Using over-the-counter supplements without a doctor’s recommendation is common, with about half of US adults spending over $35 billion on them annually. Challenges arise for doctors due to limited testing and lax regulation in the supplement industry, making it difficult to ensure safety and efficacy.

Key Issues with Supplements
1. Label Accuracy: Dosages may be inaccurate, posing risks of overconsumption or ineffectiveness.
2. Undisclosed Interactions: Ingredients may not reveal potential drug interactions or exacerbation of existing conditions.
3. Contaminants: Some supplements contain hidden, banned substances to enhance effects.

Study Findings
Recent research uncovered discrepancies, such as memory supplements lacking claimed ingredients and FDA warnings on 776 contaminated supplements, including prescription drugs like sildenafil (Viagra) and sibutramine (Meridia).

Recommendations

  • Reconsider supplement use without medical endorsement.
  • Seek certifications from reputable organizations like NSF International.
  • Consult your doctor before making any changes if supplements are medically recommended.

Bottom Line
Despite ongoing issues, prioritize well-established and tested supplements. Seek guidance from healthcare professionals amid challenges in ensuring supplement safety and efficacy.

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