatory system, but it is prohibited in claiming the prevention  of

cardiovascular disease. The issue then becomes that consumers are not given precise, specific

information that is necessary to choose an appropriate supplement.

Research has shown that high-selenium yeast may help prevent prostate cancer, but the FDA

restrictions require that claims are limited to vague statements such as “supports prostate health.”

The lack of specifics poses a problem when a product states that it “helps maintain a healthy

cardiovascular system,” but isn’t necessarily effective for treating conditions like intermittent

claudication, hypertension, high cholesterol, congestive heart failure or cardiac arrhythmias. The

restrictions don’t allow for truthful scientific information to be disseminated, which prevents

people from learning about nutritional supplements that could be helpful. It could also cause

people to spend money on treatments that aren’t necessarily beneficial to their particular

conditions.