Nutrasource Blog

The “Do’s and Don’ts” of Claims Substantiation for Dietary Supplements and Natural Health Products

Posted by Santa Al Antwan, Regulatory Affairs Associate on Wed, Nov 23, 2022

In today’s regulatory climate of full accountability and transparency, it is critical to have strong science to back-up any claim made on a health product, be it a dietary supplement sold in the United States (U.S.) or a Natural Health Product (NHP) marketed in Canada. This will be a key component of your dietary supplement and NHP marketing strategy. We know advertising health products is critical to your marketplace success and we want to help you make sure it is done the right way.

Firstly, it is important to note that while dietary supplements are equivalent to the NHP categories, there are some major differences in regulations between the two countries.

U.S. Canada
  • Only new dietary ingredients require pre-market notification to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • NHPs are subject to pre-market approval.
  • Dietary supplements are regulated post-market, as a subset of foods, and restricted to products taken by mouth (e.g., capsules, tablets, soft gels, gel caps, powders, bars, gummies, liquids, etc.)
  • NHPs are considered a subclass of drugs, and can be formulated in pharmaceutical-like dosage forms (e.g., elixir, suppository, topical ointment, etc.)

As a result, the potential claims for dietary supplements and NHPs vary significantly with most dietary supplements carrying structure/function claims and NHPs ranging from low- to high-risk health claims.

Given the complexity and nuances between jurisdictions, Nutrasource’s regulatory experts will help you understand how to approach claims substantiation and apply these best practices to both product types. 

 

Label Claims for Dietary Supplements – in US and Canada

  • A health claim (both U.S. & Canada): used to indicate the beneficial effect of a product in reducing the risk of a disease or health-related condition when used in accordance with its recommended conditions of use.
  • A structure/function claim (only for the U.S.): describes the role of a nutrient or dietary ingredient on the normal structure or function of the human body.

In the U.S., dietary supplements may make health claims; however, they are subject to pre-market review and authorization by the U.S. FDA. Structure/function claims are not pre-approved per se, but a notification must be submitted to the FDA no later than 30 days after the dietary supplement is first marketed.

In Canada, an NHP must have a recommended use expressed via its health claim, and that health claim must have a health context in order to attain Health Canada approval in the form of a Natural Product Number (NPN). Therefore, given the conditions under which NHPs are screened, reviewed, and subsequently approved, they cannot carry structure/function claims.

 

This flowchart summarizes the different categories of claims in the U.S. and Canada.

Claims flowchart

Constructed using guidance documents from the FDA and Health Canada.

 

Simply put, in order to avoid unnecessary and potentially costly consequences, we need to know the do’s and don’ts to consider when assessing a product’s claims potential.

 

Claims dos and donts (1)

 

Nutrasource offers claims substantiation consulting to ensure regulatory compliance for your product label in line with the various geographical jurisdictions.

Speak to a member of our team on how we can support your regulatory needs.

 

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Posted by Nidhi Joshi, Regulatory Affairs Manager on Thu, Aug 11, 2022

Background

On July 6th, 2022, Health Canada published new labelling requirements under the Natural Health Products Regulations (NHPR). These changes are driven by a need to help consumers make informed choices and manage preventable harms through consistent, clear, and easy to understand product labels. The amendments also ensure alignment with rules that have already been established for comparable non-prescription drugs. Below is a summary of the key requirements.

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Food vs. Dietary Supplement / NHP vs. Drug in Canada and US

Posted by Stephanie Hall, Regulatory Affairs Associate on Wed, May 11, 2022

Determining the appropriate regulatory pathway is not always straightforward, especially when introducing a product from Canada into the U.S., or vice versa. For example, some foods contain components that when isolated could be a dietary supplement/Natural Health Product (NHP), and under certain circumstances, even a drug ingredient.

By the end of this blog post, you should have a good understanding of who regulates supplements in the US and Canada, and how they differ from food and drug regulations. Continue reading if you are looking for information on how to sell supplements in Canada or the US. Understanding the category definitions as laid out by the respective regulation is one way to discern between frameworks; see table below.

Regulatory Category Definition

Food

Examples: Orange juice, poultry, bread, candy, live microbials

Any article manufactured, sold or represented for use as a food or drink for human beings, chewing gum, and any ingredient that may be mixed with food for any purpose whatever. Source

Dietary Supplement (US)

Examples: Vitamin D, echinacea, live microbials/probiotics, multi-vitamin gummy

A product taken by mouth that contains a “dietary ingredient” intended to supplement the diet. Source

Natural Health Product (Canada)

Examples: Multi-vitamin gummy, calcium, omega-3 oil

A substance or combination of substances which is manufactured, sold or represented for use in:

  • The diagnosis, treatment, mitigation or prevention of disease, disorder or abnormal physical state or its symptoms in humans;
  • Restoring or correcting organic functions in humans; or
  • Modifying organic functions in humans, such as modifying those functions in a manner that maintains or promotes health.

Source

Drug 

Examples: Ibuprofen, vaccines, antibiotics

A drug includes any substance or mixture of substances manufactured, sold or represented for use in:

  • the diagnosis, treatment, mitigation or prevention of a disease, disorder or abnormal physical state, or its symptoms, in human beings or animals;
  • restoring, correcting or modifying organic functions in human beings or animals; or
  • disinfection in premises in which food is manufactured, prepared or kept.

Source

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Posted by Ruth Rodrigues on Wed, Jan 12, 2022

Starting with the end in mind

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Tags: Product Marketing, Claims, Concept to Claim, Dietary Supplements/Natural Health Products

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Sesame has recently been added to the list of major food allergens, here's what you need to know for product labelling.

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How to Develop Cutting-Edge (and Compliant) Dietary Supplements

Posted by Nutrasource on Thu, Aug 20, 2020

Developing dietary supplements with strong claims not only allows brands to stand out from the pack but also provides a competitive advantage.

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Clinical Trial Research Solutions During Social Isolation

Posted by Derek Tobin, Ph.D. on Tue, Apr 07, 2020

The current pandemic situation highlights a weakness in our traditional approach to clinical trials.  You are probably experiencing some form of lock-down (“stay at home order” by your local or national government).  Our innate sense of optimism says this crisis will blow over fast, but there are also dark clouds suggesting weeks may turn to months and true return to normality will take longer than we dare to think.

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Navigating Medical Foods in the U.S. and EU

Posted by Derek Tobin, Ph.D. on Thu, Mar 26, 2020

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Tags: Regulatory, Concept to Claim, Foods & Beverages, Dietary Supplements/Natural Health Products