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Am J Public Health. 2015 Mar;105(3):478-85. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302348. Epub 2015 Jan 20.

Too little, too late: ineffective regulation of dietary supplements in the United States.

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Ranjani R. Starr, MPH, is with the Office of Public Health Studies, Department of Public Health Sciences, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu.


Millions of people in the United States consume dietary supplements hoping to maintain or improve their health; however, extensive research has failed to demonstrate the efficacy of numerous supplements in disease prevention. In addition, concerns about the safety of routine and high-dose supplementation have been raised. The Food and Drug Administration regulates dietary supplement quality, safety, and labeling, and the Federal Trade Commission monitors advertisements and marketing; still, vast enforcement challenges remain, and optimal governmental oversight has not been achieved. If the composition and quality of ingredients cannot be reliably ensured, the validity of research on dietary supplements is questionable. Moreover, the health of the US public is put at risk.

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