In The News: Supplement Use Increases in U.S.

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More Americans are taking vitamins and supplements according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But does this mean that American’s are healthier?

According to the article Half of Americans Use Supplements, from CNN, it really depends on whom you ask that question.

The problem is that vitamins and supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. This means that the makers of various supplements do not have to prove a supplement’s safety or effectiveness. And the rise from 43 percent of adults who use supplements in 1988 to 53 percent in 2006 has definitely surged the vitamin and supplement industry. And most of the time, according to the CNN article, a consumer doesn’t truly know what they are putting into their body.

Photo by TheKarenD/Courtesy Flickr  

However, quite a few countries across the sea are trying to take a different approach to marketing new herbal supplements and vitamins. The European Union, which consists of more than 25 countries in Europe, created the European Directive on Traditional Herbs and Medicinal Plants to provide a regulatory system for all natural supplements. This directive took full-effect in late April. This means that all natural supplements will have to be authorized by the government in order to be placed on the market. 

This new plan was created to prevent potentially dangerous side effects from occurring when a person uses both a supplement and prescription drug.

Now, let’s move back to the States. According to a different article from ABC News, called Vitamin and Vitamin Supplements: Use Increases in America, many people often substitute vitamins and supplements for a healthy, well-balanced diet. This is not the way to go. So is an American version of the EU directive in the works to create a healthier America? As for now, supplements are good-to-go on the market without going through an authorization process.

Do you think that the United States should follow the EU’s directive?

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