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Dietary Supplements in the U.S. and Abroad: Similarities and Differences

Updated: Feb 4, 2022

Demand for dietary and nutritional supplements worldwide continues to increase, with steady growth in the established markets and more rapid growth in emerging markets. The annual growth rate of dietary supplements in the U.S. was 7.1% between 2008 and 2012. According to one survey, the U.S. and Asia lead the world in supplement usage, with 54% of North Americans consuming a supplement and 43% of Asians consuming a supplement. In another survey, the U.S. was the largest market for nutritional supplements in 2010, followed by Western Europe and Japan. Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America have low market penetration, but are increasing in usage. Dietary supplements, which are also termed nutritional supplements in other countries, include vitamins, minerals, meal supplements, herbs, natural food supplements, and other products that are consumed to boost the nutritional content of the diet.

Dietary supplements are touted to benefit the body, but how dietary supplements are regulated by various governing bodies may not always be similar to U.S. regulations. Is there any consistency in the governing of dietary supplements, and are ingredients that go into dietary supplements evaluated for safety? The following is a general overview of the regulatory process for dietary supplements and the ingredients that are added to dietary supplements in the U.S., compared to various areas of the world.

United States Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994 compared to other international laws