What should I look for when buying supplements?

Rebecca S. Reeves
Nutrition & Dietetics
The FDA requires manufacturers of dietary supplements to provide the following information on product labels:
  1. Product name - must include the word “supplement”  or a statement that the product is a supplement,  the net quantity of contents,  directions for use and name and address of manufacturer or distributor.
  2. Supplement Facts panel - must include the serving size and percent of Daily Value, if established.  If the dietary ingredient is a botanical, the name and part of the plant used. If the plant is a proprietary blend, the total weight of the blend and the components of the blend in order of predominance by weight.
  3. Other ingredients - if fillers, artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors, or binders are used, they must be listed by weight in descending order of predominance and by common name or proprietary blend.
  4. The label of the supplement may contain a cautionary statement, but the lack of a cautionary statement does not mean that no adverse effects are associated with the product.

Continue Learning about Dietary Supplements

Dietary Supplements

Whether you're visiting the drug store, grocery or natural food shop you'll likely find an aisle where there are jars and bottles of things for you to put in your body that are neither foods nor medicines. Ranging from vitamins an...

d minerals to fiber and herbal remedies, these supplements are not regulated in the same way as either food or medicine. Some of them are backed by solid research, others are folk remedies or proprietary cures. If your diet does not include enough of certain vitamins or minerals, a supplement may be a good idea. Natural treatment for conditions like constipation may be effective. But because these substances are unregulated, it is always a good idea to educate yourself about the products and to use common sense when taking them. This is even more true if you are pregnant or taking a medicine that may be affected by supplements.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.