FDA releases consumer resource for supplements

Called ‘Supplement your Knowledge,’ the resource is broken down into four sections, each presented as an infographic of sorts, in downloadable PDF form.

Regulation primer, advice on talking to doctors

The first section gives an overview of how dietary supplements are defined and how they are regulated by FDA.  The Agency placed in boldfaced type the notice that, “FDA does not have the authority to approve dietary supplements or their labeling before they are sold to the public.”​  That notice also appears in boldface type (with slightly different wording) in the fourth section of the resource.

The second section gives a guide for consumers on how to best have a conversation with their healthcare providers on their supplement use.  Most physicians are in the know enough these days to at least ask what supplements a patient is taking, but FDA recommended printing out the provided form to fill in to present to their doctors or pharmacists.

Adverse event reporting

The third section of the resource focuses on the adverse event reporting system, which, from a consumer perspective, may be the least well known and most misunderstood portions of federal dietary supplement regulation. 

The section educates consumers on what constitutes an adverse reaction and how they can arise, such as “if you start taking a new product, take supplements in high doses, take multiple supplements, or take supplements instead of or in addition to medications.”

It also goes through all of the reactions that could constitute a reportable adverse event, such as “fatigue or appetite loss; severe, persistent nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain;


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