Americans spend about $37 billion dollars a year on nutritional supplements. These range from vitamins and minerals to sleeping aids, memory enhancers and disease cures. The proportion of adults using a supplement of some kind rose from 51.8% in 2005 to 63.7% IN 2011, and this number is increasing yearly.
These numbers represent many pills and bottles that promise to do something special for us the consumer. These promises are the myth. What is the reality?
Unlike prescription medicines supplements are not regulated by the U.S. government. Instead they are looked upon as a food. Manufacturers of supplements do not need to prove that their products are effective or even safe. This allows them to put claims on their labels that are false even though regulations prohibit doing that.
In spite of this false claims are still being made. Why? It is because action by the government usually is taken only after many people are left holding the proverbial bag The lack of prompt action leaves all consumers holding the bag with tens of millions of dollars spent on ineffective supplements.
An example of an advertising hoax is the number of new products that claim to boost your memory or even suggest that the product can head off or reverse dementia.Why haven't these claims gotten the attention of the regulators? We certainly do not know but hopefully some action will be taken sooner rather than later.
Meanwhile the word is buyer beware. Think carefully before you plunk your money down for some new and wonderful supplement.