What’s in a label?
Shopping for dietary supplements can be a guessing game when labels are confusing – and they often are. The Bragg team is proud to have Apple Cider Vinegar supplement bottle product labels that are easy to understand, with transparency about all ingredients, including the active ingredient (acetic acid) that unlocks clinically proven health benefits at the proper dosage (750mg per day).
We asked Dr. Jeffrey B. Blumberg, a Professor Emeritus of nutrition science and policy at Tufts University and a trusted member of Bragg’s Scientific Advisory Board, for some tips about what to look for the next time you’re supplement shopping.
Q1.) What should consumers look for on a supplement bottle?
Dr. Blumberg said “The best place to start is the Supplement Facts Panel on the back of the bottle. While packaging design can be alluring, what is most important is how a product can impact your health and wellbeing – or not.”
Here’s what he says to look for:
Scan the ingredients list for possible problem spots. For example, check the amount of sugar listed and be wary of those that would contain several grams per day in a daily dose, especially if you are working to manage glucose levels. Make sure to also check if the product explicitly rules out any known allergens or dietary requirements that affect you personally, or those attributes that are important to you such as Vegan or Gluten-Free, for example.
Identify the active ingredient tied to health claims. Are you able to quickly find proof that these are in alignment, either via the label of the manufacturer’s website?
Purity and quality of ingredients is a major concern when selecting supplements. Make sure that you are purchasing products from a brand you can trust, preferably one that is transparent regarding ingredients and their functionality in the formula.
According to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA):
The Supplement Facts label must list total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrate, dietary fiber, total sugars, added sugars, protein, and certain vitamins and minerals. While the actual amount and daily value percentage of vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium must be listed, other vitamins and minerals may be listed voluntarily by the manufacturer.
However, they are required to list any vitamins and minerals that are added to the food or if a statement is made on the package labeling about their health effects or the amount contained in the food (for example, "high" or "low").
Q2.) How can consumers find out if a supplement offers real health benefits?
“A Structure/Function Claim explains how a nutrient or ingredient affects the structure or function of the human body,” said Dr. Blumberg. “It is important to know that the FDA does not approve these claims even though they’re often touted prominently in marketing to appeal to consumers. That’s why it is so important to check for the health-related claim that the product touts and see if the manufacturer can back it up with science.”
"Remember, when you’re shopping for ACV products, look for those with labels that list the proper dose of acetic acid (750 mg of acetic acid) and have no added sugar. Be careful not to confuse a listing of ‘apple cider vinegar powder,’ to mean the appropriate dose of acetic acid is included. Most powder formulas use ACV of 5% acid content, meaning 750 mg of ACV powder yields just 37.5mg of acetic acid – or 5% of the clinically proven daily dosage.” – Dr. Blumberg
Q3.) What happens when a dietary supplement causes an adverse reaction?
Dr. Blumberg cautions “If you or someone you know experiences an adverse reaction to a dietary supplement, I urge you to take it seriously. Stop taking the supplement immediately, seek medical treatment if needed, and report the experience to the FDA for further investigation.”
“Busy consumers are expected to do in-depth research before evaluating the purchase of a dietary supplement. Knowing that this isn’t always possible due to time constraints, Bragg’s product development team has ensured that the company’s ACV supplements have labels that are easy to read, transparent, and clearly cite the proper dosage of the active ingredient, acetic acid, that is tied to science-backed health benefits. This allows consumers to make informed decisions. That is the goal.”
– Dr. Blumberg