What’s the definition of a dietary supplement?

Question

What’s the definition of a dietary supplement?

OPSS Answer

The term “dietary supplement” has a specific legal definition, but in translation it refers to any vitamin, mineral, botanical, amino acid, or other substance you can take by mouth—alone or in combination—that adds to your overall diet. Dietary supplements come in forms such as tablets, capsules, liquids, or powders, and they must be identified on the front of the product label as dietary supplements. You can visit the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), a part of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, on the FDA website for the exact legal definition.

Updated 17 April 2014

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