Written by Cody M. Prescod, University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy Student, PharmD Candidate of 2021
When selecting a dietary supplement, choosing what product is best for you can often be a daunting and perplexing task. With an abundance of choices on the market, it can be difficult for anyone to decide what will work best for them, especially when many factors play a role in how these ingredients provide optimal outcomes.
Before you consider purchasing a dietary supplement, an important question to answer is, "why do you need to take a supplement?"
Dietary supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and enzymes. They are used to provide essential nutrients to those who need them to maintain or improve their overall health and specific disease states. Supplements come in many forms that include tablets, capsules, soft-gels, gel-caps, powders, and liquids, and depending on what formulation you prefer to take, affects how these agents work in your body. Ultimately, if you eat a balanced diet abundant in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, you will likely not require a dietary supplement.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics from 2017-2018, among U.S. adults aged 20 and older, 57.6% used at least one dietary supplement in the last 30 days, with use being higher among women than men, at 63.8% and 50.8% respectively.
- Dietary supplement use increased with age, overall, and among both genders, with prevalence being highest among women aged 60 and over at 80.2%.
- The use of two or more dietary supplements increased with age, while the percentage of adults not using any dietary supplement decreased with age.
- The most common types of dietary supplements used by all age groups were multivitamin-mineral supplements, followed by vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acid supplements.
- From 2007 through 2018, the prevalence of dietary supplement use increased in all age groups of U.S. adults.
Why You Should Choose Pharmaceutical-Grade Supplements
If you have a restricted diet or a specific medical deficiency, a dietary supplement can be very beneficial for your overall health. But before you start your search, it is important to note that not all supplements are created equally.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not possess the authority to review dietary supplement products for safety and effectiveness before they hit the market. Further, manufacturers and distributors are fully responsible for evaluating their products' safety and effectiveness to ensure that they meet the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA 1994) and the standards of FDA regulations. Because of this, some retail products have been adulterated, mislabeled, or falsely advertised throughout the years.
Pharmaceutical-grade supplements are produced in a manner to obtain the purest form of the nutrient and ensure maximum absorption.
In comparison, pharmaceutical-grade supplements are synthesized in facilities that are without a doubt compliant with the FDA's current good manufacturing practices (cGMP). Often, these supplements undergo rigorous testing during production to ensure the purity and quality of all products marketed for sale. Additionally, pharmaceutical-grade supplements are expected to contain the highest amount of active ingredients while reducing the addition of fillers that provide no additional nutritional value.
While some companies go even further and opt into the United States Pharmacopeia's (USP) Dietary Supplement Verification Program, a voluntary program open to manufacturers that tests and audits voluntarily submitted products against science-based quality standards and federally recognized USP National Formulary standards of consistency, performance, potency, purity, and quality and FDA cGMP, quality and assurance testing is not required for supplement products by law or regulation.
Where to Find Pharmaceutical-Grade Vitamins & Supplements Online
Our pharmacy offers its own line of pharmaceutical-grade vitamins and minerals and physician-trusted brands like Orthomolecular Products. Visit us in-store to talk about which supplements are best for your health, or visit our online store to order and ship products directly to your door!
Connect with Us
If you have any questions or would like additional information about the pharmacy, please contact us Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, excluding all major holidays.
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