Latest Information On Supplement Labels

If you're a faithful reader of the labels on dietary supplements, take note. The FDA recently passed a rule that should make the claims on these labels easier to understand.

In January, the FDA published its final rule on structure/function claims — the claims allowed on a dietary supplement that tell how it will affect the healthy structure and function of the body. In the new rule, the FDA will allow claims for conditions resulting from natural life stages, such as menopause, aging, pregnancy and PMS. Ultimately, this will give supplement manufacturers more latitude in making claims, and the wording for those claims can be similar to those used for over-the-counter drugs. For example, claims like nervous tension, heartburn and minor pain relief could be acceptable for products with proper substantiation, according to Mindy Green, director of educational resources for the Herb Research Foundation. "This will certainly put more herbal products in the mainstream and make the fact that there is a choice more real to mainstream consumers."

That said, experts advise that consumers should continue to read labels with caution and recognize that reputable companies will shy away from wild or weird claims.

— Karen Raterman