Background Information: Dietary Supplements – Consumer

What is a dietary supplement?

As defined by Congress in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, which became law in 1994, a dietary supplement is a product ( early than tobacco ) that

  • is intended to supplement the diet;
  • contains one or more dietary ingredients (including vitamins; minerals; herbs or other botanicals; amino acids; and other substances) or their constituents;
  • is intended to be taken by mouth as a pill, capsule, tablet, or liquid; and
  • is labeled on the front panel as being a dietary supplement.

What is a new dietary ingredient?

A new dietary ingredient is a dietary ingredient that was not sold in the United States in a dietary supplement before October 15, 1994. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration ( FDA ) requires specific safety information external link disclaimer from a manufacturer intending to market a dietary supplement containing a new dietary ingredient. This information is not required for older dietary addendum ingredients .

Are dietary supplements different from foods and drugs?

Although dietary supplements are regulated by the FDA as foods, they are regulated differently from other foods and from drugs. Whether a intersection is classified as a dietary supplement, conventional food, or drug is based on its intended use. Most much, classification as a dietary supplement is determined by the information that the manufacturer provides on the intersection label or in accompany literature, although many food and dietary supplement product labels do not include this information .

What claims can manufacturers make for dietary supplements and drugs?

The types of claims that can be made on the labels of dietary supplements and drugs differ. Drug manufacturers may claim that their product will diagnose, bring around, mitigate, treat, or prevent a disease. such claims may not legally be made for dietary supplements.

The label of a dietary accessory or food intersection may contain one of three types of claims external link disclaimer : a health claim, food content claim, or structure/function claim. Health claims describe a relationship between a food, food part, or dietary supplement ingredient, and reducing risk of a disease or health-related condition. Nutrient contented claims describe the relative come of a nutrient or dietary kernel in a product. A structure/function call is a affirmation describing how a product may affect the organs or systems of the soundbox and it can not mention any particular disease. Structure/function claims do not require FDA approval but the manufacturer must provide FDA with the text of the claim within 30 days of putting the product on the market. Product labels containing such claims must besides include a disavowal that reads, “ This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This merchandise is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. ”

How does FDA regulate dietary supplements?

In summation to regulating label claims, FDA regulates dietary supplements in early ways. supplement ingredients sold in the United States before October 15, 1994, are not required to be reviewed by FDA for their condom before they are marketed because they are presumed to be safe based on their history of use by humans. For a fresh dietary ingredient ( one not sold as a dietary append before 1994 ) the manufacturer must notify FDA of its captive to market a dietary supplement containing the fresh dietary component and provide information on how it determined that reasonable evidence exists for safe homo habit of the intersection. FDA can either refuse to allow raw ingredients into or remove existing ingredients from the marketplace for base hit reasons .
Unlike drug products, there are no provisions in the law for FDA to “ approve ” dietary supplements for safety or effectiveness before they reach the consumer. once a dietary append is marketed, FDA has to prove that the intersection is not safe in order to restrict its use or remove it from the market. In contrast, before being allowed to market a drug product, manufacturers must obtain FDA blessing by providing convincing attest that it is both safe and effective .
The label of a dietary supplement product is required to be truthful and not misleading. If the pronounce does not meet this requirement, FDA may remove the merchandise from the marketplace or take other allow actions .

What information is required on a dietary supplement label?

FDA requires that certain data appear on the dietary append pronounce :
General information

  • Name of product (including the word “supplement” or a statement that the product is a supplement)
  • Net quantity of contents
  • Name and place of business of manufacturer, packer, or distributor
  • Directions for use

Supplement Facts panel

  • Serving size, list of dietary ingredients, amount per serving size (by weight), percent of Daily Value (%DV), if established
  • If the dietary ingredient is a botanical, the scientific name of the plant or the common or usual name standardized in the reference Herbs of Commerce (1992 edition) and the name of the plant part used
  • If the dietary ingredient is a proprietary blend (i.e., a blend exclusive to the manufacturer), the total weight of the blend and the components of the blend in order of predominance by weight

Other ingredients

  • Nondietary ingredients such as fillers, artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors, or binders; listed by weight in descending order of predominance and by common name or proprietary blend

The pronounce of the append may contain a cautionary affirmation but the lack of a admonitory affirmation does not mean that no adverse effects are associated with the product .

Does a label indicate the quality of a dietary supplement product?

It is unmanageable to determine the quality of a dietary accessory intersection from its pronounce. The degree of timbre control depends on the manufacturer, the supplier, and others in the production process .
In 2007, the FDA issued good Manufacturing Practices ( GMPs ) for dietary supplements, a hardened of requirements and expectations by which dietary supplements must be manufactured, cook, and stored to ensure choice. Manufacturers are now expected to guarantee the identity, honor, military capability, and composing of their dietary supplements. For example, the GMPs aim to prevent the inclusion of the wrong ingredients, the accession of besides much or besides small of a dietary ingredient, the hypothesis of contaminant ( by pesticides, heavy metals such as leash, bacteria, etc. ), and the improper box and tag of a product .

Are dietary supplements standardized?

calibration is a procedure that manufacturers may use to ensure batch-to-batch consistency of their products. In some cases, standardization involves identifying particular chemicals ( known as markers ) that can be used to manufacture a consistent merchandise. The standardization march can besides provide a measure of quality control .
dietary supplements are not required to be standardized in the United States. In fact, no legal or regulative definition exists in the United States for standardization as it applies to dietary supplements. Because of this, the term “ calibration ” may mean many different things. Some manufacturers use the term standardization incorrectly to refer to uniform manufacture practices ; following a recipe is not sufficient for a merchandise to be called standardize. consequently, the presence of the word “ exchangeable ” on a accessory label does not necessarily indicate intersection quality .

What methods are used to evaluate the health benefits and safety of a dietary supplement?

dietary supplements are not required by union law to be tested for base hit and effectiveness before they are marketed, so the amount of scientific evidence available for versatile supplement ingredients varies wide. Some ingredients in dietary supplements have been cautiously evaluated. For exercise, scientists know that calcium and vitamin D are authoritative for keeping bones solid and reducing bone loss. early supplements, such as many herb tea products, need more report to determine their value.

Scientists can use several approaches to evaluate dietary supplements for their potential health benefits and risks. They may investigate history of habit, lead lab studies using cell or tissue cultures, and experiment with animals. Studies on people ( for example, individual sheath reports, experimental studies, and clinical trials ) provide the most direct evidence of a dietary supplement ‘s effects on health and patterns of manipulation .

What are some additional sources of information on dietary supplements?

aesculapian libraries are one beginning of information about dietary supplements. Others include Web-based resources such as PubMed and FDA external link disclaimer. For general information on botanicals and their habit as dietary supplements please see Background Information About Botanical Dietary Supplements .


This fact sail by the National Institutes of Health ( NIH ) Office of Dietary Supplements ( ODS ) provides information that should not take the place of checkup advice. We encourage you to talk to your healthcare providers ( repair, registered dietician, pharmacist, etc. ) about your matter to in, questions about, or manipulation of dietary supplements and what may be best for your overall health. Any mention in this publication of a specific product or service, or recommendation from an arrangement or master club, does not represent an sanction by ODS of that merchandise, service, or expert advice .

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