How do standards differ for nutritional supplements and medications?

Because the Food and Drug Administration evaluates nutritional supplements as a food rather than a drug, these supplements do not have to meet the rigorous standards prescription medications do. Through repeated clinical trials, medications must prove their efficacy and safety. They also have to go through strict tests to determine proper dosage. Doctors then keep to the dosage guidelines or risk having their licenses revoked.

While dosage may be recommended on the supplement packaging, people seem to be less cautious about adding another pill or two of Echinacea or Colt's Foot; they're natural after all. This over-dosing can become a dangerous practice.

Continue Learning about Dietary Supplements

Dietary Supplements

Whether you're visiting the drug store, grocery or natural food shop you'll likely find an aisle where there are jars and bottles of things for you to put in your body that are neither foods nor medicines. Ranging from vitamins an...

d minerals to fiber and herbal remedies, these supplements are not regulated in the same way as either food or medicine. Some of them are backed by solid research, others are folk remedies or proprietary cures. If your diet does not include enough of certain vitamins or minerals, a supplement may be a good idea. Natural treatment for conditions like constipation may be effective. But because these substances are unregulated, it is always a good idea to educate yourself about the products and to use common sense when taking them. This is even more true if you are pregnant or taking a medicine that may be affected by supplements.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.