Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplement Labeling

So much information is displayed on the labels of dietary supplements, but what does it mean? This guide helps take the mystery out of reading dietary supplement labels and helps you understand the four key label areas.

Serving Size

This is the manufacturer's suggested serving size. It is normally stated per tablet, per capsule, per packet or per teaspoonful.

International Unit (IU)

This is a unit of measurement frequently use for vitamins A and D.

MG and MCG

The abbreviation mg stands for milligram, which is one thousandth of a gram, and mcg stands for microgram, which is one-millionth of a gram. These are common units of measurement for minerals and some vitamins, such as vitamin C.

Daily Value (DV)

The Daily Value, or DV, is the average amount of the vitamin or mineral needed to meet the nutritional requirements of a person of at least age four.

Since consuming excessive levels of dietary supplements may have adverse health effects, be sure to follow the serving size instructions indicated on the label.