Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Buyer Beware: Can a Nutritional Supplement Reverse Aging?

Some hormone-like products are available over the counter and can be used without consulting a physician. The Institute discourages people from self-medicating with these products for a number of reasons.

  • First, these products are marketed as dietary supplements, and therefore are not regulated by the FDA in the same way as drugs. This is an important distinction because the requirements for marketing a dietary supplement are very different from those that apply to hormones marketed as drugs. Unlike drug manufacturers, a firm selling dietary supplements doesn’t need FDA approval of its products and doesn’t need to prove that its products are safe and effective before marketing.
  • Also, there is no specific guarantee that the substance in the container is authentic or that the indicated dosage is accurate. Because of these differing standards, hormone-like substances that are sold as dietary supplements may not be as thoroughly studied as drug products, and, therefore, the potential consequences of their use are not well understood or defined.
  • In addition, these over-the-counter products may interfere with other medications you are taking.

Therefore, the NIA (National Institute on Aging) does not recommend taking any supplement, including DHEA and melatonin, that is touted as an “anti-aging” remedy because no supplement has been proven to serve this purpose. The influence of these supplements on a person’s health is unknown, particularly when taken over a long period of time.