Dietary Supplements for Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer?
(Thursday, June 23, 2022)
An analysis conducted by the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) found that dietary supplements are not effective in preventing or reducing the incidence of cardiovascular disease and cancer, and that supplements rich in beta carotene are indeed more harmful than beneficial. These conclusions, based on the pooled analysis of published clinical trial results, raise some doubts both in favor and against the use of supplements which might have little effect on the decisions made by the average consumers about these supplements. Dietary supplements are consumed by more than half of the US adults and hence are highly trusted products. The claims made for these products are based on history of use, published or unpublished studies of questionable quality, and anecdotal evidence. Almost all dietary supplements contain well established ingredients. Clinical trials conducted with dietary supplements do not require approval by the FDA or even an IRB. Hence, the quality of the data generated at these trials is rarely independently verified. Most such trials are conducted by academic centers with limited resources and full clinical study reports containing all the data are rare. The analysis by USPSTF relied on such published data. Hence, due to the above issues, any conclusions drawn, both in favor and against the use of supplements, can be contested. The USPSTF recommendations would hence be easily challenged by the manufacturers and sellers of these supplements and get drowned in the deluge of other information contradictory to the recommendations that are available on the internet. In the end, the consumers would need to make their own decisions based on the information available to them. Overall, the consumption of these supplements will likely not be affected by this report.
Dr. Mukesh Kumar
Founder & CEO, FDAMap
Linkedin: Mukesh Kumar, PhD, RAC