Natural health supplements do not need FDA approval before they are marketed and the onus for quality control falls on the manufacturer. The FDA has published guidelines for Good Manufacturing Practices with the intent to ensure "the identity, purity, quality, strength and composition of dietary supplements." However, many manufacturers defraud consumers with inferior products.
Here are five sites that can assist consumers in their search for quality natural health supplements:
1. National Institutes of Health:
The NIH Office of Dietary Supplements provides comprehensive dietary fact sheets on a long list of herbs, minerals, vitamins and other natural dietary supplements including consumer advisories.
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2. United States Pharmacopeia:
The USP is a company that only issues its official seal of approval on natural health supplements that have met certain purity, identity and potency criteria. Participation is voluntary and companies that receive the seal can feel confident that product ingredients are consistent in quality from batch to batch and meet label or certificate of analysis claims for identity, strength, purity, and quality. In addition, the seal means the products were prepared in accordance with accepted manufacturing practices, and meet requirements for acceptable limits of contamination.
3. NSF International:
The seal of approval from this public health and safety organization serves to increase consumer confidence when making natural health supplement choices. The seal means an impartial review against established criteria or guidelines has been conducted, and product labeling and claims have been objectively reviewed by a trusted third party.
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This membership required resource bills itself as the "leading provider of independent test results and information to help consumers and healthcare professionals identify the best quality health and nutrition products." Brands that pass ConsumerLab's in depth Quality Certification Program are posted on the site as well as basic information about various natural health supplements.
This testing facility states, "In every drugstore aisle in America, shoppers cast the classic pose: two products in hand, confusion on their faces as they attempt to decipher the advertising claims and safety labels. It's an important decision, but it is so hard to be certain you're making the right call." By purchasing and testing products bought in the retail market, Labdoor seeks to "change the balance of power in these industries from marketing hype to real facts."
This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.
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