Your dietary supplements may not be what you think they are
In 2015, the New York Times reported that the attorney general of New York State accused four national suppliers of having fraudulent ingredients in their supplements and vitamins. The authorities said they had run tests on popular store brands of herbal supplements at the retailers — Walmart, Walgreens, Target and GNC — which showed that roughly four out of five of the products contained none of the herbs listed on their labels. In many cases, the authorities said, the supplements contained little more than cheap fillers like rice and house plants, or substances that could be hazardous to people with food allergies.
Vitamins may be no better. The FDA does not have the resources to police all of the vitamins and dietary supplements that are out on the market today. Billions of dollars are spent by consumers on these largely unregulated products. I became interested in the subject when I started taking prostate supplements to help me with night urination and frequency. My PSA and prostate size are normal. I just have an "old" prostate. I could not tolerate the usual medications and therefore experimented with "natural vitamin and herb compounds." None have worked really well. Yet one peaked my curiosity. It was called "Research Verified." Since I also have a Vitamin D deficiency, I elected to stop my Vitamin supplement since this new product claimed to have large doses of Vitamin D in it as well as other things as like zinc, selenium, saw palmetto, etc. When I did a Vitamin D level on this supplement my level was still low. So I emailed the company and asked them to provide me with copies of their "research" that might show this stuff really does what it says it is does. Here is what their website claims:
Fact is That Not All Supplements Are Created Equal
The truth is that most supplements do not live up to their claims. Most do not contain the proper dosage. Most do not have the potency needed. And most do not come from the same source proven effective in clinical studies.he Fact is That Not All Supplements Are Created Equal The truth is that most supplements do not live up to their claims. Most do not contain the proper dosage. Most do not have the potency needed. And most do not come from the same source proven effective in clinical studies.
Well it turns out that this company's claims may be false since they could not provide me with the studies to back up the ads.
So what is a consumer to do? If possible buy only vitamins and supplements made in the USA and designated on the bottle "USP verified." USP is for US Pharmacopeial and independently evaluates these pills to make sure they have the vitamin or supplement in them they claim to and at the advertised dose. Participation by manufacturers is voluntary and available to manufacturers worldwide. Not surprisingly most manufacturers do not participate.
GMP is another way of looking for quality products. GMP certified means Good Manufacturing Practices. GMP requires manufacturers to conform to the guidelines recommended by agencies that control authorization and licensing for manufacture and sale of food, drug products, and active pharmaceutical products. These guidelines provide minimum requirements that a pharmaceutical or a food product manufacturer must meet to assure that the products are of high quality and do not pose any risk to the consumer or public. The criteria are not as stringent however as USP verified.
So consumer beware. The natural food industry is like the wild west and mostly unregulated. Good luck.