- Did you take a vitamin or supplement today?
- Where did it come from?
- Are you sure you know what was in it?
It can be tempting to use the internet (eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, etc.) to save a few bucks on vitamins & supplements. The capsules & pills look the same so they must be the same, right? Absolutely not!
There are 3 things to know before you pop pills purchased on the internet:
- They may be fake: not contain any of the advertised ingredient
- They may be expired: old products repackaged as new
- They may be contaminated: unsafe handling leading to contamination or blatant tampering with ingredients
A 2013 research study used DNA analysis to identify the ingredients of 44 herbal supplements and 1 out of 3 of the supplements did not contain the advertised main ingredient! The supplements tested were brands available for purchase in supermarkets, health food stores, and pharmacies in Canada and the US.
A 2015 investigation by the Attorney General of New York found 4 out of 5 supplements purchased off the shelf from big box stores did not contain the advertised ingredient and even worse contained substances like sawdust, powdered vegetables, wheat, rice, and even powdered houseplants!
I urge all of my patients, family and friends to purchase vitamins and supplements from trusted sources. My definition of a trusted source is a seller that you can contact easily and will accept returns of a questionable product (i.e. safety seal broken, unusual odor/color/taste, unusual reaction to taking the supplement). Licensed healthcare practitioners often carry high-quality brands that are not available for public sale… these are the brands I trust for my own family.
Know this: High-quality vitamins & supplements always cost more because they contain high-quality, verifiable real ingredients without cheap fillers.
You may think popping vitamins & supplements everyday will improve your health, but if they are counterfeit, fake, mislabeled, expired, or contaminated they are most likely causing harm to you now and damaging your long-term health.