In a recent survey, 40% of American adults reported taking vitamin/mineral supplements and 14% reported taking at least one herbal supplement. While some supplements can offer positive health benefits, there are just as many that may be considered dangerous. So where can you obtain accurate information?
According to the American Dietetic Association’s Nutrition and You: Trends 2000 survey, only 11% and 1% sought physicians and dietitians respectively as their source for nutrition guidance. In addition to television, newspapers, and magazines, the internet has become an overwhelming source for those seeking nutrition information. The reliability of the information presented on an internet site is largely determined by the site’s creators. Who are the authors? What are their credentials? Who do they work for? Do they have anything to gain by “selling” you on their point of view? Always keep in mind that the information presented on the internet is not governed by ANY regulatory agency and therefore not always reliable.
When investigating a supplement on the internet, it is best not to rely on their site for information regarding it. They may just be trying to sell their product and may be misinterpreting scientific studies (either intentionally or due to lack of knowledge) or they may not be relying on any type of scientific evidence at all. Do a little research of your own. Rely on information from known medical/nutritional/scientific organizations or government agencies; such as the American Medical Association, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, National Institutes of Health, National Academies of Science, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Here are two extremely reputable sites on supplement use (to get you started): www.eatright.org (site of the American Dietetic Association) and www.fda.gov (site of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration)