Dietary supplements are defined as a product taken by mouth that contains a supplementary ingredient to an every day diet. The ingredients in these products include vitamins, minerals, herbs and botanical, amino acids and even substances like enzymes, organ tissues, glandular, and metabolites. Dietary supplements can be extracts or concentrates and can be contained in tablets, capsules, soft-gels, gelcap’s, liquids, and powders.
If the dietary supplements are contained in bars they must have the nutritional information included on them and must list if it was intended as a replacement for a meal. These dietary supplements are usually covered under “food” and not “drugs” and that can leave a large margin for error, at least where “dosage” and ingredient is concerned. Here are a few things to watch out for with dietary supplements.
- Regulations require a firm to be responsible for determining if these dietary supplements are safe and if they adequately represent the claims made about them and that it is not false or misleading. This also circumvents the needed approval by the Food and Drug Administration and that means that the company does not need to provide evidence that their product actually works. It is important as a consumer to remember that fantastical claims are just that; fantastical.
- The only time a manufacturer needs to notify the FDA is when they want to market a new dietary ingredient. The manufacturer must demonstrate to FDA why the ingredient is expected to be safe for use in a dietary supplement unless it is a food substance.
- Ingredients are listed in the supplemental facts. The panel must list “other ingredient”. The types of ingredients include the source of the dietary supplements. The ingredient listed must show its dietary contribution such as vitamin C from whatever product. Processing aids like gelatin, starches, and colors must be listed as well.
- Since the FDA does not regulate these products, it means that they do not keep a list of the manufacturers of these dietary supplements. You can contact the manufacturer directly by calling the number on the label. They can give you the address of the manufacturer and the address where the product was made.
- The unregulated nature of these products makes it very important to become informed before purchasing them. It is difficult to know what information is reliable and what is not, consumers may want to contact the manufacturer. It is important to follow sound buying logic and to understand that miracle pills do not exist supplements are supposed to supplement something missing from your diet, not to cure your athlete’s foot.
Dietary supplements are everywhere these days, and with their unregulated nature it is important to make sure that these dietary supplements might not be the item you think they are. This means that the companies may make fantastical claims that these products do wonderful things when all they are is a vitamin supplement from a little known plant. These usually have a large price tag as well why take a generic vitamin when you could be taking rose hips that do the same thing for twice as much? Dietary supplements should be used cautiously and sparingly because no one knows the full effect that these “foods” can have on any one person not to mention quite a few people have plant allergies.
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