Safety and Regulation of Dietary Supplements

 -  Photo Illustration by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Photo Illustration by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Safety and Regulation of Dietary Supplements

Sixty-eight percent of Americans use dietary supplements. But critics say unknown hazards lurk in the pills, powders and capsules we turn to for health and well being. We discuss concerns about the safety and regulation of the supplement industry.

It’s been 20 years since lawmakers first butted heads over the regulation of dietary supplements. The question was: should vitamins, minerals and other naturally derived nutritional products be regulated like a food or like a pharmaceutical? The answer was: like a food. That set the stage for what critics call a “wild west” environment in which companies make health claims and bring products to market without proof of safety or effectiveness. Yet, those concerns have not slowed growth. Sixty-eight percent of American adults use dietary supplements, while annual sales have ballooned to $32 billion a year. Still, the debate over safety and regulation continues. Diane and her guests discuss concerns about the safety and regulation of the supplement industry.

Guests

Julie Rovner

senior correspondent, Kaiser Health News; author of "Health Care Policy and Politics A-Z."

Dan Fabricant, Ph.D.

CEO, Natural Products Association

Dr. Pieter Cohen

general internist at the Cambridge Health Alliance and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School

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