The vitamin, mineral and nutritional supplement industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. Millions of people take these supplements, from elite level athletes and sport and exercise enthusiasts, who hope to further their athletic aspirations or achieve better bodies, to everyday men and women seeking to defy the ageing process or who are generally interested in healthy living and well-being.
It’s big business. The supplements industry cleared US$32 billion in revenue in 2012, a figure which is projected by the Nutritional Business Journal to increase to $60 billion by 2021. In UK sales are expected to rise from some £670m (US$1 billion) to £786m (US$1.2 billion) by 2018.
However, while growing at a rapid pace, the supplements industry is highly under-regulated. Indeed, its growth has been facilitated in large part by the ease at which supplements may be produced and sold, and their widespread availability in general health stores, pharmacies, and the internet among other places.