What Are Natural Products

Natural Health Products include vitamins and minerals, herbal remedies, homeopathic medicines, traditional medicines such as traditional Chinese medicines, Ayurveda products, probiotics, prebiotics (e.g., fiber) and many other products such as enzymes, amino acids and essential fatty acids to name a few. In 2010, a survey conducted by Ipsos-Reid showed that 73% of Canadians regularly take natural health products (NHPs). The number is comparable in the United States.

In Canada, dietary supplements are called ‘Natural Health Products’ (NHPs) and are regulated by the Natural and Non-prescription Health Products Directorate (NNHPD), a division of the Health Products and Food Branch of Health Canada under the Natural Health Products Regulations . NHPs include homeopathic and traditional medicines, plant or plant material, bacteria, fungi, extracts and isolates, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, synthetic duplicates and probiotics.

In the United States of America, dietary supplements are regulated under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) by the FDA. Dietary supplements are defined by DSHEA as a product intended to supplement the diet and contains one or more of the following ingredients: a vitamin, mineral, herb or other botanical, amino acid, dietary substance, or a concentrate, metabolite, constituent, extract, or combinations of these ingredients; and is intended for ingestion in powder, capsule, tablet or liquid form; and is not represented for use as a conventional food or as a sole item of a meal or diet.

Natural health products, (Canada) and dietary supplements, (United States) must be safe to use as over-the-counter products and do not need a prescription. Overall both ensure that consumers have ready access to safe and effective, high quality, natural health and wellness products respecting freedom of choice and philosophical and cultural diversity.