The quest for good health and longevity motivate people to take vitamin and mineral supplements. Every year over 100 million Americans, spending over $28 billion on them, consume minerals, vitamins, herbal ingredients and other naturally occurring products in the form of nutritional supplements. They assume they are safe and effective. Assumptions aren't always correct.
I am just finishing cases for scores of people who took a complex nutritional supplement. It had been marketed by a small mom-and-pop operator in another state but had been put together incorrectly by two supplement mixing companies. A calculation to determine the amount of one of the ingredients had been incorrectly done. The error in compounding was then concealed by one of the companies after the batch analysis revealed the mistake. A second analysis was done, and it showed the same result. It was concealed, too. After the product was shipped and consumed by people in the U.S., it's toxic misformulation made them sick. Some died. Others had serious problems including temporary kidney and liver failure.
No federal or state agency was responsible for regulating the product. Even worse, by law, nutritional supplements that contain established ingredients, meaning ingredients that were sold in the U.S. before 1994, can be marketed by companies or individuals without any proof of safety or effectiveness. That year, a federal law allowing this absurd and dangerous result was enacted. Although the law does say that the FDA must be given proof of safety and efficacy if new ingredients are used, that aspect of the law hasn't been enforced.
As a result, the number of dietary supplements on the market has jumped from about 4,000 to more than 55,000. The magnitude of the danger presented by these products is enormous. Safety and efficacy data has been submitted to the FDA for only about 175 of the latest 51,000 supplement products. From this alone, it is clear that your safety is in jeopardy when you assume that the product you buy in the shiny bottle with the pretty label is safe. If you want safe vitamins and minerals, eat an apple. An apple a day will keep the doctor and the lawyer away.