Monday, June 22, 2009

Homeopathic Remedies & Dietary Supplements Pose Health Risks

Neither supplements nor homeopathic products are required by the FDA to prove they are safe or effective before going on the market. Reports of these products being contaminated or mislabeled provide substantial ammunition against their use.

The Huffington Post reported
that "one quarter of supplements tested by an independent company,, over the last decade have had some sort of problem. Some contained contaminants. Others had contents that did not match label claims. Some had ingredients that exceeded safe limits. Some contained real drugs masquerading as natural supplements."

The article explains that millions of Americans take vitamin, herbal or other dietary supplements. Annual sales for these products exceed $23 billion, and more than 40,000 of these products are on the market.

A 2002 New England Journal of Medicine reported, tens of thousands of supplement-related health problems are handled by U.S. poison control centers each year .

Until 2008, supplement makers were NOT required to report problems to the FDA, and now they must report ONLY serious ones. The FDA estimates that more than 50,000 safety problems a year are related to supplement use.

The Institute of Medicine, an independent science panel that advises the government, studied the situation in 2005 and which urges amending the 1994 law to tighten consumer protections. In their report they said "The committee is concerned about the quality of dietary supplements in the United States. Product reliability is low."

The Associated Press analyzed the Food and Drug Administration's 2008 side effect reports and found that more than 800 homeopathic ingredients were potentially implicated in health problems last year.

Given the recent recalls of pharmaceuticals and dietary supplemtns, consumers must evaluate and purchase these with extreme caution.

As we saw last week, Matrixx pulled 3 Zicam products off the shelves which are sold over the counter and marketed as safe and effective after reports of people losing their sense of smell after its use.

Read full Huffington Post article: