Buy Health Supplements Certified by “a Trusted Third Party” Like U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP)

According to a Consumer Reports article, “USP is a nonprofit organization that sets what CR experts say are the most widely accepted standards for supplements.” Note that with the services of private organizations such as USP, attentive consumers can be safe without the heavy hand of government regulators.

(p. D6) . . . most supplements have not been rigorously tested for safety or effectiveness, said Dr. JoAnn Manson, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

. . .

But, she said, there are some instances where taking a supplement may improve your health. Here are some of the main ones.

If a blood test reveals that your body is low in a particular vitamin or mineral, such as vitamin D or iron, supplements can be “essential” in correcting that deficiency, said Dr. Pieter Cohen, an internist at Cambridge Health Alliance in Somerville, Mass.

. . .

Most older adults usually get enough nutrition from their food. But as you age, your requirements for some nutrients increase while your ability to absorb them and your appetite can diminish, so your doctor may recommend a supplement. Older adults may have trouble absorbing vitamin B12, for example. And you may need a calcium and vitamin D supplement if you’re at risk for bone loss, Dr. Manson said.

. . .

Several recent trials have also found that multivitamins may improve memory and slow cognitive decline in older adults, though more research is needed, Dr. Manson said.

And there’s some evidence that taking a supplement that contains vitamins C and E, zinc, copper, lutein and zeaxanthin (called an AREDS supplement) can slow vision loss for those with age-related macular degeneration, Dr. Manson said.

. . .

If you do purchase supplements, look for a certification seal from a trusted third party organization such as the U.S. Pharmacopeia or NSF, which confirm that the products contain the ingredients listed on the label.

For the full story see:

Alice Callahan. “Ask Well: Are Any Supplements Proven To Benefit Health?.” The New York Times (Tuesday, November 7, 2023 [sic]): D6.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Oct. 31, 2023, and has the title “Ask Well: Should I Be Taking Supplements?” Where there is a difference in wording between the versions, the passages quoted above follow the online version.)

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