Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Dietary Supplements: In Reality, Two Different Industries

US Marshals recently stormed the offices of LG Sciences LLC of Brighton, Michigan, to seize more than $1.3 million worth of dietary supplements. Reading about this matter really shows you how the dietary supplement industry is composed of two, almost completely different types of industries -- companies that follow the laws regarding product safety and health, and companies in what is primarily the body-building and "energy" categories that run on the fringe. And, sometimes they cross the line.

In this case, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it asked the U.S. Marshals to seize the products because they contain unapproved food additives or new dietary ingredients. These products were sold online and in retail stores as body builders under the names "Methyl 1-D," "Methyl 1-D XL," and "Formadrol Extreme XL."

The FDA said the products had been tested and found to contain one or more unapproved food additives or new dietary ingredients for which there is inadequate information to provide reasonable assurance that they do not present "a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury." Legal Gear, the predecessor of LG Sciences, had been warned in 2006 to cease distribution of another product that was also marketed as a dietary supplement, but was actually an unapproved new drug containing synthetic steroids. So, it appears the company has had ample warning.

For some reason, supplements in the body-builder marketplace seem to always be poised on the edge of what is allowed, and what isn't. Body builders, people who are so concerned with the appearance of their bodies, seem to care less about their health. Unscrupulous manufacturers (and importers, often from China) take advantage of this market by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on glossy advertising in certain publications to push these risky products with often unsubstantiated claims.

This flies in the face of the other supplement industry, the one where you buy your quality vitamins, minerals and herbs, through stores, Internet sites and doctors' offices.


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