Similar to the FDA in the United States, Health Canada plays a crucial role in ensuring that supplements and natural health products are safe for Canadians. Their role involves several regulatory and oversight activities to protect the health and well-being of the public.
One way that supplements are regulated by Health Canada is through the Natural Health Products Regulations (NHPR). Under these regulations, manufacturers and importers of supplements must obtain a license before they can market and sell their products in Canada. This process involves a comprehensive review of the supplement’s safety, quality, and efficacy data.
Licensed supplements will receive a Natural Product Number, also known as an NPN, or a Homeopathic Medicine Number, also known as a DIN-HM.
Be extra cautious of supplement brands that make bold health claims without providing an NPN or DIN-HM on the label. Health Canada also regulates health claims made on supplement labels, and products that make unauthorized or false claims are likely not to be approved.
Here are three ways you can ensure that a supplement has been approved by Health Canada:
1. Check The Label For an NPN
One way to know if a supplement has been approved by Health Canada is to refer to the label on its packaging. Look for a Natural Product Number (NPN) or a Homeopathic Medicine Number (DIN-HM). These numbers indicate that the product has been reviewed and approved by Health Canada.
2. Consult Health Canada’s Database
If you can’t find an NPN or DIN-HM number on the supplement’s label or website, you can actually consult Health Canada’s database yourself. Indeed, Health Canada maintains a public online database where you can easily search for approved supplements. You can access this database by visiting the Health Canada website and using their Licensed Natural Health Products Online Search Tool.
To use the database, select Brand Name(s) in the Search field dropdown, enter the brand name in the Criterion box (ex: Herbaland), and click Search. Below is an example:
Depending on the manufacturer, you may be presented with a pretty long list of products, so you can filter the list a second time by entering a keyword in the Filter Items box (ex: Iron). Below is an example:
3. Contact Health Canada Directly
If you can’t find information about a specific supplement through their online database, you can always contact Health Canada for assistance. They may be able to provide information on the approval status of a particular supplement.
Remember that Health Canada’s approval process is designed to ensure the safety, quality, and efficacy of natural health products, including supplements. It’s highly recommended to choose supplements that have been reviewed and approved by their body to minimize potential risks and maximize health benefits.