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.
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!