Dietary supplements include any products taken by mouth that contain a “dietary ingredient” intended to supplement the diet. This would include vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, amino acids and concentrates, metabolites, constituents, and extracts of these substances. Dietary supplements are not classified or considered to be drugs so it may seem that getting them from any source would be acceptable. But that would be a dangerous assumption.
By law, manufacturers are responsible for ensuring their supplements are safe before they are marketed. But unlike drug products, dietary supplements are not reviewed by the government before being made available to the consumer.
Federal laws require the labels on dietary supplement products to contain the following information: Statement of identity, Net quantity of contents, Directions for use, Supplement Facts Panel, listing serving size, amount, and active ingredient, other ingredients in descending order of predominance and Manufacturer information such as their name, place of business and the packer or distributor.
It is important to consult with your health care professional prior to using supplements as some supplements can interact with over-the-counter or prescription medications or have unwanted effects during surgery, while others may contain active ingredients that can cause adverse reactions in some users.
NSF International is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization. They are the world leader in standards development, product certification, education, and risk-management for public health and safety. For 65 years, NSF has been committed to public health, safety, and protection of the environment.
While focusing on food, water, indoor Cortexi air, and the environment, NSF develops national standards, provides learning opportunities, and provides third-party conformity assessment services while representing the interests of all stakeholders.
The primary stakeholder groups include industry, the regulatory community, and the public at large. They are trademarked as The Public Health and Safety Company and they have earned the Collaborating Center designations by the World Health Organization (WHO) for Food and Water Safety and Indoor Environment.
NSF was founded in 1994 and they serve manufacturers operating in 80 countries, with headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The NSF Mark is recognized for its value in international trade around the world and is respected by regulatory agencies at the local, state, and federal levels.
As part of its mission as a public health and safety resource, the NSF Consumer Affairs Office has developed a Dietary Supplement Fact Kit for the media and consumers. This consumer-friendly resource includes a wide array of useful information on how to choose dietary supplements, as well as how to read dietary supplement labels, and answers to other frequently asked questions about these products.