Has Our Supplement Obsession Gone Too Far?

Nowadays, it seems like there’s a product to fix all of your problems. Energy levels running on empty? Sprinkle some dust into your smoothie for a quick boost! Supplements and vitamins have been around forever but weren’t widely discussed until around 1912. Fast-forward to when the Food and Drug Administration passed the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 to enforce some form of regulation and give consumers better “access to current and accurate information about supplements.” Shortly after this went into effect, Perricone MD started introducing science-based supplements to the market in 1999. It wasn’t until Moon Juice founder Amanda Chantal Bacon made some noise with her blends of adaptogenic superherb dusts that people started viewing supplements as an enhancement for food.

Now dietary supplements are practically everywhere in the form of pills, powders, potions… You name it! They’re all available at our fingertips, whether we choose to head to the nearest drugstore or supermarket IRL or online shop. The FDA defines supplements as “a product intended for ingestion that contains a ‘dietary ingredient’ intended to add further nutritional value to (supplement) the diet.” According to the Nutrition Business Journal, the supplement industry was worth an estimated $37 billion in 2015 and continues to grow at a rapid pace. As gut health becomes increasingly more important to the mainstream, it’s important for consumers to know which companies they can trust since it’s a self-regulated field that doesn’t require manufacturers to acquire approval from the FDA. The focus is finally veering away from diets as our attention switches to the internal mechanics.

Paula Simpson, a holistic nutritionist, biochemist, and co-founder of Zea Skin Solutions, says that this can be credited to the “cultural shift in how people want to take care of themselves, including their outer appearance.” She adds, “The notion of ‘hope in a jar’ is far behind us, as more people are listening to connection between what they consume and the effect it may have on their outer appearance. I don’t see this as hype or a trend but a shift in how we care about our health, vitality, and appearance.”