In part 2 of this Exclusive Interview, Laura Shane-McWhorter talks with Diabetes in Control Publisher Steve Freed during the AACE 2018 convention in Boston, MA about determining the quality of supplements and where to get them.
Laura Shane-McWhorter, PharmD, BCPS, BC-ADM, CDE, FASCP, FAADE is a professor at the University of Utah.
Transcript of this video segment:
Freed: So, in deciding to take a nutritional supplement, I go to the store and there are 32 different brands. Now I can go on the Internet and buy it from somebody’s basement who put it together in capsules. How do you know, because it is not really regulated, the quality of the product that you are getting? So, if someone says, “Can I take Gymnema Sylvestre?” You don’t want to say just, “Yes.” You want to say, “It depends on where you get it.” So, how do you know where to get products that you as a medical professional can say to your patient, “You need to go here if you want to use it.”
Shane-McWhorter: I think the best way to answer that is to think about different types of agencies that will evaluate the content of the product and evaluate the quality of the content in the ingredients. I think that there are certain regulatory agencies that United States Pharmacopeia (USP) can verify the supplements and tell, for instance, whether or not that product actually contains what it says on the label. But in evaluating the product, the USP also verifies whether or not that product is free of microbes, for instance, and also, whether or not it dissolves appropriately. It doesn’t verify that it is safe nor effective but at least we know that, that product really is something that would be what it says on the label.
Freed: What are some examples of where you can go because I remember hearing about a company that would basically review your product and do a survey on your product and then they charged you money. Therefore, if you want to be OK’d, you got to pay us a fee and we will give you a label that you put on your bottle that says we approved it. So, if you want to validate something, where do you go?
Shane-McWhorter: Well, I think the main thing is that most of the time, from my understanding, is that there probably is going to be some sort of a fee to evaluate the product and I think that it is something that different agencies may do that. For instance, you may have something from consumer labs and I think there is going to be some sort of a charge to be able to do that. I don’t think that it is any different than what you see in the pharmaceutical industries where you are going to have somebody looking at quality assurance and looking at that sort of thing that is all part of that manufacturing process. I think that for a consumer, however, if they go with something like the USP then there is probably already some sort of a stamp or a label or emblem on a supplement that states that, that product is safer to take. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t other products out there that are safe but it just means that some things already have that built-in to the process.