I read a recent article that New York’s attorney general has ordered some drugs stores (Target, Walgreen’s, GNC and Wal-Mart) to stop selling their store-brand supplements because of quality concerns: Herbal Supplements Without Herbs.
Using DNA analysis, several products were examined in a university study:
Among the popular products examined were ginkgo biloba, St. John’s wort and ginseng pills. Four out of five of the products tested did not include any of the herbs listed on their labels. Even worse, hidden ingredients and contaminants could be dangerous to people with allergies to those substances.
I’ve posted about supplements many times, and warned that they are not regulated by the FDA.
Related post: The Quack Miranda Warning
I don’t think most supplements are necessary. But if you are taking a supplement under the advice of a physician, look for “USP Verified” on the label, which means the product has undergone independent testing to verify the tablets contain:
- the correct ingredient(s)
- the correct amount of the ingredient(s)
- no added and possibly harmful ingredient(s)
Also, check out this website: ConsumerLab.com. It’s an independent testing and watchdog lab that contains a lot of useful information about supplemental products. They also have a good section regarding potentially harmful products.
- Use herbal supplements with caution
- Save your money: vitamins and herbal supplements
- Health adults don’t need multivitamins
The supplement industry is a huge money maker that markets its products aggressively. Beware. Be informed.