Have you got a cupboard full of vitamin bottles unopened or half full because you thought you were buying the right
Did you read the label?
Did you buy it on the internet but didn't have the resources to do your own research first?
Do you know what the definition of a dietary supplement is anyway?
Here are some good tips.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA ) "today's dietary supplements are not only vitamins and minerals. They also include other less-familiar substances such as herbals, botanicals, amino acids, enzymes and animal
1. What should you look for when buying a natural dietary supplement on the internet?
a. The first fact you should know is that natural dietary supplements are not pre-approved by The Government for safety or effectiveness. This is different to drugs which go through clinical trials and take years before coming on to the market.
b. The manufacturer is by law responsible for ensuring their product is safe.
This view is reinforced by this comment in the U.S. Food and Drug administration paper called "FDA's Consumer Health
Information for Better Nutrition Initiative."
"In 1994, Congress enacted the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). Under DSHEA, dietary supplements
do not need pre-market approval from FDA. But a firm is responsible for ensuring that its product is safe and that any claims about it are substantiated by adequate evidence to show that they are not false or misleading. Marketers of dietary
supplements may make certain claims about the health benefits of their products, including descriptions of the supplement's
effects on the structure or a function of the body (e.g., "helps support cartilage and joint function"). In addition, dietary supplements may be marketed with qualified health claims. Neither DSHEA nor litigation has changed the well-established principle that a dietary supplement is subject to regulation by FDA as a drug if it is promoted to treat, prevent, or cure a disease or condition." The last sentence is most important because it would change your view as to the treatment of the dietary supplement by the FDA.
2. Natural Dietary supplements might look like medicines when you see the packaging and marketing but the only way to be
sure is to look for the Supplement Facts Label. So a website needs to give you information (just as if you were looking at the product in the shop) on the following:
b. Total fat with a breakdown of saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat and Monosaturated fat.
c. What vitamins, minerals, etc are in the product?
d. A list of the ingredients.
From the 1st January 2006, the FDA requires dietary supplements (68FR41434) to have trans fatty acids declared on the
Nutrition label. They should be listed as "trans fat" or "Trans" on a separate line under the listing of saturated fat in the nutrition label and expressed as grams per serving.
If the information on the product isn't there or it's in language you don't understand contact the manufacturer or distributor.
However make sure you have checked the F.A.Q's first and use their "Contact Me" navigation tab as you will then go through
to the dedicated contact person. This will save you time.
3. A website will have a statement on it similar to this example:
"The products and the claims made about specific products on or through this site have not been evaluated by the United
States Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the
There are important points in this statement to note. They are:
a. The product is "not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease."
b. The information is for information purposes only not a substitute for advice from a physician or other Healthcare
c. You should not use this information "for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem."
d. You should consult a healthcare professional before starting "any diet, exercise or supplementation program."
So if you find this information is not on the website or there are claims that appear to good to be true - be wary. Check the website out before you buy.
All the dietary supplement websites I refer to in my website do to my knowledge comply with the information in this article.