Quick Tips for OTC Supplements

About half of the adult population in the United States takes one or more supplements per day at a cost of nearly billion annually. But most of us do not know much about the ingredients, nor do we have a basis to judge the claims on effectiveness.

 

Over the counter (OTC) supplements are not approved or investigated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so we have no information to determine whether the supplement is safe or effective at achieving the desired benefits. It is estimated that about 50,000 adverse reactions to supplements occur each year that go undocumented.

 

We have put together a short checklist to follow when buying any supplement to ensure safety and effectiveness. The three universal guidelines are:

 

  1. Rather than reading what the label claims to achieve, read the active ingredients;
  2. Cross reference the active ingredients with scientific studies that utilized randomized trials with adequate sample size to investigate the efficacy, safety and benefits of the ingredients, and be sure to stay within the dose protocol proven to be safe by the study;
  3. Avoid proprietary blends that list the ingredients in the supplement but do not provide the concentrations of each.

 

While we can't give you recommendations on specific supplements, we have provided you with the tools to help you make an informed decision about whether an ingredient or combination of ingredients are safe and effective.