Most Americans are in favour of tighter quality control for the burgeoning dietary supplement industry.

An analysis of six national surveys on Americans’ attitudes to dietary supplements shows that about 80% favour giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) greater authority over manufacturers.

The review in the Archives of Internal Medicine survey come as the US government is set to issue new regulations for the industry. After years of growing concerns over quality, safety and the unregulated nature of the US market, the FDA has developed manufacturing rules for the industry. 

The journal said that little is known about how Americans view government regulation of popular supplements such as St. John’s wort, ginseng and creatine.

The last set of regulations on the food supplement industry was in 1994 with the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). DSHEA made manufacturers responsible for testing the safety of supplements before marketing them and for ensuring that the product contents match what is on the label. Manufacturers can also make certain claims about a product’s health-promoting effects without FDA approval.
The survey said that nearly half of Americans regularly use some type of supplement, including vitamins and minerals. About 18% regularly use botanicals such as echinacea and ginseng, amino acids such as creatine, or synthetic hormones. Overall, 85% of regular users said dietary supplements promote good health and well being.