Tread lightly with supplements, PhD cautions

22 August 2011

supplementNutritional supplements have become all the rage at gyms and sports clubs. But their infl ux into the country has been so out of the blue that lawmakers and watchdogs have not yet caught up. And for now, these supplements fall in the no-man's land between the legislation that covers food and that covering medicine, cautions Gary Gabriels, a doctoral student and principal technical offi cer in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology, in a new paper, Will the new Consumer Protection Act prevent harm to nutritional supplement users?, published in the South African Medical Journal.

Not only do some of these supplements contain banned substances - so take heed, sports folk - but the promises on the labels haven't always been peer-reviewed, according to Gabriels. His bottom line: the Consumer Protection Act should promote greater levels of policy development, regulatory enforcement and consumer education on South Africa's booming supplement industry.

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