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Natural Awakenings Central New Jersey

What’s in Your Bottle?

by Dr. Karin Derfuss

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hile nutritional supplements are a booming business, they are completely unregulated. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulates and controls the production and sale of pharmaceutical products, but they do not provide the same protection for nutritional supplements. Unfortunately, a company can put anything in a bottle, make any claims for its effectiveness and sell it.

The National Institutes of Health Of ce of Dietary Supplements states that “Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, the dietary supplement manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that a dietary supplement is safe before it is marketed. FDA is responsible for taking action against any unsafe dietary supplement product after it reaches the market.” This policy clearly states that it is left up to the manufacturer to monitor their products. This certainly does not make the consumer feel confident that every product being sold will be of excellent quality.

There have been reports over the years that product quality can vary not only from one manufacturer to another, but may also from one batch to the next. Proprietary formulas may be the most difficult to evaluate because the company’s formulas are a secret and they may not list all the ingredients or the quantities of the ingredients. This could also pose a significant problem with allergic reactions or drug interactions.

A good indicator of a quality product is a GMP Certified seal. The most reputable manufacturers will have independent studies and product evaluations performed on their products. Look for this in the product advertising or on the product label. Other useful resources include websites like and Your doctor and veterinarian can also help guide you to reputable products and brands. Remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Dr. Karin Derfuss graduated from Cook College (Rutgers University) before attending Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine. She is IVAS certified in veterinary acupuncture and continues her integrative studies through IVAS, CIVT and the Chi Institute.

Dr. Derfuss practices at the Branchburg Animal Hospital, 1167 Route 28, Branchburg. 908-707-0045. Facebook: BranchburgAnimalHospital.

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