Dietary Supplements: Helpful or Harmful?

A recent review published in the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition found that with a very few exceptions, dietary supplements offer no benefits to well-nourished adults eating a Western diet and may in some cases actually be harmful.  Dietary supplements are defined by law as products intended to supplement the diet that contain a mineral, a vitamin, a herb or other botanical, an amino acid or “a dietary substance for use by man to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake”.

Unlike drugs, dietary supplements are classified as foods and are exempt from the regulations applicable to drugs which must be proven to be both safe and effective.  No dietary supplement to date has met this criteria.  Manufacturers are allowed to promote dietary supplements if it makes a “health or structure claim” (ie:  promotes organ health) but cannot make a health claim (ie:  treats the symptoms of a particular condition).

The review analyzed published randomized controlled trials that evaluated the benefits and safety of dietary supplements in adults.  The authors concluded that 68% of these studies showed no statistically significant benefit for the dietary supplement being evaluated.  Some studies showed a trend towards harm and 8% of the studies reviewed showed statistically significant evidence of harm.

To further review the results of the study go to  the May, 2012 issue of the Journal of Parenteral & Enteral Nutrition, Vol. 36, pp. 266.  

If you or a loved one are concerned about effects of dietary supplements, seek medical attention for evaluation.  Our attorneys at the Brandi Law Firm have extensive experience handling product defect injury cases.  Contact us for a free consultation if you believe you or a loved one has been injured by a dietary supplement.