The FDA classifies Nutritional Supplements as foods, not medications.
This places them in a category that is not subject to the same scrutiny as medications, therefore:
- Nutritional Supplements are not regulated tightly for purity: they may contain bad things which are not listed on the label or expected (Fish oil may contain mercury for example).
- Nutritional Supplements are not regulated for content: they may not contain ingredients implied by the label (in one study, many Saw Palmetto supplements did not actually include any Saw Palmetto)
Therefore, when purchasing nutritional supplements, it is important to either know the specific track record of the company you are buying from and their professional standards (Nutramax, the makers of Cosequin, Dasuquin, Wellactin and General Nutrition Centers - GNC, use outside independent testing labs to verify their products for content and purity), or make sure the product is certified for purity and content by looking for a seal from one of the following independent certifying groups.
The two major human supplement certification groups are: