According to the FDA, a drug is a substance (other than nutrients) intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or to affect the structure or function of the body. Seems clear enough -- that is, until politics and big money get involved.
With the aid of a 1994 law crafted by Senators Orrin Hatch and Tom Harkin, the mega-billion dollar supplements industry has done a splendid job of obfuscating this definition. By taking advantage of consumer's scientific naïveté and some legislative doublespeak, the supplements industry has successfully perpetuated the myth that what it is selling is drug free and safe. This couldn't be more wrong.
It's a timely topic, given that the U.S. Army is now investigating whether the deaths of two young soldiers last year were related to the "dietary supplements" called Jack3d and OxyElite Pro, which they had taken.
But what the soldiers actually took is an amphetamine-like synthetic chemical called dimethylamylamine, a stimulant with multiple cardiovascular and central nervous system effects. It alters the function of the body -- so it's a drug. It is also a banned doping agent used by athletes, but you can buy it at the Vitamin Shoppe or GNC.
Friday, March 16, 2012
The American Spectator : When Is a Drug a Drug?