Trouble in the dietary supplement manufacturing industry may leave consumers wondering which products are safe. You can take some steps to minimize your risk:
• Check to see if the brand has been involved in a recall or has gotten a warning letter from the FDA. These can be found by searching the FDA website, fda.gov.
• ConsumerLab.com, an independent group that tests dietary supplements, has a wealth of information on its website. (Some information is free, but detailed results of its testing of brand-name supplements are accessible only to members. Membership is available for less than $3 a month.)
• Several groups certify dietary supplement firms in good manufacturing practices, including the Natural Products Association, one of the industry’s largest trade groups. To find out which firms have met the group’s criteria, visit its website at npainfo.org.
• Consider the scientific evidence. Are there large double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials showing the supplement is safe and effective? Several places to look for this kind of evidence are pubmed.gov, which lists published medical research, and cochrane.org, which offers reviews of published research.
— Trine Tsouderos, Chicago Tribune