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Choosing High-Quality Dietary Supplements


Updated April 19, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

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Dietary supplements are all safe if used properly, but not all brands have the same quality.

Dietary supplements are regulated, but not as closely as medications, and there are no standards that require that ingredients listed on the label match what's inside the bottle. It's also important to remember that most claims that you read on the labels of dietary supplements are not approved by the FDA.

When you're ready to shop for your dietary supplements, keep these tips in mind:

  • Read the labels. Ingredients for the supplements should be from organic sources whenever possible.
  • Dietary supplements should be tested for toxic substances and any contaminants such as lead or mercury.
  • Look for hypoallergenic products if you have sensitivity problems or allergies. 
  • Look for an expiration date and make sure the product is fresh. If there is no expiration date on the label, buy something else.
  • Contact information should be easy to find on the packaging. If not, don't trust the company.

Join ConsumerLab.com to find out which brands of supplements they've tested for quality and dosage. 

If you're pregnant, nursing a baby, or have a chronic medical condition, be sure to consult a nutritionist, dietitian or health care provider before purchasing or taking any dietary supplements. Unless you have consulted with a health care provider, please follow the dosage instructions on the labels.


United States Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. January 2002.

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