The American Association of
Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act
ACTION REQUEST: The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP)
requests full funding for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to fully implement this
important law, including issuing final regulations for good manufacturing practices for
dietary supplements. AANP strongly opposes favorable consideration that would to
regulate vitamins, minerals, and herbs in a way similar to that of prescription dugs, which
subsequently would restrict consumer access by increasing costs and ultimately eliminate
products from the market.
In 1994, consumers won a major victory with the enactment of the Dietary Supplement Health
and Education Act (DSHEA). This landmark legislation was designed to protect access to safe,
high quality dietary supplements. The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians,
representing the only doctoral-level experts in natural medicine, strongly supports full
implementation of DSHEA and opposes legislation designed to restrict consumer access to
vitamins, herbs and botanicals.
Naturopathic patients and all consumers of alternative medicine must be assured access to
safe, quality supplements. DSHEA establishes the FDA’s authority to ensure supplements are
safe. The law holds manufacturers directly accountable for product safety; demands truth in
labeling and advertising, and enables FDA to establish Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs).
Should the FDA determine that a dietary supplement constitutes a public health hazard, it can
under current law, be removed from the market immediately.
Supplement safety is of paramount importance to naturopathic doctors, their patients and all
consumers. In 2006, AANP supported amending DSHEA for the first time since its passage in
1994, to require manufacturers to report any serious adverse event associated with the use of its
marketed product. The safety of dietary supplements, in contrast to that of pharmaceuticals and
over-the-counter medications, is well documented. The FDA has all the authority needed to
immediately remove any dietary supplement that it believes presents a public health hazard.
Naturopathic physicians (NDs) are the physician-level experts on natural medicine and the use of herbs and
supplements. Trained in the basic medical sciences and conventional diagnostics, naturopathic education also
includes therapeutic nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, natural childbirth, classical Chinese medicine,
hydrotherapy, naturopathic manipulative therapy, pharmacology and minor surgery. NDs practice true preventive
and primary health care – engaging patients in health promotion and treating those with chronic disease to manage
the entirety of their health.