Lance Fontenot

Lance Fontenot, Ph.D., is an environmental toxicologist with more than 20 years of experience focused on toxicity assessment of chemicals for human and ecological health. My belief is that health can be optimized through proper nutrition and dietary supplements. However, there is a lack of translation of the scientific literature on dietary supplements to actionable health choices by consumers. My long-term interest is in using available scientific evidence on the effectiveness and safety of dietary supplements and applying that knowledge to common health issues. There is quite a bit of misinformation about the basic uses of dietary supplements and particularly on the safety of their use to human health. Many supplements are touted through extensive marketing campaigns to have life-changing health benefits with little regard to clinical benefits or to their potential adverse effects and interactions with prescription drugs. A basic tenant of toxicology, attributed to Paracelsus who is considered the Father of Toxicology, is “All substances are poisons; there is none which is not a poison. The right dose differentiates a poison from a remedy.” This means that the potential toxicity of a substance is related to the dose that you take and, accordingly, it is important to know the difference between a dose that will provide benefits and one that will cause adverse effects. It cannot be assumed that dietary supplements are safe, regardless of dose, just because they are “natural.” My goal is to raise awareness about dietary supplement safety that should be considered in the risk-benefit profile when selecting which supplements should be taken.