In many respects, 2005 is beginning to look a lot like 2004. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA; Rockville, MD) is still promising the “imminent” publication of good manufacturing practices (GMPs) for dietary supplements.
The more consumers learn and remember about brain and memory support supplements, the more likely they are to turn to them for a mental boost.
While the ban did eliminate a top-selling ingredient, in the long run it may have ended up helping, rather than hurting, the industry. As manufacturers have backed away from stimulant-based approaches to weight loss, other ingredients have rushed in to fill the void. Moreover, manufacturers are now asking for more clinical and safety data.
In October, a skeptical American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG; Washington, DC) task force issued a new set of HRT guidelines for women—guidelines that do not recommend botanicals. According to the ACOG, “Few nutritional supplements have been rigorously tested for safety and effectiveness.”
The dietary supplement industry is on an upward curve, spurred by more university research and scientific partnerships linking together U.S. and international developers, suppliers, and research centers. One result of this positive trajectory is that raw-material suppliers are now refining and introducing compounds backed by science that address the issues that matter most to consumers: cardiovascular health, antioxidant and immune support, healthy glucose levels, smooth digestion, weight control, energy and stress reduction, and detoxification.
Dietary supplements cannot improve memory or mental acuity, but several new products offer support for those hoping to keep their faculties sharp for years to come.
Once regarded as fringe therapies, dietary supplements and botanicals have become the subjects of serious cancer research, particularly at the National Institutes of Health’s (Bethesda, MD) National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS).