Dietary Supplements, Herbs, and Hormones
The most logical definition of "dietary supplement" would be something that supplies one or more essential nutrients missing from the diet. However, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994--commonly referred to as DSHEA defines "dietary supplement" as any product (except tobacco) that contains at least one of the following: (1) a vitamin, (2) a mineral, (3) an herb or botanical, (4) an amino acid, (5) a dietary substance "for use to supplement the diet by increasing total dietary intake," or (6) any concentrate, metabolite, constituent, extract, or combination of any of the aforementioned ingredients. Herbs ,of course, are not consumed for a nutritional purpose and often are marketed with therapeutic claims. The supplement industry, which lobbied vigorously for passage of this act, included them in this definition to weaken the FDA's ability to regulate their marketing. Since DSHEA's passage, hormones have also been marketed as "dietary supplements."
This page provides an index to information on the wide variety of substances sold as "dietary supplements" by health-food stores, pharmacies, multilevel companies, health practitioners, and mail-order entrepreneurs, and Internet outlets. A few such substances are useful, but most are promoted with false or misleading claims. Most of the articles are on Quackwatch, but some are on other sites.
The articles below are not linked back to this page. If you want to return here after visiting any of the pages below, use the "back" command of your web browser..
- Appropriate Use of Dietary Supplements
- Miscellaneous Hype
- Nutrition Insurance: A Skeptical View
- Orthomolecular Therapy
- Unethical Behavior by Pharmacists
- Great Earth's "Vitamitician" Scam
- Health-Food-Store Advice: Don't Trust It!
- AMA Attacks Sale of Non-Health-Related Products in Medical Offices
- Olympic Committee Finds Hormone Precursors in "Dietary Supplements"
- Illnesses and Injuries Associated with the Use of Selected Dietary Supplements (1993 FDA report)
- How the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 Weakened the FDA
- Why the FDA Does Not Approve Supplements
- Improvements Needed in Overseeing Dietary Supplements and "Functional Foods" (GAO report)
- Pro-Quackery Legislation
- FTC Warning: Misleading Ads for Children's Dietary Supplements
- "Macerat" Weight-Loss Plan
- Blasted by American Pharmaceutical Association
- VitaCor 20/90 (link to another site)
"Supplement" and "Health Food" Products
- B-vitamins: Does lowering homocysteine levels prevent cardiovascular disease?
- Barley Green (link to NCAHF site)
- Bee pollen
- Blue-green algae
- Calorad (link to another site)
- Carnitine (link to another site)
- Cetylmyristoleate (CMO) (link to FTC site)
- "Clustered Water" (link to another site)
- Colloidal minerals
- Colloidal silver
- Coral calcium
- Creatine monohydrate
- Emu oil: emuoil.pdf FDA Fact Sheet [FDA Warning Letter]
- "Ergogenic Aids"
- Evening primrose oil
- Fish oils (link to American Heart Association statement)
- Folate Fact Sheet (link to NIH Office of Dietary Supplements)
- 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) (link to another site)
- Gamma-hydroxybutyric Acid: A Growing Danger
- Glucosamine for Arthritis
- Juice Plus ®
- Magnesium Fact Sheet (link to NIH Office of Dietary Supplements)
- Mannatech products
- MCT oil (link to another site)
- Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)
- Nutritional Supplements for Down Syndrome
- Protandim (link to another site)
- Pyruvate (link to another site)
- Royal Jelly
- Royal Tongan Limu
- SAMe (s-adenosyl-L-methionine) (link to another site)
- Selenium Fact Sheet (link to NIH Office of Dietary Supplements)
- Shark cartilage
- "Stabilized oxygen"
- Tahitian noni
- Vitamin A and Carotenoids Fact Sheet (link to NIH Office of Dietary Supplements)
- Vitamin B6 Fact Sheet (link to NIH Office of Dietary Supplements)
- Vitamin B12 Fact Sheet (link to NIH Office of Dietary Supplements)
- "Vitamin B15" ("pangamic acid") (link to FDA compliance policy guide)
- Vitamin C Index:
- Vitamin D Fact Sheet (link to NIH Office of Dietary Supplements)
- Vitamin E Fact Sheet (link to NIH Office of Dietary Supplements)
- Wheat Grass (link to another site)
- Can Herbs Help Induce Lactation?
- Airborne (link to another site)
- Cellasene and other "Cellulite Removers"
- Chaparral: from FDA Warning (1993)
- Comfrey: FDA Warning (2001)
- Ephedra Alkaloids (Ma Huang)
- Garlic (link to another site)
- Germander from FDA Warning (1993)
- Herbal cigarettes: Not safer than tobacco
- Jin Bu Huan from FDA Warning (1993)
- Kava (link to FDA warning)
- Kombucha Tea (MMWR report, 12/95)
- Lobelia from FDA Warning (1993)
- Milk thistle (link to another site)
- St. John's Wort
- Willow Bark (from FDA Warning (1993)
- Yohimbe (from FDA Warning (1993)
- Androstenedione Warning
- "Anti-Aging" Programs
- "Bio-Identical" Hormones
- Growth Hormone Scams
- Secretin for Autism
Links to Other Web Sites
- AboutHerbs (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center database)
- American Heart Association's Position on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
- ConsumerLab.com (does product evaluations, including laboratory tests)
- Dr.Bill of Health.com
- FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (links to supplement news and information)
- Illnesses and Injuries Associated with the Use of Selected Dietary Supplements
- Index of Supplement and Herbal Product Recalls
- Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database
- NIH Office of Dietary Supplements
Science-Based Medicine Links
Basic Science and Pharmacology
- Herbal Remedies, Street Drugs, and Pharmacology.
- The Plant vs Pharmaceutical False Dichotomy.
- Diet Supplements or Nutritional Supplements: A Ruse by Any Other Name is Still a Ruse.
- A natural product of his environment.
- Natural is not innocuous: the case of Angelâ€™s Trumpet and tropane alkaloid intoxication.
- Commercial deception: undeclared drugs in herbs and other dietary supplements.
- How to Interrogate an Herbal Medicine: Thunder God Vine.
- Why we donâ€™t prescribe bark for cancer.
- The risks of CAM: How much do we know? .
- Yes, drug companies do pay attention to herbal medicine.
Herbs, Supplements & Vitamins
- Another Negative Study of Vitamins.
- High dose vitamin C and cancer: Has Linus Pauling been vindicated?
- Vitamin C strikes (out) again.
- Vitamin E and Stroke.
- Short Attention Span SBM.
- The benefits and risks of folic acid supplementation.
- Echinacea for Cold and Flu.
- Belief in Echinacea.
- Does Glucosamine Really Work?
- Glucosamine Update: A New Study and a New ProductÂ
- Glucosamine: The Unsinkable Rubber Duck.
- Bioidentical Hormones.
- Hormone Replacement Therapy.
- Black Cohosh and Hot Flashes.
- Scientific evidence for synergy in a botanical product.
- Testosterone: Not an Anti-Aging Panacea.
- James Ray and testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
- An Herbal Cure for Peanut Allergy?
- Ginkgo biloba â€“ No Effect.
- Is Kava Safe?
- Bee Venom Therapy â€“ Grassroots Medicine.
- The Annals of Internal Medicine Qualifies for Fail Blog.
- Testing a Chinese Herbal Flu Remedy.
- Do calcium supplements cause heart attacks? .
- The latest chapter in the seemingly never-ending saga of dichloroacetate as a cancer treatment.
- Hash Oil for Gliomas? What Would You Do? .
- Can it get any worse?: industrial bleach as cancer and HIV cure.
- Caffeine for ADHD.
- Fake Treatments for Fake Illnesses.
- Help â€“ My Doctor is a Crank! .
- The Great Sunscreen Cover Up.
Law and Regulation
- Utah Senator Orrin Hatch: A pit bull in defense of the supplement industry.
- The Dietary Supplement Safety Act of 2010: A long overdue correction to the DSHEA of 1994?
- The GAO Report on Supplement Regulation.
- CAM and the Law Part 4: Regulation of Supplements and Homeopathic Remedies.
- Supplement Regulation: Be Careful What You Wish For.
- European Union â€œBanâ€ On Herbal Products.
- Airborne Settles Case On False Advertising.
- FDA Zicam Warning.
- What does a new drug cost?
- Chelation: Compounding Pharmacyâ€™s Problems.