Nutraceuticals 101 - What is a dietary supplement

Nutraceuticals 101: Defining ‘Dietary Supplement’

The Nutraceutical Industry is a conglomerate – a brand and product fuelled Frankenstein with arms and legs that reach into almost every corner of the health and wellness market from sports nutrition, to weight loss, to cognitive health.

Over the last several decades, the Nutraceutical Industry has grown into a global powerhouse, bringing in a whopping $165.62 billion in 2014 that is expected to swell to $278.96 billion by 2021.1 What lies at the heart of this industrial tour de force? Arguably, one singular and surprisingly simple concept: the dietary supplement.

What is a dietary supplement?

Even though the term “dietary supplement” has the potential to include millions of unique products that serve millions of different purposes, its own definition is surprisingly simple. A dietary supplement is  basically a product intended for ingestion (or oral consumption that contains one or more “dietary ingredients” This supplement should add value, or supplement, a healthy diet.

As for dietary ingredients, for the most part, they can be any of the following substances (alone or in combination): vitamins, minerals, herbs/botanicals, amino acids, concentrates, constituents, extracts, and Metabolites. But remember, just because a substance falls into one of these categories doesn’t automatically make it okay for use in a dietary supplement. Be sure to confirm that the dietary ingredients that you’re using are acceptable for use according the FDA regulations.2

For anyone looking to break into the industry, taking the time to understand these two definitions, as well as how the FDA goes about updating them and adding new substances to its dietary ingredient lists is crucial.




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