Dietary Supplement Regulation
Everywhere you look today; the fitness industry is thriving. People have been obsessed by the way they look since the beginning of time. A big part of why so many have been hit with the fitness bug is because of Television. The people on TV flaunt toned, muscular, perfect bodies and inspire those looking to be the same to get into the gym. Another big influence is the awareness people have today on health and fitness compared to earlier years. The convenience of exercise programs, at home gyms, and the plentiful amount of gyms popping up throughout the world add to the ease of getting in shape. Many of those people trying to get fit in the gyms are looking for that “magic pill”. The easy way to the bodies they are working so hard to achieve. Since the fitness industry is flourishing so much, it opened the floodgates for dietary supplements. The boost of physical fitness has led to an industry boom in dietary supplementation contributing to the lack of regulation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In order to start figuring out how dietary supplements are regulated we have to first understand what exactly a supplement is and how they got their start. A dietary supplement is defined “as a product (other than tobacco) intended to supplement the diet or contains one or more of the following ingredients: a vitamin; a mineral; an herb or other botanical; an amino acid; a dietary substance for use by man to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake; or a concentrate, metabolite, constituent, extract, or combination of any of those ingredients. Additionally, a dietary supplement must be intended for ingestion, not represented as a conventional food or sole item of a meal or the diet and be labeled as a dietary supplement. Furthermore, unless a dietary supplement was marketed as a food or dietary supplement before it cannot be approved or authorized for investigation as a new drug, antibiotic or a biologic” (DSHEA, 1994). Dietary supplements come in many forms by the way of pills, capsules, tablets, powders, or liquids. Throughout history people have used dietary supplements for a wide variety of reasons. Some have used them to cure ailments, others to assist with workout plans or diets, and even to suppress hunger. The earliest dietary supplements marketed in the 1920’s for their vitamin A and D content were cod liver oil products (Hutt, 2009).