Manufacturers are not legally allowed to state that a particular supplement will treat, cure, and prevent disease, however it is permissible for the makers to suggest that a specific supplement may contribute to well-being and maintenance of good health. Most often the ingredients of dietary supplements are natural substances, many of which have been used for hundreds of years in treating illness and helping maintain health. These ingredients might even be used in some medicines; for example, willow bark tea has been used for centuries to treat a fever.
An independent market analyst has recently released 'The Dietary Supplements Regulatory and Market Outlook' based on the US market for dietary supplements. The report states, the US dietary supplement industry could register a 3.8% annual growth rate during 2010-15.
The current good manufacturing practices (CGMP) Final Rule issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) covers dietary supplements. It states that processing of dietary supplements should match strict quality controls and be manufactured in a consistent manner. The CGMP Final Rule ensures that consumers receive quality dietary supplements that are correctly labeled and contamination free.
The Final Rule is designed for consumers to feel more at ease about the purity, strength, identity and composition of the supplements that they are taking. The Rule does not restrict consumers' access to any dietary supplement, however, the FDA does not cover any guidelines relating to clinical trials or research about how dietary supplements impact health. The FDA only ensures that the supplements are manufactured properly and meet quality standards.
How safe are dietary supplements?
Dietary supplements are best taken after consulting a dietician, pharmacist or physician. Also, supplements should be bought from a reputed manufacture. Dietary supplements should not be viewed as replacements for conventional medicinal treatment, though they might be combined with other treatments under a doctor's supervision. Women who are breast-feeding or pregnant should be particularly careful about using dietary supplements.
Dietary supplements might cause some side effects, interact with other non-prescription or prescription drugs, and trigger an allergic reaction.
Compliance Insight, Inc. specializes in Regulatory and Quality Assurance consulting and training for pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, medical device, chemical, and bio-technology companies in North America, Europe and Asia.
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