As most of us know, the supplement industry is not regulated by the FDA. As a result, we have found that many brands of vitamins, herbs, essential oils or other supplements are making claims about what their product does or what’s in them that aren’t necessarily true.
Fortunately, there are companies such as consumerlab.com that conduct independent studies on these to determine if they match up to what they claim. To access the studies you typically have to pay a small membership fee, but if you regularly purchase vitamins or other supplements, it may be worth it.
Typically what you see is that some brands will have fillers or simply won’t have the stated amount of the vitamin, herb or whatever it might be that you’re buying.
Existing Studies on Herbal Products
A DNA analysis was done of 44 different herbal products from both the U.S. and Canada, and it was found that only 48% of these products contained the herb listed on the label, and 1/3rd of these products contained contaminants or fillers not listed on the label.
In many cases, herb substitution was reported, including senna (a laxative) in a product labeled as St. John’s Wort. Several products were contaminated with feverfew, which shouldn’t be consumed by pregnant women and may react with a variety of medications.
The researchers, from the University of Guelph in Ontario, did not disclose the identities of the tested products, which were single-ingredient herbs sold as capsules, powders, or tablets.
Knowing Which Brand to Buy is Key
You’ll also find through research that there are certain brands that are more reputable and have not had any issues with misreporting the contents of what they are selling. That is the best way to find out if you can trust what you’re buying — find the reputable brands and don’t be too quick to believe any of the claims you see on supplements.