Effective Monday, July 19, 2021, the following NOH/OMG office locations will no longer provide on-site blood draws: Westlake, Lorain, Olmsted Falls and Dewhurst. Click here for the nearest lab service location.
Just walk the aisles of your local pharmacy or grocery store and you’ll probably see them: Rows and rows of vitamins and supplements. From improving digestion to protecting heart health to boosting immunity, these pills are packed with presumed benefits, and if you’re like most adults, you probably have at least tried one or two. While pharmaceuticals are reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency isn’t authorized to review the ingredients of vitamins or supplements before they’re marketed to the consumer.
When your doctor gives you a prescription for a medication or when you pick up a bottle of cold medicine at the pharmacy, you’re going to be using a product that was tested by the FDA to ensure it does what it claims to do without dangerous side effects. Supplements, however, are treated like a food by the FDA. That means they don’t have to go through the testing medications do. And instead of the FDA regulating them, the products are self-regulated by each manufacturer.
According to the FDA, a supplement has biologically active compounds that are naturally occurring. These compounds may contain herbs, vitamins or minerals. The FDA doesn’t allow supplement makers to make any health-related claims on labels that their product may cure, treat or prevent a disease.
Makers must report any adverse events—allergic reactions or serious side effects—to the FDA, but the FDA can only take a supplement off the market if it’s inaccurately labeled or is unsafe.
While supplements may provide some benefits, it’s important to talk with your doctor before you try them. Doing so can ensure you have the right supplement for your needs and help minimize the risk of side effects.