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  • Writer's pictureGilda Gilak, DC, MS

Interpreting Supplements Labels


In this article, I intend to teach how to read and interpret supplements labels. Products in the marketplace vary widely; the product may not represent the proper ingredients or the dose needed. It is always recommended to take your products to your clinicians for evaluation. On the product's Lable, there must be 16 following factors present for the product to be considered acceptable in the industry and therefore indicate the quality of the products:

1- Brand Name, for example: Metagenics

2- Product/herb name: Valerian Extract

3- Structure and Function Claims: ( Support Nervous System)As long as they 1- Truthful, 2- Documented by scientific data, 3- FDA Disclaimer,4-The manufacturer must notify FDA within 30 days.

The following claims are unacceptable: It cures arthritis; prevent heart disease; help treat the common cold.

4- FDA Disclaimer: Don't claim to diagnose, treat, stop any diseae4-Must note that FDA has not evaluated the claim.

5- Number of capsules, tablets and net weight of each

6- Direction for use and caution

7- Serving size, It is the suggested use of tablets or capsules in one-time serving.

8- Amount per serving, includes the level of protein, carbs, fiber, vitamins, and if it exceeds daily value.

9- Percent Daily value or a statement "* that % daily value has not been established."

10- Herbs standardized common name must be as it is established in the Herbs of Commerce references, followed by their Latin name, the anount must be written in milligrams, and ratio of the weight of starting material to the volume of the solvent.

11- Standardization

12- A list of all ingredients in decreasing order by weight, in herbs formula containing multiple herbs it must be listed in descending order of predominance,

13- Proper location for storage: typically labeled as store in a cool, dry place.

14- A statement that it should be kept out of the reach of children

15- Expiration Date

16- Manufacturer or distributor's name, city, state, zip code, and phone number to contact.

You will be surprised that how many of the products in the market may not have these following, which indicate the products has not been following the proper regulation and may not contain what it claims and must be avoided. I hope this short map helped you decide which product to buy.

Note: Currently FDA is proposing Good manufacturing practices ( GMPs) for herbal products, and they set the standards for purity, strength, and potency of the supplement, presence of GMPs label therefore, is an indication of good quality products.

Reference: Integrative Medicine, second edition. Chapt: Perscribig Botanicals, Paula Gardiner, MD, Tieraona Low Dog.

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