Major Retailers Caught Selling Fake Vitamin/Herbal Supplements

That’s what the New York Attorney general’s office determined when they checked a random 78 bottles of various herbal and vitamin pills and capsules for Target, Walmart, Walgreens and GNC across the state and then took them to a lab to see if what it said on the outside of the bottle was actually inside it.

The results were almost unbelievable.

What are you really taking?

What are you really taking?

80% of the supplements tested did not contain what was listed on the bottle, and some contained some stuff that wasn’t listed.  For example, the ginseng pills at Walgreens were found to only contain powdered garlic and rice.  And 3 products at Target: ginkgo biloba, St John’s wort and valerian root tested negative for ANY of those herbs, but was shown to contain powdered rice, beans, and fillers like pea and carrot.  The GNC products tested were found to contain powdered legume fillers not listed on the ingredient list…a real hazard to those allergic to soy.

Walmart’s ginkgo biloba products contained wheat and houseplants when the label said “gluten-free”.

This New York investigation was prompted by a report by the University of Guelph in Canada that found  up to a third of products tested did not contain any of the herb or supplement that was listed on the label, just cheap fillers.

Aren’t there any laws protecting us against fraud?  Yes, but they operate on the honor code. (I’ll wait till you stop laughing)

Supplements are basically presumed safe until someone gets sick (which is the same for the cosmetic industry). In 2013, a supplement was responsible for giving 72 people in 16 states hepatitis requiring 3 of those people to get liver transplants!

I was asked if I will change me practice regarding supplements.  My answer is no.  I get most of my nutrient and vitamins from food, so I am not someone who takes a handful every day to achieve health.  For the few supplements that I do take (Vitamin K2, Olive leaf extract, shiitake mushroom extract, Vitamin D,  and Calcium) I purchase from companies that I have investigated and feel comfortable purchasing from.  Companies that are transparent about their source for their product and who have a history of good company practices.  I trust NOW Natural Products, New Chapter, Nature’s Way and Thorne Research.  I know there are plenty others out there that pass the trust test.

When looking at a company there are many things to consider:

  • how long have they been in business?
  • where do they source their ingredients?
  • do they just meet standards or exceed them?
  • what kind of business practice do they have?
  • search litigation or any law suits against their company (type _____ lawsuits in search engine. Be aware that lawyers are hungry & not all lawsuits are legit)
  • do they practice environmental accountability?
  • are they available to answer questions?
  • have their products been chosen to be used in scientific research?
  • look for certifications for purity and organics

It’s the same with cosmetics.  There is no regulation of unsafe or false ingredients and the strides taken are so slow, by the time they eliminate all the harmful chemicals, we’ll all be growing a second pinky, and no one will notice because it will be so common.  Look at cancer rates.  It’s almost assumed that part of life is getting cancer at some point.  We don’t even question it anymore.  But I digress….

If you take supplements, please purchase them from a place that really has your best interest at heart, and is not a mega conglomeration of greed.

You are welcome to leave a comment with a company that you trust, but please be aware that any herbal companies that get listed on the comments I do not personally endorse. Thanks!

I created MOON Organics because of trust issues. If you’re looking for 100% safe and natural products, please check it out here.



Categories: cancer nutrition, health, health and safety, health and wellness, healthy living, nutrition, vitamin supplements, vitamins

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19 replies

  1. I totally agree that it’s important to approach market supplements and pills with a skeptical eye at first. At the end of the day you could be eating away your money, literally! And it’s interesting that you pointed out the report by U of Guelph. It’s a great university in Canada and I’ve been to the beautiful campus many times 🙂 Have you heard of Deva Vitamins? I would love to know what you think of them. I decided to try Jamieson Vita-Vim vegetarian multi-vitamin recently.

  2. Any recommendations with regards to the companies that are not doing this crap

    • I’ve given my picks in the blog post and criteria you can use to see if your company stacks up. I don’t promote any company that I don’t personally use, so I really don’t like to give a list. Also these companies change at any time…sell their company etc. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Red Moon and Gaiam for herbal remedies, this advice goes for any purchases really, even organic food

  4. Great to spread the word! My vitamin D levels were stuck at 37, so I changed to a LE product and was just tested at 22. I have not had a chance to tell LE yet but safe to say I am not using their D anymore.

    • Yikes! My levels dropped on a sublingual spray, so I went back to pills (not gel caps). Other things can affect D absorption too like gut health, so it may not be their formulation, but I would switch too if I were you. Thanks for the comment!

  5. Susan, have you heard of a company called Usana?

    • Yes. Just a personal preference and not knocking other companies that recruit their sales team from the public, but pyramid-type companies are not for me. Again…just a personal preference…no judgement.

  6. Great post! I definitely need to re-examine my supplements!

  7. so where are the results of the DA and Canadian firm to be found ?

  8. Unbelievable … thanks for providing this frightening news update! It is so sad that we can’t trust them to operate by the honor code … but unfortunately your laughter assessment is spot-on!

    • Thanks for the comment Bernie and I hope you are doing well! Ya expecting companies like Target to operate on the honor system is like expecting a fish not to stink. It’s just not in their nature.

  9. I just wish all my patients would read this, and then read it again and again. TY!

  10. That the actual…?! Thanks for this warning. Passing it on.

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