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Read the FDA’s Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary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