Most dietary supplements manufacturers must abide by certain standards, which are intended to protect consumers from harmful or unsafe ingredients. In order for supplements to be marketed as “safe and effective” to consumers they have to meet these strict rules, making it important to be familiar with the standard. The most common standard is the U.S.P.B.Q. (Universal Product Code). Every ingredient used in dietary supplements has been standardized; this allows a uniform way of testing each ingredient for safety, making it impossible for a supplement to be sold as “natural and healthy” when one of its ingredients is actually harmful.
The U.S.P.B.Q. sets a standard for natural ingredient compositions, which means that every single ingredient in a supplement has been tested for toxicity. In addition to this, dietary supplements manufacturers are required to include all of the ingredients, and their concentrations, in their labeling. Any concentration that the FDA has determined to be safe or effective for use is listed in the supplement’s labeling. The concentration listed is usually a percentage of the active ingredient. There is also an indication of the amount of each ingredient that may be found in any particular dosage, but no other information.
The second key standard that dietary supplements manufacturers must abide by is the “notice of compliance”. This is basically a label that clearly displays the ingredients, their purity, and other necessary information. It is designed to make it easy for consumers to know exactly what they are putting into their body. This does not mean that all manufacturers are necessarily required to adhere to all of the nutritional supplement industry’s labeling, however. Some manufacturers choose to use the “white label” approach, which does not require the same strict standards as the U.S.P.B.Q., yet can still be helpful in assuring that the dietary supplement is safe and meets its intended purposes.