Product FAQs

Find the answers to questions you may have regarding Our Health Products. If you can't find what you're looking for, please contact us here.

General Product FAQs

Can I still take a product beyond the Best Before date?

These products won’t become toxic, but they’ll gradually lose potency beyond the best before end date. Probiotics, fatty acids and liquids should be used as soon as possible after the best before date since they’re more vulnerable to loss of potency. Most supplements in pill or powder form can be used for another year past the best by date. Minerals, which are very stable, could even be used for two years past the best by date. We don’t have research documentation on the rate of potency loss beyond the best by date.

Best Before Dates

Our Best Before Dates are calculated based on rigorous industry standards-based testing that products can still achieve their claims up until that date, and are a legal requirement. However, products can remain safe and effective for long after these dates, so in the interests of minimising food waste, we recommend your discretion in considering the product as remaining consumable for a period of time afterwards:

Any product with a “Use by” or “Expiry” date should be disposed of or composted after this date.

Short-Dated Products

Items are considered short-dated when there are less than 3 months shelf-life remaining.

Colour Variations

Please note, all supplements, especially herbs, can and do have natural colour variations from lot to lot, and even from jar to jar. Botanical ingredients have a distinct and earthy odour noticeable after opening the bottle.

NADH Colour Variation

NADH is extremely sensitive to moisture which can cause a variation in the colour and sometimes a shrinking at the edge of the product. However, this does not cause the potency to be affected. Due to the sensitivity to moisture, we recommend not removing from the protective packaging until it is taken.

Will supplements interact with my medications?

Since we aren’t licensed as pharmacists or medical practitioners, you’ll need to consult with either your pharmacist or health care provider about interactions.

What does "Standardised" mean?

Herbal supplements are often available in two major forms, whole herb and standardised.

Whole herbs have a variable level of active components. Potency will vary with growing conditions and time of harvest. Whole herb products are generally the mildest form of a herb, and often have higher amounts recommended for suggested servings.

Standardised herbs have a set percentage of active components that is consistent from batch to batch. Standardised herbs are not only more consistent than whole herbs, but more potent as well because the manufacturer can incorporate a higher percentage of active components during processing than the concentrations found in whole herbs.

Recommended serving sizes are often smaller in terms of weight such as milligrams and in total number of capsules or tablets suggested per day.

Probiotic Storage

Many of the probiotics we sell do not require refrigeration and are best stored in a cool, dry place. Refrigeration can, however, extend the shelf-life of probiotics and would be best kept refrigerated during the summer months. For more information on specific products, please see the individual product pages.

Niacin vs Niacinamide?

Niacin and niacinamide are both forms of vitamin B-3, and they can be used interchangeably in daily doses of 100 mg or less. However, each form has specific health applications when used in higher doses. Niacin is often taken to support cholesterol levels already within the healthy range (both LDL and HDL), while niacinamide is used to help promote a healthy insulin response, as well as to help maintain joint health. A third form of vitamin B-3 known as inositol hexaniacinate is similar to niacin, but it does not produce the red, prickly flush that often accompanies the latter form, and for this reason it is commonly referred to as flush free niacin.

Softgels Sticking Together

Softgels can sometimes stick together whilst in-date - usually due to heat exposure. The best way to separate softgels is to put them in the freezer for 10 minutes to make them hard, then shake the bottle firmly in your hands. However, please DO NOT store your softgels permanantly in the freezer, as this will have the adverse effect.

There are various things you can do to prevent softgels from sticking together. One thing you can do is make sure to keep them stored in a cool environment (however, please DO NOT refrigerate them). Another thing you can do is add about 1/8 teaspoon of a fine, edible powder (e.g. maca, protein powder) to your bottle of softgels and shake the bottle to distribute them evenly. This will help to prevent them from sticking together should they get warm.


Expiration and Manufactured Dates

Swanson MFG (Manufacture Date)

Swanson brand products include a Best By date and/or a Manufactured (MFG) date.

A “Best By” date indicates that the product will successfully meet the claims made on its label up until the date given. Swanson products undergo rigorous stability testing to determine the most accurate dating for their finished products.

A “Manufactured” date states when the product was bottled. In most cases, supplements are considered stable at full potency for 2-3 years from the manufactured date. Most liquid supplements and probiotics are typically stable for one year from the manufacture date. This does not include food items or topical/cosmetic products (creams, lotions, shampoo, etc).

Please note: Swanson occasionally re-test the stability of products and if found to have a longer shelf life will issue an extended "Best By" date for that batch. We include the results of any re-testing under the ‘Additional Information’ tab on the product page.

Manufacture Date

The Manufacture Date printed on the label represents the date upon which the product was produced and is your assurance of quality and freshness. Often, on a dark coloured bottle, the MFG date will be printed on the bottom of the bottle. All Swanson products are produced by approved Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) compliant manufacturers to meet specified standards for quality and stability.

Swanson will continue to test and study their products to assure they meet the expected shelf-life (in most cases two years from the date of manufacturer). This change in label dating is due to a modification of regulatory requirements and does not represent a change in the quality of Swanson brand products.

Rest assured that there has been no change to the ingredient selection or manufacturing procedures and Swanson brand products continue to meet and exceed the most stringent quality control standards. Swanson will continue to require that their manufacturers develop and formulate products to maintain their quality for the expected timeframe (two years for most products, one year for probiotics and some liquid products).

This change in product dating applies only to Swanson brand supplements and does not include food items or topical or cosmetic products (creams, lotions, shampoo, etc.)

Swanson’s New Packaging

Swanson are currently going through the process of rebranding and updating their product packaging, so it is possible that you may receive items that have different packaging to what the listing on our website shows at the time of ordering. Please be aware that the formulas have not been changed, the new rebranded products are the exact same formula, just with newer packaging.

Swanson’s New Packaging: Potency

Its also worth noting that Swanson's old packaging tends to state the potency of the product per capsule/tablet, however the new packaging states the product potency per serving.

Freshness Packs

Swanson Health Products have introduced a new 'freshness pack' within a number of their products, designed to reduce the buildup of moisture and maintain freshness for longer.

On very rare occasions this pack has been known to open during transit or in extreme conditions.

If you find your product contains a freshness pack that has been damaged or the contents spilled out, then please contact us immediately. The supplements may still be okay to consume, however consuming the contents of the freshness pack can be harmful to your health. We therefore recommend that you send the item back to us, so we can send out a replacement as soon as possible.

Consumption Tips

Please know that Swanson Capsules can be opened and the contents may be dissolved in water or added to other food or beverages. We would not suggest this with a softgel as you cannot remove all of the contents to get the full dosage.

If a product is an enteric or time release formulation, you may lose these special features by removing the contents from the capsule or softgel. This might also leave some nutritional supplements vulnerable to stomach acidity. Others can cause stomach upset or other discomforts without the protective coating. You could potentially lose about 20% of the contents when removing from the capsule or softgel.

Some supplements may also irritate the oral mucosa. For example, we don't recommend taking cayenne out of the capsule and putting it in a smoothie.

Freezing a Tablet or Capsule may hold the potency longer, however we haven't tested this nor do we recommend freezing. The reason why is that tablets are very delicate when it comes to moisture. If any moisture gets into the bottle while in the freezer, the tablet could break down. It is also possible that if the bottle should be removed and come to room temperature, this could also create moisture and break down the tablet.

Softgels should not be refrigerated since the glycerin may absorb moisture condensation due to temperature changes, resulting in the softgels sticking together. When softgels are frozen, expansion of contents may cause breakage or leaking, so freezing is also not recommended.

Animal Testing

We are pleased to inform you that Swanson do not test their products on animals nor do their manufacturers. They use ingredients that are already known to be safe, however cannot guarantee a specific ingredient has not been tested on an animal at some point in history.

Probiotic Strains

Swanson do not test for a strain number on most of their probiotics with their contract manufacturers, only the strain type. Most often a specific strain number is under a patent and is a trademarked ingredient. Since Swanson do not have an agreement in place with the company that owns the patent and/or trademark, they cannot legally provide this information.

Heavy Metals

All Swanson products are tested for heavy metals. The heavy metal limits are listed below.

Lead: 2.75 µg/maximum daily dose
Arsenic: 10 µg/maximum daily dose
Cadmium: 4.1 µg/maximum daily dose
Mercury: 0.3 µg(organic)/maximum daily dose
3 µg(inorganic)/maximum daily dose

The maximum daily dose must be based on the maximum daily dose on product label.  Swanson's manufacturers are required (in accordance with cGMP) to quality control test each batch and provide certificate of analysis. Swanson also do quality control testing and retain samples of each batch of product. Additionally, depending on manufacturers track record as far as quality of production, random batches are tested by 3rd party laboratories as well. Swanson's standing with being audited and in line with cGMP is the customers verification that their products are compliant with the GMP requirements for quality control testing on the products.

Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)

The United States do not have a THR (Traditional Herbal Registration) certification mark as the UK does, but instead companies must be GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) certified. Swanson Health Products has always maintained an “A” for excellence in compliance with GMP regulations.

When Swanson source a product, the manufacturer provides them with a Certificate of Analysis (CofA), which guarantees that the product received exactly matches that ordered.

In addition to the CofA, Swanson also use ISO-certified labs to test products for purity and potency before they are sold to the general public. If the product does not meet their strict specifications, then the shipment is returned to the manufacturer. In other words, the customer can be confident that what is listed on the label, is actually what is in the bottle.

Swanson gives each manufacturer a “Score” based on several criteria. When taking on a new manufacturer, they will initially have a low score until they build their reputation by supplying products free from quality concerns. New manufacturers are tested frequently, and once they have established a history of providing quality products, the testing will become less frequent.

The FDA does not technically “approve” supplement companies like Swanson, who are obligated to follow FDA regulations for the supplement industry, and are subject to an audit or inspection at any time. To ensure that Swanson are following the FDA regulations and are compliant with the FDA’s cGMPs (current Good Manufacturing Practices), they hire independent inspectors to come in and audit their procedures on a regular basis.

What's the country of origin? Who manufactures your products?

We only list the country of origin if the finished product is made outside of the United States. If there isn’t a country of origin listed, it means the finished product was made within the US. We don’t release the names of our manufacturers on non-trademark supplements since we have contractual arrangements with them not to release their names or contact information. Bulk materials for trademarked ingredients come from the manufacturer that holds the trademark.

Regardless of country of origin, all of our manufacturers must be compliant with GMP regulations, and products are quality-control tested at multiple stages during processing and after we receive them to ensure they meet label claims for correct substance, purity and potency. We require our manufacturers to test for pathogenic bacteria (E.coli, Staph, Salmonella), fungal counts and heavy metals (lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic). We also require manufacturers to verify compliance with FDA regulations for BSE (mad cow) if any bovine components are used. Manufacturers must also verify products are compliant with Proposition 65 for sale in California.

FoodScience of Vermont

Why do some products contain lead?

FoodScience of Vermont do not add lead to their products. The warning stated on the label regarding lead is known as Proposition 65. Proposition 65 requires businesses to notify Californians about any chemicals in the products they purchase. These products include food items including everything from fruit and vegetables, restaurant food, water, and dietary supplements.

Because FoodScience sell to California and because there may be trace amounts of naturally occurring lead in the minerals (that come from the earth) used in their products, they are required to provide a "clear and reasonable" warning. For more information on Proposition 65 please visit:


Do Jarrow probiotics require refrigeration?

Unless otherwise stated on specific product pages, Jarrow probiotics are room temperature stable and do not require refrigeration. Refrigeration will, however, extend the shelf-life. It is best to avoid temperatures above 77°F (25°C), therefore it's recommended to refrigerate the probiotics in the summer months.


Do Hyland's products carry an expiration date?

In the US, the FDA has exempted homeopathic manufacturers from putting expiration dates on their product labels. Homeopathic medicines, when stored properly (away from moisture and excessive heat or cold), can be used for many years. However, if you notice the appearance of the medicine has changed, you should replace it.