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FDA 101: Dietary Supplements

Be a Safe and Informed Consumer

  • Let your health care professional advise you on sorting reliable information from questionable information.
  • Contact the manufacturer for information about the product you intend to use.
  • Be aware that some supplement ingredients, including nutrients and plant components, can be toxic. Also, some ingredients and products can be harmful when consumed in high amounts, when taken for a long time, or when used in combination with certain other drugs, substances, or foods.
  • Do not self-diagnose any health condition. Work with health care professionals to determine how best to achieve optimal health.
  • Do not substitute a dietary supplement for a prescription medicine or therapy, or for the variety of foods important to a healthful diet.
  • Do not assume that the term "natural" in relation to a product ensures that the product is wholesome or safe.
  • Be wary of hype and headlines. Sound health advice is generally based upon research over time, not a single study.
  • Learn to spot false claims. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

 

Report Problems

Adverse effects with dietary supplements should be reported to FDA as soon as possible. If you experience such an adverse effect, contact or see your health care professional immediately. Both of you are then encouraged to report this problem to FDA. For information on how to do this, go to http://www.fda.gov/Food/DietarySupplements/Alerts/ucm111110.htm.

Adverse effects can also be reported to the product's manufacturer or distributor through the address or phone number listed on the product's label. Dietary supplement firms are required to forward reports they receive about serious adverse effects to FDA within 15 days.

For a general, nonserious complaint or concern about dietary supplements, contact your local FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/ConsumerComplaintCoordinators/default.htm).

For more information about topics for your health, visit the FDA Consumer Information Center (www.fda.gov/consumer). 

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WebMD Public Information from the FDA

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