Monday, May 3, 2010

What's in YOUR Supplement?

In a textbook example of why you need to pay attention to where you get your supplements, who makes them and how, health guru Gary Null has filed a lawsuit claiming that he nearly died from taking his own product. Who, you may well ask, is Gary suing? It turns out that, as is the case with the vast majority of nutritional supplements, Gary Null's Ultimate Power Meal is manufactured not by his own company but by a third party (in this case Triarco Industries). According to Null's suit, Triarco put 1,000 times the intended dose of Vitamin D in his product, which he then simply re-branded and sold - apparently without bothering to check what he'd bought. Along with half a dozen health-conscious customers, Null reported experiencing "severe kidney damage" and "excruciating fatigue along with bodily pain" as well as bleeding "within his feet".

While the irony of nearly dying from taking your own nutritional supplement product is palpable, the real surprise is that things like this do not happen more often. There are no FDA requirements that supplement products be tested for safety or efficacy on an ongoing basis, and it is an open secret in the industry that the contents of any given container may vary widely from what is indicated on the labeling.

So what is really in your supplements? Do you really know what you are taking? How sure are you that the bottle you buy this month contains either what the label says it does or what last month's bottle did? Maybe its time you found out.

As a contrasting example, Reliv International - for whom I am an independent distributor - owns its own manufacturing plant where it produces all of its own products; requires its vendors to provide independent, third party certification of the quality and purity of all ingredients that they supply; and subjects its own formulated products to a different third party analysis before shipment. Their facility has been praised by the FDA a a "model" manufacturing operation and they have earned pharmaceutical grade manufacturing certification in several countries where this is required for nutritional supplements. Is all this more costly than buying the cheapest products you can find and slapping your label on them? Yes. Is it worth it? I imagine Gary Null now thinks so.

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