Tuesday, February 3, 2015

what's in the supplement you've been taking?

I actually wasn't surprised when I heard this on the radio this morning.  My only surprise was that it was so widespread.  In case you didn't hear about it, the New York State Attorney General's office tested herbal supplements from four large retailers; Walmart, Walgreens, Target, and GNC.  In a nutshell, most of the items tested contained little to none of the ingredient on the label.  More distressing is that they found substances NOT listed on the label, including ingredients that could be dangerous to people with allergies (legumes, gluten, etc.)

For 9 years I worked in Quality Assurance in the pharmaceutical industry.  We answered to the FDA, and kept records of every batch produced (which could be examined by FDA inspectors at a moments notice.)  Upon receipt, every raw ingredient was sampled and tested to prove that it was the correct product and the right potency.  Nothing was put into our product that was not intended.  I strongly believe that the herbal supplement industry should be made to answer to the same rules as the pharmaceutical industry.  For the safety of the public, anything that is taken or administered topically or internally should be exactly what is indicated on the label.

Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows that I am highly supportive of using herbs to maintain health.  I go to a Registered Herbalist who works clinically and teaches as a professional member of the American Herbalists Guild.  I trust my practitioner, and know that the clinic sources much of their herbs from local suppliers (a prominent herb farm.)  And much of what I have received from them is mixed to my specific needs.

We need to be educated consumers.  As you would trust your medical doctor and know that the medicines he prescribes for you are well-researched, please also research any supplements that you are inclined to take.  Use the information in the news, and keep watching and learning.  You're important  :)


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