What’s the deal with supplements? There is so much misinformation across the internet, it sometimes feels impossible to get a clear understanding of what’s fact and what’s myth.
You’re searching for straightforward answers, and we’ve got ‘em.
Keep reading to learn the real truth behind supplements.
Myth 1: Dietary supplements are unregulated.
The Facts: There’s a little something called the FDA.
In mainstream media, you’ve probably read that dietary supplements are often unregulated in today’s fast-paced market. But the truth is that dietary supplements are subject to a host of regulations under the FDA, or the United States Food and Drug Administration, a federal agency of the Department of Health and Human Services. The FDA has a very specific regulatory structure that all dietary supplement manufacturers must adhere to, such as: 
- The clear and concise labeling of dietary supplements.
- Good manufacturing practices (GMPs).
- Premarket notification for new dietary ingredients.
- Control of/approval over structure/function claims.
- Manufacturing facility and equipment inspection, including specific record-keeping requirements.
- Enforcement of all of the above, including the issuance of warning letters and injunctions, to remove from the market illegal products and to sanction dietary supplements companies and facilities that are out of compliance with the law.
- Creation of the Office of Dietary Supplements within the National Institutes of Health to further ensure the safety of consumers by laying down the framework for the labeling of dietary supplements as a category of foods—and not drugs—that are “intended to supplement the diet.”
Myth 2: Dietary supplements are not safe.
The Facts: Supplements are one of the safer product categories on the market.
Did you know that, in 2016, more than 68% of US adults consumed dietary supplements to support their overall health and wellness? Here’s the truth—there are few in-between reports of adverse side effects due to the consumption of dietary supplements. 
How can you still stay safe, though?
- Make sure you need the supplement. Consult a trusted healthcare professional with any questions or concerns you have if you are considering adding a new supplement to your diet. If you are taking medications, pregnant, or breastfeeding, speak to your doctor first.
- Do your research. Credible supplements will have peer-reviewed scientific studies to back them up and support the efficacy of their ingredients. If the supplement supplier doesn’t cite their sources, they are probably “too good to be true.”
Myth 3: Products with unapproved drugs are still dietary supplements.
The Facts: They’re actually called “unapproved new drugs,” not supplements.
It’s rare, but it’s out there—big supplement companies that are non-compliant with the FDA. Supplement manufacturers should be responsible for following the law and producing high-quality products that serve consumer needs. A big part of this is the misconception that products containing undeclared or adulterated active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) are dangerous “dietary supplements.” 
Here’s the truth: even though these products are labeled as dietary supplements, they are legally classified as “illegal, tainted products being sold as dietary supplements.” Why? They will contain APIs that have been taken off the market due to safety concerns. 
What to do? Be wary, remain mindful, and always do your research first.
Myth 4: More is always better.
The Facts: More can sometimes be dangerous.
Although your body loves and craves essential nutrients, your body only needs so much to continue its normal functions.
Vitamin and mineral supplements are not safe at just any dosage, despite what consumers might have heard. That’s why manufacturers have the responsibility to include the Nutrition Facts Label on their products, which includes things like the serving size, calories, amount per serving, daily values, total sugars, added sugars, directions of use, and nutrients. For example, if the product’s suggested usage directs you to take two capsules, once per day, the serving size on the “Supplement Facts” panel will be two capsules.
When taking your supplements, remember to always carefully read the dosage information on the label, because larger than normal doses of some vitamins and minerals can be harmful.
According to the American Cancer Society, vitamin C can inhibit your body’s ability to absorb copper if taken in too large of a dose, and similar effects can occur with nutrients like phosphorus and vitamins A, D, and K. Toxic levels of things, like vitamin C or calcium, can even cause side effects like stomach discomfort or diarrhea. [2,3]
Myth 5: If the label says ‘natural,’ it must be safe.
The Facts: The term ‘natural’ isn’t always about safety or effectiveness.
The word “natural” is a great thing to keep an eye out for when searching for quality supplements, but it’s not the end-all-be-all when it comes to efficacy or safety.
To make sure your supplement is natural, clean, safe, AND effective, look for potency and simplicity. For example, Pattern Wellness’ Turmeric Curcumin prides itself on its 1300 mg formula made with high-potency 95% Standardized Curcuminoids, uniquely enhanced with BioPerine Black Pepper Extract to increase the efficiency of absorption.
Pattern Wellness was also founded on the principle that health and wellness begin from within, which means their line of all-natural products are all stripped back without the use of GMOs, dairy, preservatives, gluten, soy, or parabens.
Myth 6: It’s fine to take supplements with normal medicines.
The Facts: Supplements can contain active ingredients that may interfere with other pharmaceutical drugs or medications.
Supplements are not medications.
Unlike medications, supplements do not give a cure for illness or disease. Supplements, instead, are meant to reinforce the need for nutrients like vitamins and minerals and are beneficial for certain aspects of bodily health and wellness.
Supplements should never be used to replace prescribed medications, and are often only intended for use by healthy adults over the age of 18. Some supplements can contain active ingredients that might interfere with other drugs.
What to do? If you are taking herbal or dietary supplements and also are on prescription medications, discuss this with your doctor to avoid potential issues.
What’s the bottom line?
Stay safe and stay diligent!
Look for high-quality supplements that get it right the first time. But, where?
Look no further than right here. Pattern Wellness has scientifically backed supplements that are rigorously researched and tested for efficacy, safety, and cleanliness, so you can easily support your overall health. Check it out today!
- Israelsen, L., & Lampe, F. (2016). Three Myths About Dietary Supplements … and How Knowing the Right Answers Is Good for Your Integrative Medicine Practice. Integrative medicine (Encinitas, Calif.), 15(3), 20–24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4982643/
- What are dietary supplements? American Cancer Society. (2022). Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/treatment-types/complementary-and-integrative-medicine/dietary-supplements/intro.html
- Tsai, H.-H., Lin, H.-W., Simon Pickard, A., Tsai, H.-Y. and Mahady, G.B. (2012), Evaluation of documented drug interactions and contraindications associated with herbs and dietary supplements: a systematic literature review. International Journal of Clinical Practice, 66: 1056-1078. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1742-1241.2012.03008.x