Diet supplements refer to those drugs that can provide one or more essential nutrients that are needed by the body. They may contain one or a set of vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, protein and others. Diet supplements can be made out of chemical processes or they can be derived from herbs, botanicals, and other plant-derived substances.
Basically, you can easily differentiate diet supplements from other drugs since it comes with product labels which include the words “dietary supplement”. In addition to those words, dietary supplements should contain a “Supplement Facts” panel on its labels.
Diet supplements can come in the form of tablets, pills, capsules, powders, syrup, soft gels, gel caps, and liquid drinks. These drugs are available in health food stores and pharmacies. However, some groceries and department stores also offer these drugs. You can also get your supply through mail-order catalogs, directs sales of medical representatives, TV programs, and over the internet.
The diet supplement labels
Just like any other form of medications, diet supplements can be dangerous if they are not prepared or manufactured in a high quality manner. However, one way to make sure that your diet supplement is of good quality, you have to examine its label. In general, all dietary supplements should contain the following information:
a. Statement of identity: identifies the herbs or the main ingredient that was used for the supplement.
b. Net quantity of contents: shows how many capsules is in the container
c. Structure-function claim and the statement “This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”
d. Directions for use: shows the dosage for the dietary supplements i.e. how many capsules a day, etc.
e. Supplement facts panel: shows the size, amount, and the active ingredient
f. Other ingredients that were used to manufacture the supplement: these should be stated using their common name or proprietary blend.
g. Name and place of business of manufacturer, packer or distributor
Checking the quality
Other than examining the labels of the dietary supplement, the customer will have to do the following procedures in order to ensure the safety of the dietary supplements:
a. Examine the ingredients of the diet supplements. Check if they have the U.S.P. (U.S. Pharmacopoeia) notation. Check if the supplements were also approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
b. Check each of the ingredients, whether they are natural and organic. Do a research of their contraindications, drug interactions, and possible side effects based on scientific and clinical researches.
c. Check the name of the manufacturer or the distributor. Do a research about the manufacturer and examine if they comply with tight standards in manufacturing their products. Check the credibility of the manufacturer.
d. If you want to find out more about the diet supplements, you can consider writing to the manufacturer and inquire about the product. You can ask about the manufacturing and packaging process, or you can further ask about the various ingredients that were used in making the supplement.