Here’s How Consumer Reports Screws You Blind

Is Your Protein Shake Poison?!

In the July 2010 issue of Consumer Reports, there’s a 4 page spread and chart showing that those favorite protein drinks of yours can contain potentially unsafe levels of heavy metals.  Things like Arsenic, Lead and Cadmium!  With such a report, it’s almost a guarantee to rock the supplement world.  Or is it?

Maybe the better question:  Should it?

The full report will be in the July issue of Consumer Reports.  Or you can read the Consumer Report on Protein Drinks (opens in a new window)

QUESTION: I just read the Consumer Reports article about potentially unsafe levels of heavy metals.  Some of those protein drinks I consume.  I’m currently drinking Muscle Milk chocolate.  Not three times a day but I use it frequently.  Do you think I should stop drinking protein shakes entirely?  What is your thought on this report?

ANSWER: Could this be true?  The same magazine I used to buy my last washer and dryer is now the expert on supplement research?   Can the same evaluation methods to test how dry my socks are be used to tell me if I’m in-taking too much dangerous levels of heavy metals?  Or even better, how much protein I need a day?

In a nutshell, Consumer Reports used USP (U.S. Pharmacopeia) an independent research facility to test 15 protein drinks which included ready to drinks, meal replacement power and just whey powders.

Consumer Reports testing was based on consumption of three shakes per day and the testing applied proposed U.S. Pharmacopeia standards - not current, accepted or approved standards or guidelines.  It’s important to note this was not published in a peer reviewed scientific journal.

They tested for:

  • Arsenic
  • Cadmium
  • Lead
  • Mercury

USP found most of the products to be in the low or moderate range for the 3 servings except for the following three products.

What Consumer Reports Found:

  • EAS Myoplex Original Rich Dark Chocolate Shake has an average of 16.9 micrograms of arsenic in three servings — more than the 15 micrograms a day that is the proposed USP limit. It has an average of 5.1 micrograms of cadmium for three servings — above the USP limit of 5 micrograms a day.
  • Muscle Milk chocolate powder, at three servings, contained all four of the metals, and three metals were found at a level that was among the highest of all 15 products tested. Cadmium levels were 5.6 micrograms — above the 5-microgram limit. Lead was 13.5 micrograms — above the USP limit of 10 micrograms. The arsenic averaged 12.2 micrograms — near the 15-microgram daily USP limit.
  • Muscle Milk vanilla crème had 12.2 micrograms of lead per three servings — above the 10-microgram daily limit. It has 11.2 micrograms of arsenic — close to the 15-microgram daily limit.

[video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRgZuS_U9TQ[/video]

Here’s What They Aren’t Telling You … They Didn’t Compare Apples to Apples!

All of the products listed in the Consumer Reports article are not the same.  Muscle Milk and Myoplex ranked the highest partly because they are Meal Replacement Powders or MRPs.  MRP’s will have naturally higher trace amounts of these elements because they include a blend of all macronutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrates), plus micronutrients in vitamins & minerals.  Whey protein powders OR low carb protein powders will contain lower levels of these elements because they provide mostly protein and not the full blend of macronutrients plus vitamins & minerals that MRP’s do.

In other words, the more nutrient sources (macronutrients & micronutrients) one consumes, the more trace amounts of these metal elements they are ingesting.  The report would have been more accurate if all like products were compared (MRP’s). Pure Whey protein powders will have lower amounts of these elements for the reasons just mentioned.

Do You Know What’s In Your Food?

Don’t forget the substances tested by Consumer Reports are naturally occurring in the environment, and it would be uncommon, if not impossible, not to detect the trace amounts reportedly found in any agricultural product, such as dairy products, fruits and vegetables.

FDA’s publication Total Diet Study Statistics on Element Results (December 11, 2007), which analyzes 200 foods found in grocery stores four times per year, showed the following:

Lead Contamination in Everyday Foods

BUT KEEP READING…

First off … let me start by saying I’m not a scientist by nature.  But that doesn’t disqualify me from making comments on how a proper study should be conducted.  In fact, I wondered myself after reading this article.. how would one conduct such a study?

My guess is, at the very least they need to include the methods used in testing so that anybody else qualified could reproduce the results. Even friendly hackers do this.  They report their findings and methods used to reproduce the error in an effort to get the company in question to fix their product.

However, what’s the #1 thing missing from this Consumer Reports article Heavy Metals Found in Protein Shakes?  Care to take a guess?

The methods used!  For all I know, they took various expired supplements from a location in Area 51 and used a metal testing kit from ACE Hardware.  They don’t specifically say how it was conducted and the onus is on them.

Here’s How another 3rd Party, Independent Agency Responded to the  Consumer Reports Article on Protein Drinks

“NSF International cannot comment on the test results reported in the July 2010, Consumer Reports article on protein drinks. It omits critical information about the laboratory that performed the test and its accreditation qualifications. ISO 17025 accreditation is critical for any laboratory testing for heavy metals in dietary supplements and nutritional products.

The article also omits the test methods used, analytical preparation, sample size, the basis of their risk assessment, detection limits, quality control data and instrumentation used for this report.”

FACT: In order to report your finding you MUST report methods used so that results can be reproduced by others.  Sorry Consumer Reports but your study is invalid without such.  Not to mention your testing apples to oranges.

But don’t take my word for it… I asked Daniel Whittaker, a personal trainer for decades, a Wellness Consultant, an Expert Moderator on DiscussBodybuilding.com and researcher.  He’s currently attending California State University, Los Angeles, where he is studying Exercise Science and Bioscience and assisting with research in the University Human Performance Laboratory.

He is the recipient one of two Certificates of Honor awarded by his College in recognition of exceptional academic achievements, and he has been inducted into both Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and Golden Key International Honor Society.

“Marc, your comments about the validity of the research methods are spot on.  Without a methods section, the report is really of no value if I can not repeat it consistently in a proper lab with the same methods…” -Daniel Whittaker

What’s even more shocking is that nobody including the fitness expert you probably follow seems to pay attention to the 4 pages that precede the pretty colored chart.  Things I’ve tried in my newsletter, program, blog, podcasts and forum to battle.  What things?

MYTH:

“The body can only break down 5 to 9 grams of protein per hour” -Kathleen Laquale, licensed nutritionist and certified athletic trainer

FACT:

“Regarding the quote from Kathleen Laquale about the body only being able to break down 5 to 9 grams of protein an hour. I defy her to find research to support this. I cringed when I saw the original quote in Consumer Reports, and I’m cringing again to see that the NPR site has adopted it as fact. - TCLoma (of T-Nation?)

“There is no such thing as consuming too much protein.as long you’re getting other nutrients in your diet as well.”Dr. Andrew Shao, Ph.D, in Nutritional Biochemistry from Tufts University in Boston, M.S. in Human Nutrition Science.  His B.A. in Biology is from Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass.

A reoccurring theme throughout the entire article is:

Too Much Protein Can Cause Health Problems!

Of course, there’s no links to current studies just “experts” who drop the statement like a hot stock tip at a bus station.

Let’s see what a few of the real experts in the field of bodybuilding have to say about the never ending myth that a high protein diet is deadly ….

“If you tell them you are on a high protein diet because you are an athlete they will tell you, “oh you don’t want to do that, you don’t need it and it will lead to kidney disease” without a single decent study to back up their claim!” - Will Brink, columnist, contributing consultant, and writer for various health/fitness, medical, and bodybuilding publications article,  author of the “Nutritional Myths that Just Won’t Die: Protein.”

“A number of health risks have been attributed to the consumption of high protein intakes, this includes potential problems with the kidneys, bone health, metabolic acidosis and certain types of cancers. For the most part, these risks tend to be extremely overstated.” -Lyle McDonald, “Protein Controversies.” Chapter 8 from The Protein Book: A Complete Guide for the Coach and Athlete.

Moving on …

So I asked my friend and mentor, Tom Venuto, a lifetime natural bodybuilder, an NSCA-certified personal trainer, certified strength & conditioning specialist (CSCS) and author of the #1 best selling diet e-book,  “Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle” about this “High Protein” is bad for you that Consumer Reports wants you to believe.

Marc: Tom, can you explain why some licensed professional STILL tell their clients that a diet high in protein leads to health problems?  Including kidney failure, dehydration and osteoporosis?

Tom Venuto: I knew this question would pop up. This “high protein is bad for you” myth never seems to go away, so let me squash this ugly bug right now once and for all.

At one time or another, you’ve probably heard the myth that high protein diets are:

  • bad for your kidneys,
  • they dehydrate you
  • and give you osteoporosis.

Well, here’s the truth: It’s a medical and scientific fact that except in the case of pre-existing kidney disease, there is no documented evidence that a high protein intake will cause kidney damage in a healthy kidney. In fact, there is not a single study that has been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal using adult human subjects with healthy kidneys that has shown any kidney dysfunction whatsoever as a result of consuming a high protein diet.

In the textbook, “Total Nutrition: the Only Guide You’ll Ever Need,” from the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, the authors, Victor Herbert and Genell Shubak-Sharpe, had this to say about protein and kidney disease:

“High-protein diets have never proven to be a serious hazard for healthy people, although processing excess protein can overburden a liver or kidney’s that are damaged by disease. That’s why individuals with kidney or liver disease are often put on protein-restricted diets. Likewise, very high protein formulas can also be detrimental to very young or premature infants whose kidney function is not fully developed. Some nephrologists have also speculated the eating a high-protein diet throughout life may be the reason for the ‘slight’ decline in kidney function that usually occurs with age, but this connection is still under investigation.”

What about the claim that high protein diets cause osteoporosis? In inactive people, some studies have shown that increased protein intakes lead to elevated calcium excretion. This is because high protein intakes increase the acidity of the blood, and the body must “leach” calcium from the bones to buffer the acidity. The researchers theorized that this calcium loss could lead to accelerated osteoporosis, especially in women.

While this phenomenon has been observed in sedentary individuals, there is no clearly established link between high protein intake and osteoporosis. Women with risk factors for osteoporosis should be more cautious, but if you are athletically inclined and participate in aerobic and resistance exercise, you will probably have few risk factors. Here’s what Herbert and Shubak-Sharpe had to say on the subject:

“Our typical high-protein, high-meat diets have also been implicated as a factor in the development of osteoporosis, but these claims may be the results of misinterpreting scientific research. Studies have shown that adding purified protein supplements and amino-acid mixtures that have had their phosphate removed do increase excretion of calcium by the kidney in both animals and humans. However, several long-term controlled human studies carried out by Herta Spencer, M.D., at the Hines VA Medical Center in Illinois have shown that high intakes of protein from natural protein sources such as meat, which have their phosphate intact, do not significantly increase calcium loss.”

A post-menopausal sedentary woman would not be well advised to go on a high protein diet, but if you’re a bodybuilder, or even if you just train with weights recreationally, then you will have denser bones than someone who doesn’t work out. Therefore, extra protein should not be a cause for concern.

Probably the only legitimate problem created by a high protein intake is dehydration. Metabolizing protein requires more water than fats or carbohydrates, so it is very important to consume extra water if you increase your protein intake. The standard recommendation is 8-10 8 oz glasses per day (64 – 80 oz). However, the higher your protein intake, the more water you should drink beyond the standard guideline. For bodybuilders on high protein diets, a gallon a day (124 oz) is more like it.

The one gram per pound of bodyweight guideline is good as a general rule of thumb for bodybuilders.  The amount of protein you need depends on how hard you are training and on whether you want to gain, maintain, or lose bodyweight.

Marc: Thanks once again Tom.

I can appreciate the overall good intentions of Consumer Reports to bring public awareness to the foods were consuming.  However, it does not negate the fact that the study itself was flawed and that most of the article seemed to have a bodybuilding type bashing theme to it.

In my 6 years online and 2 decades of bodybuilding, I’ve run across these myths countless times.   I can understand how the average consumer might not know protein intake requirements or how to conduct a proper research study, I fail to understand how a company as large as and well funded as Consumer Reports can write such a loosely documented and misleading prose on the world of fitness.

Even IF the report were true, they give NO information to the companies listed on how to reproduce the results to correct their products.

When David Barr wrote on the potential ill effects of Glycocyamine in some products, specifically Muscle Milk, I recall passing that report off to Cytosport.

Guess what they did?

They took the research, they looked over the facts and the consumer concerns and Cytosport REMOVED it from the product.

See folks.. that’s how it works.

Step 1:  You Find Something Questionable

Step 2:  You Document Your Research and Share with Company

Step 3:  You See if Company Responds

What we have here is a clear case of myth perpetuation and classic biased reporting.

Here’s What They Should Do Next:

Instead of freaking out of high protein diets, or all protein powder, the products that have been named should get tested by a research group that will publish the findings in a peer reviewed journal, where we know the methods of testing meet certain scientific standards or at least can be scrutinized by the rest of the scientific community to be sure that they do.

If the results come up positive for heavy metals, these supplement companies have some explaining to do and some actions to take for damage control.

The Bottom Line: Overall, the Consumer Reports article on Heavy Metals Found in Protein Drinks is of no real usable value. I won’t change my habits at this time when it comes to using protein supplements on that list or not.  Regarding Cytosport’s Muscle Milk, which I am a consumer of at times, it has NSF Certification which does not support the findings of Consumer Reports.

In my NoBull Bodybuilding program, I recommend whole foods thru Ph.D. approved meal plans, andd using protein shakes or powders as an supplement getting no more than 20% of your daily protein from such sources.  While I use proteins like this myself, I don’t drink 3 shakes a day.

Disclosure: I have a close family member works for Cytosport.  However, I am a consumer of the product.   You should realize however, that this isn’t an research report; it is a blog, and unbiased blogs are kind of boring.  If you don’t take a position what do you write about, really?

Industry Response:

Cytosport: Testing Confirms Muscle Milk Safety
Optimum Nutrition
NSF Statement on Consumer Reports Findings

For Further Research:

Protein Drinks Are Dangerous??!! Yeah, right.
CBS Morning Show: Could Protein Drinks Be Harmful to Your Health?
Heavy Metals Found In Protein Shakes: Should You Stop Drinking Them?
UltimateFatBurner Blog: Skeptical about Consumer Reports
How to Evalute Any Supplement

Dangerous protein drinks?
Bodybuilders & Protein, Part 1, 2 and 3
How Much Protein Can I Eat at Any One Time?
Consumer Reports Magazine Takes Aim at Protein Drinks

Marc David
“The NoBull Muscle Guy”
www.nobullbodybuilding.com

P.S. – My biggest pet peeve is a few fitness experts trying to make money off the report and linking you to a brand of protein thru their affilite link!  Of course they make a commissions off the purchases.  Talk about bias.  If you don’t trust supplement companies WHY on earth would you trust and expert that passed this report to you, offering up no professional insight and then tries to milk you for a few cents off a link to purchase protein.

I believe buyers should be made aware of the incentives individuals may have to give particular advice.  They should be more cynical.

Creatine Causes Roid Rage!?

Do you ever wonder why some people ask the craziest questions about some supplement?

Like why they’ve heard Creatine is a steroid?  Or how come Brand X protein causes a roid rage when taken by somebody male who’s young?  Or that high protein diets CAUSE kidney stones.

The answer is quite obvious.

Consumers for the most part, put forth very little effort into supplement research. To complicate matters, they don’t even know where to begin to do any research.  Most people get advice about supplements from 3 places:

(more…)

What Supplements Should I Take?

Photo Credit: John Jeddore

I’ll refrain from talking about brand names and such as I think we all have our opinions on those and many times price is a factor.

I’m also not posting this list to preach about the benefits of supplements.  The post title is “What Supplements Should I Take” and I’m merely answering.

This isn’t my schedule but rather a framework.  And please keep in mind.. these are supplements meant to supplement an outstanding nutritional program.  I do not use this list to fill in gaps or substitute or my lack of proper eating.  It’s in addition to … not in place of.

So let’s begin…

My Foundational Supplements:

These are supplements I take daily with meals (not all meals), regardless of training.

* Multi-vitamin
* Essential Fatty Acid complex (EPA/DHA)
* Joint Matrix
* Digestive Enzymes
* Udo’s Oil 3-6-9 Omegas (plant sourced)
* Beta-Glucan
* ZMA

My Picks for Performance/Muscle Building Supplements:

My selection at this time for pre-workout and post-workout recovery.  I’ve tried drinking various energy combinations during a workout (Waxy Maize, Vitargo, water beyond a sip at the drinking fountain, etc) and found it to be bothersome.  My workouts don’t last long enough that I need energy during the workout itself.  I’ve got reserves for 60 minutes of high intensity training.

This section is the most critical for me.  If I can have enough energy to do a very high intensity workout AND I can recovery quickly, my gains will be staggering.

When I do not have a session that involved weight training, this list shrinks a lot.

-Some things are bulk, raw materials that aren’t available for end line consumers. –

* Whey protein
* Creatine
* Vitargo S2
* L-Leucine
* Muscle Milk
* Monster Milk/Mass
* Monster Amino
* Monster Pump
* Beta-Alanine
* Provon 290 whey protein isolate

My Optional Supplements:

Things I’ve found beneficial and I take at irregular times.  I am a coffee drinker and I switch to green tea.  Not for the metabolic effects but for the pick me up of caffeine and the other associated benefits with green tea.

* Caffeine
* Green tea
* Cytomax

Cytomax is something I found useful in 2 specific categories:

a) when attempting to do a high volume, high intensity leg workouts.  It’s the only solution I will consider drinking during the actual workout besides sipping water.  Anything that is “endurance” related which can be some weight training workouts believe it or not.

b) taken long after workouts but before bed on high intensity days to eliminate cramps.  Leg cramps plague me.  This is the only solution I’ve found that eliminates it almost immediately.

And that concludes this lengthy list on what supplements I currently take.

I’d like to know what supplements you take if any.  Please post your comments below.

Disclaimer: I reserve the right to update this post when things change or I go home and swallow a pill and realize I didn’t post it here.

Marc David
“The NoBull Muscle Guy”
www.nobullbodybuilding.com

QUESTION:

You said you don’t need to take supplements to build muscle?  At least that is what your book claims along with everybody else in this industry.  Are you contradicting yourself?

ANSWER:

You do not. I was asked what I personally took, and I responded when most other professionals will not.  I’m not a supplement pusher but I’m not a supplement hater.   You only need handwork, consistency and adequate food intake coupled with recovery to build muscle and burn fat.  I said that, others say it and I stand by it.

QUESTION:

What supplements should I take?

ANSWER:

I’ve got no idea what you should take given your personal financial situation, your work ethic, your age, any medications or other complications and/or needs.  Recommending supplements to people isn’t something I do for a variety of reasons.  One being, I might be fine taking Product A when you have an allergic reaction.  I think sticking to the basics is the best idea.  Beyond that, if your diet is nearly perfect, that’s the time you can put forth some honest effort into making a plan for yourself.  Cookie cutter list of supplements to take is like giving cookie cutter financial advice.  Most people LOSE.  It may or may not pertain to them.  They end up frustrated and upset.  Hence, I make these recommendations for ME and me only.  Not you.  Re-read that this is for informational purposes only.

QUESTION:

How come other fitness guys don’t post this?

ANSWER:

I don’t know.  I’d guess the same reason they don’t post a lot of things.  They create images and often live different lives.  What you see in this blog, my personality, my preferences for a training style, my opinions.. is how I live.  All the time (except when I’m sleeping).  I take supplements personally and therefore, I don’t create some illusion I don’t.  But I don’t run around pushing them on people and I don’t give out recommendations as I don’t know your history among other things.  It’s a question I get all the time and it’s always the one I can’t answer perfectly.

QUESTION:

Where can I buy…   How come you don’t post links?

ANSWER:

Because I’m not making recommendations.  This is a list post.  For informational purposes.  Disclosure.  For curious minds.  Not me trying to encourage you or direct you anywhere.  People asked, I responded.  That’s it.

QUESTION:

Where can I learn more about the science behind supplements IF I choose to take this path?

ANSWER:

I wrote a very lengthy post about How to Evaluate a Supplement. I suggest you read it and do your research before just buying the latest and greatest or what Joe/Sally said on some forum.  You’ll end up with more money in your pocket and feeling smarter.

Creatine Dosage: A Simple Formula For Creatine Cycles

Creatine Dosage Calculator

Creatine Monohydrate

Do you ever wonder what your creatine daily dose should be?  The magical 5g every site seems to list?

In order to calculate your creatine dosage according to the original research,you’ll first need to convert your body weight into kilograms. This won’t require a math degree. If it did, I wouldn’t be able to post this or even explain it!

Simple divide your current body weight in pounds by 2.2 to obtain your weight in kilograms. For example, if you weight 190 lbs then your kilogram weight is ~86 kilograms (190 / 2.2 = 86).

Next, multiple your weight in kilograms for the appropriate dose. The recommended loading dosage is 0.3 grams per kilogram of body weight. The maintenance phase is even less at only 0.03 grams of creatine per kilogram of body weight.

Example: 86kg person starting a loading phase would require 25.8 grams of creatine per day for 5 days divided up into 4 equal parts during the day. The maintenance phase of an 86kg person would be 2.58g of creatine per day.

Creatine Dosage Worksheet:

Step 1: Your body weight in pounds

Step 2: Body weight in kilograms
body weight in pounds divided by 2.2

Step 3: Find your Loading dose
body weight in kilograms multiplied by 0.3
divide into 4 equal parts; take 1 part every 4 hours

Step 4: Find your Maintenance dose
body weight in kilograms multiplied by 0.03

It appears that the creatine loading dose phase will saturate your muscle stores with creatine quicker but there’s little difference in a person who does or does not do the loading phase. Except it might take longer to reach full muscle saturation. Many references today (2008) report the loading phase as unnecessary. Others make comments that a loading phase is only there to go thru the products quicker so you’ll need to purchase more creatine.

The loading phase can be done or not, it doesn’t appear there will be any final outcome differences.

General maintenance phases of Creatine Monohydrate are between 3-5 grams. The references above will get you a more personalized approach to your creatine dosage vs. just the recommendations based on the average person.

If you’d like to learn more about Creatine, take a look at Creatine: A Practical Guide.

Marc David – CPT
“The NoBull Muscle Guy”
Author of NoBull Bodybuilding

How to Evaluate Any Supplement

What my mom didn’t tell me about buying supplements and what I’m about to tell you could save you hundreds of dollars in worthless purchases or worse yet.. an ineffective and potentially dangerous supplement!

How Does a Supplement Become a Supplement?

To answer this question, what better place to get the information then the FDA’s own website.

“The FDA regulates dietary supplements under a different set of regulations than those covering “conventional” foods and drug products (prescription and Over-the-Counter). Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), the dietary supplement manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that a dietary supplement is safe before it is marketed. FDA is responsible for taking action against any unsafe dietary supplement product after it reaches the market. Generally, manufacturers do not need to register with FDA nor get FDA approval before producing or selling dietary supplements. Manufacturers must make sure that product label information is truthful and not misleading.

FDA’s post-marketing responsibilities include monitoring safety, e.g. voluntary dietary supplement adverse event reporting, and product information, such as labeling, claims, package inserts, and accompanying literature. The Federal Trade Commission regulates dietary supplement advertising.” –Source: The FDA

Does this mean a manufacture can do some in-house testing, package a product, make claims and put it on the market?  Absolutely.  The FDA has really taken a major step back in regulation beginning in 1994.  What this means to the consumers is that, the FDA will be responsible for taking action against any unsafe dietary supplement AFTER it reaches the market.

Look at the case of Ephedra.  Let’s not argue the safety as there are numerous cases on both sides that have done that for months.  The amount of posts and facts becomes overwhelming.  Let’s just look at that particular product in regards to the FDA’s current role.  Ephedra was released with claims and the proper labeling.  And it was only AFTER it hit the market, and a few incidences occurred that the FDA finally stepped in and effectively banned the sale of Ephedra.  They had been targeting that supplement for a long time.  With the media frenzy, they were able to get the momentum they needed.   This is an example of their post-marketing responsibilities.  Many products can be released and the only real stipulation is that the ingredients contained are accurate.  Regulation of claims may be under the FTC, but I think most consumers know or will know after reading this, that most claims go unregulated unless there is some promise or totally unacceptable claims.  But increasing muscle mass in 30 days or helping you shed unwanted pounds, are claims that will stay on bottles.

To the consumer, this means, it’s really important you read about a particular supplement and the ingredients and monitor how it affects you.  Because it’s in a store and sold, does in no way mean there may not be any adverse effects.  Please re-read the above section.  The FDA will become involved AFTER the product hits the market.  Which means you could very well be taking it and it’s not safe for you.  So consumer education becomes even more important in the industry that is vastly unregulated.  While this task might seem impossible, it’s not.  There’s plenty of information contained in the pages you are reading to further your understanding of particular products and how they related to you.

Who Has The Responsibility For Ensuring That A Dietary Supplement Is Safe? 

By law (DSHEA), the manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that its dietary supplement products are safe before they are marketed. Unlike drug products that must be proven safe and effective for their intended use before marketing, there are no provisions in the law for FDA to “approve” dietary supplements for safety or effectiveness before they reach the consumer. Also unlike drug products, manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements are not currently required by law to record, investigate or forward to FDA any reports they receive of injuries or illnesses that may be related to the use of their products. Under DSHEA, once the product is marketed, FDA has the responsibility for showing that a dietary supplement is “unsafe,” before it can take action to restrict the product’s use or removal from the marketplace. –Source: The FDA

Just one more reason that the consumer needs to clearly be aware of the product, what it contains and what that means.

Tell the Truth & Have Scientific Evidence to Back-up Those Claims

The REAL problem with most supplements is they are based on little evidence, a few questionable testimonals and make wild claims about unrealistic expectations.  In fact…

“The FTC’s primary issue with dietary supplements relates to claims that cannot be supported by reliable scientific evidence.” - Marc Ullman, of Ullman, Shapiro & Ullman in New York City

To say that supplements are like religion where it’s “faith” based per se, would get a laugh from many.  And yet MILLIONS of consumers each year toss away money on bodybuilding supplements, weight loss supplements in hopes they will work.  Hopes?  Scientific evidence should be available to support those claims.  If not, then buyer beware!

As a consumer there’s no single direct answer which makes it frustrating but you CAN do something.  A tiny bit of research on your own will reveal a lot of information about a supplement beyond the marketing materials and customer testimonials.  You need to do a little more thought when it comes to putting substances into your body.  While the FDA and FTC do work to eliminate fast buck companies that show little or no corporate ethics or responsibility, it’s still very important that the consumer does some research beyond the ads and testimonials.

Resources:

Supplementwatch.com

ConsumerLabs.com

Biomedcentral.com

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