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Posts Tagged ‘USP verification’

a cabinet full of dietary supplements

The dietary supplement industry in the United States is robust, and it continues to grow with increasing consumer demand for health and wellness products. About two out of every three Americans take a dietary supplement today. As the industry grows, consumers have an ever-increasing choice of products and brands to choose from. This may leave people with an important question: is there really a difference between supplements brands? The simple answer is yes.  Suppliers of vitamins, minerals, and other wellness products do not all have the same standards of quality, purity, or safe manufacturing practices. Surprised? You might ask, “Doesn’t the government regulate these companies?” Here the answer gets a little complicated. The FDA does enforce certain regulations; however, since 1994 dietary supplements have been regulated under the category of food, not medication. Under these guidelines it is the manufacturer of the supplement, not the FDA, who is responsible for ensuring the quality and safety of the products. The lack of consistent regulations across the industry has flooded the market with products with varying degrees of quality. The number of consumer reports against manufacturers of dietary supplements is increasing, and the FDA continues to take action against companies that distribute and sell products that pose health risks.

This brings us to the next question, how do I find a quality brand of vitamins, minerals, or other supplements? One simple way to know if the brand you are reaching for is trustworthy is to check for the USP verification mark. The USP Dietary Supplement Verification Program identifies manufacturers who produce quality products. To receive the USP verification mark, manufacturers must meet quality standards by completing a facility audit, documenting their manufacturing and quality control measures, testing samples of their product in a laboratory, and providing off-the-shelf testing of supplements. What does this mean for consumers? The USP verification mark means that:

  1. The product contains the correct ingredients in the correct amount as stated on the label  
  2. The product does not contain harmful levels of certain contaminants
  3. The product will be broken down and released in the body in a particular time frame
  4. The product was made in accordance with USP and FDA current Good Manufacturing Practices. 

Want to do research before going to the store? You can look for USP verified dietary supplements by visiting the USP Quality Supplements website. You can use this reference to learn more about USP verification and to search for USP verified supplements by type. You can also search for brands, including select store brand products. There are also resources to help consumers learn how to read supplement labels. 

Given the inconsistent quality across the industry for dietary supplements, it can be hard to know which brand to trust.  Choosing a dietary supplement that has the USP verification mark can help you make that choice with confidence. 

Written by: Avani Patel, Pharm-D, Dietetic Intern, The Ohio State University

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County

Sources:

 Dietary Supplement Manufacturing – USP Verified Mark | USP. Accessed March 4, 2021. https://www.usp.org/verification-services/verified-mark

Quality Supplements. Accessed March 4, 2021. https://www.quality-supplements.org/resources/resource-gallery-infographic

Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on the agency’s new efforts to strengthen regulation of dietary supplements by modernizing and reforming FDA’s oversight. FDA. Published February 11, 2019. Accessed March 4, 2021. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/statement-fda-commissioner-scott-gottlieb-md-agencys-new-efforts-strengthen-regulation-dietary

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