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Dietary Supplements

SAA Members can read about dietary supplements in our Spring 2016 issue of Spondylitis Plus

Read Spondylitis Plus

Before trying any supplements, it is important to discuss the product with your doctor and/or a pharmacist to help determine its safety and effectiveness in your treatment plan. Dietary supplements are not regulated under the same rules as food products and medications, and some dietary supplement manufacturers take advantage of the situation by promoting false product claims.

SAA receives no government funding and relies on the generous donations from individuals to create and maintain the programs and services aimed at improving the futures of the 2.7 million Americans affected by spondylitis.

What Is a Dietary Supplement?

A dietary supplement is a product taken by mouth that contains a "dietary ingredient" intended to supplement the diet. Ingredients may include vitamins, minerals, herbs, other botanicals, amino acids, and substances like enzymes, organ tissues, glandulars, and metabolites. Supplements may be found in different forms, like extracts, concentrates, tablets, capsules, softgels, gelcaps, liquids, bars, or powders. Information on these packaging labels must not represent the product as a conventional food or a sole item of a meal or diet.

How Are They Regulated?

Read the FDA’s Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues.

More from the FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates dietary supplements under a different set of regulations than those covering "conventional" foods and drug products (prescription and over-the-counter).

Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), dietary supplement manufacturers are responsible for making sure that the dietary supplements are safe before they are marketed. The FDA is responsible for taking action against any unsafe dietary supplement product after it reaches the market.

Oftentimes, manufacturers do not need to register with the FDA or get FDA approval before producing or selling dietary supplements; manufacturers must make sure that product label information is truthful and not misleading. The FDA intends to issue updated regulations on good manufacturing practices to ensure purity, quality, and strength of dietary supplements.

Related Resources

From the FDA

Label Claims for Conventional Foods and Dietary Supplements

Posted February 2017

Among the claims that can be used on food and dietary supplement labels are three categories of claims that are defined by statute and/or...

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From the FDA

Tips for Dietary Supplement Users

Posted February 2017

FDA, as well as health professionals and their organizations, receive many inquiries each year from consumers seeking health-related information, especially about dietary supplements. Clearly...

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From the FDA

Dietary Supplements

Posted February 2017

FDA regulates both finished dietary supplement products and dietary ingredients. FDA regulates dietary supplements under a different set of regulations than those covering "conventional" foods and drug products. Under...

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