Benefits and Risks of Nutritional Supplements

Nutritional Supplements

Natural Does Not Mean Safe

As with everything, there are benefits and risks of nutritional supplements. Herbal medications and dietary supplements are becoming increasingly popular, with many people believing them to be natural and safe alternatives to traditional medication.  However, the truth is that these products are not regulated by the FDA in the same way as pharmaceuticals, meaning their safety and efficacy cannot be guaranteed.  Moreover, some of these unregulated herbal medications and supplements can actually be dangerous, containing contaminants and toxins that can lead to serious health complications.

Supplement and Herbal Approval

The approval process for dietary supplements is much less rigorous than the process for drugs. This is because nutritional supplements are considered to be food, whereas drugs are considered to be medicine. The FDA does not have as much authority over nutritional supplements as it does over drugs. Manufacturers of nutritional supplements are not required to prove their product’s safety or efficacy before releasing them to the public.

This lack of regulation can be dangerous, as it allows manufacturers to sell products that may contain harmful contaminants or toxins. In addition, it can be difficult to determine which dietary supplements are safe and effective, as there is no regulatory body that oversees this market.

Drugs, on the other hand, are subject to a much stricter approval process. This process includes a variety of tests to determine a drug’s safety and efficacy, and only drugs that pass these tests are approved for sale to the public. The FDA also has authority over drug manufacturers, meaning it can take action against companies that produce unsafe or ineffective drugs.

Thus, while nutritional supplements may seem like a safer alternative to traditional medication, they often lack the safety and efficacy guarantees provided by the FDA. It is important to consult a doctor before taking any nutritional supplement, as this can help minimize the risk of adverse effects.

Potential Interactions

In addition, many herbal medications and supplements are made with plant-based ingredients that may interact with pharmaceuticals or each other in potentially harmful ways. Herbal medications and supplements should therefore not be used without consulting a doctor first, as this could lead to serious health problems.

Finally, it’s important to remember that herbal medications and nutritional supplements are not a substitute for traditional pharmaceuticals, as they cannot provide the same level of efficacy or safety. Herbal medication and dietary supplements should always be used with caution and only under the guidance of a qualified medical professional.

Check before you buy

The bottom line is that buyers should be aware of the lack of regulation surrounding herbal medications and nutritional supplements. Just because a product is labeled as "natural" does not mean it is safe or effective. If you are considering taking any of these products, talk to your doctor or pharmacist first to make sure they won't interact with any other medications you're taking or cause negative side effects.

See National Institute of Health article on Dietary Supplements: What you need to know

Your Canada Drug Store carries a variety of Vitamins and over the Counter Remedies