Prohibited, unlisted, even dangerous ingredients turn up in dietary supplements

Beware of inflated claims. If a product sounds too good to be true, it probably is, Cohen says. DSHEA allows supplement companies to make “structure/function” claims, that suggest, for instance, that the product “supports the immune system.” Cohen says you’re better off avoiding products that make such claims, especially if they seem to cross the line into suggesting that they can treat or prevent a medical condition. Under DSHEA, Lurie says, “it’s okay to say the product ‘builds strong bones.’ It’s not okay to say it ‘prevents osteoporosis.’ ” This year, the FDA sent warning letters to 10 supplement companies that were claiming their products could cure, treat, mitigate or prevent depression and other mental health disorders.

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