What you don’t know about supplements can harm you

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. David Webb
  • 71st Medical Group
Airmen must be fit to fight at a moment's notice. This includes the mental and physical endurance to take the fight where it needs to be. 

With this mentality, many members are getting and staying in shape. Many members are turning to dietary supplements and nutritional enhancers. But before taking that bottle of daily vitamins or herbal supplements, stop and think about how safe it is. 

All supplement manufacturers are required to meet certain Food and Drug Administration standards before releasing their product. They must ensure the supplement is safe for human consumption, but that is where the required research often stops. The label must accurately state the name and quantity of everything inside the product. 

However, companies are given a lot of leeway when it comes to what the product will do for consumers. The companies can claim, without proof or research, what benefits the product will have on the person taking it. 

The FDA does regulate all dietary supplements, but to what extent? The FDA approves all drugs prior to release/testing, but supplements are not classified as drugs, nor are they classified as food. 

Consumers must research the supplement contents they are unfamiliar with and then take it to their Primary Care Managers and have them take a look at the product. Once these steps are taken and they feel comfortable, they can add the product to their diets.