December 14, 2013
Skip the Supplements (PAUL A. OFFIT and SARAH ERUSH, 12/14/13, NY Times)
Posted by Orrin Judd at December 14, 2013 4:52 PM
PARENTS whose children are admitted to our hospital occasionally bring along something extra to help with their care: dietary supplements, like St. John's wort to ameliorate mild depression or probiotics for better health.Here's the problem: The Joint Commission, which is responsible for hospital accreditation in the United States, requires that dietary supplements be treated like drugs. It makes sense: Vitamins, amino acids, herbs, minerals and other botanicals have pharmacological effects. So they are drugs.But the Food and Drug Administration doesn't regulate dietary supplements as drugs -- they aren't tested for safety and efficacy before they're sold. [...]Parents of children admitted to our hospital often request that we continue treating their child with dietary supplements because they believe in them, even if that belief isn't supported by evidence.