Is a supplement still a supplement if it prevents, treats or cures?

March 2012, Warren Matthews

Summary

This was a question put to the audience at a recent industry conference at Anaheim, California (March 2012) by one of the invited speakers Bill Sardi.  The rationale for his question arose from the fact that the FDA and most other authorities throughout the world do not allow...

This was a question put to the audience at a recent industry conference at Anaheim, California (March 2012) by one of the invited speakers Bill Sardi.  The rationale for his question arose from the fact that the FDA and most other authorities throughout the world do not allow claims that a supplement or natural ingredient will prevent, treat or cure a disease or illness.

So, what happens if there is irrefutable evidence that a supplement ingredient does those things?  Frequently new evidence comes up somewhere that supports this or that ingredient does prevent, treat or cure illnesses!  Some of the evidence has been around for a long time…for example, we all know that Vitamin C prevents scurvy but it would be illegal to make a claim to that effect as that would make Vitamin C a drug!

Bill Sardi is known in the dietary supplement industry for his well-researched writings on a variety of subjects and the promotion of a brand of resveratrol supplements.  He raised this matter at the conference because he was frustrated from being prevented by the FDA to carry out a clinical study on resveratrol with Duke University.  The main focus of the study was to consider the efficacy of resveratrol on aged macular degeneration.  However, because it was essentially a disease prevention study the FDA refused approval for it to proceed!

This creates somewhat of a quandary for manufactures/developers of dietary supplements who want to prove the efficacy of a product or ingredient.  We have started investigating ways in which a clinical study could be designed to help prove the efficacy of Total Balance.  It is not an easy thing to do as there are many barriers to overcome such as the one which Bill Sardi has experienced…but, it will happen…although it won’t be any time soon.

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