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What’s really in your Supplements?

by Sean Martu

Unbeknown to most the FDA doesn’t regulate nutrition supplement companies, not that really says much because of what the FDA so-called regulates, it allows Food Industrial Corporations to feed us poison, such as carcinogenic food additives and chemicals.

Unfortunately, because of the MIA of government regulation, many of these supplement companies are running wild and many of their products either do not contain what they claim is on the label, or could possibly be contaminated with heavy metals, bacteria, or pesticides.

Studies find tainted supplements or misleading labels are common

There’s been research on a variety of supplements where concerning discrepancies had been found between what’s on the label and what’s in the bottle. One recent report looked at three memory supplements: two of them contained none of the active ingredient and one of those contained unidentifiable chemicals that raise serious questions about its safety.

In another much larger study, they found that the problem of tainted supplements — and lack of oversight — is widespread. Researchers analyzed warnings issued by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) between 2007 and 2016. These included 776 dietary supplements that contained contaminants, including

  • a prescription drug, sildenafil (Viagra), in supplements sold for sexual enhancement.
  • sibutramine (Meridia), found in weight loss supplements. This drug was approved in 1997 for weight loss but was taken off the market in 2010 when studies linked it to heart attacks and stroke.
  • steroids or drugs with steroid effects in supplements marketed as muscle builders.

About 20% of the contaminated supplements contained more than one unapproved ingredient. In more recent analyses, more than one-third of the contaminated supplements were found by sampling products ordered online, and another third arrived by international mail delivery.

Fortunately, there are some companies out there like Consumer Labs and Labdoor that test and analyze the products of Nutrition Supplement Companies to see if they have what they claim and if they have any harmful ingredients or contaminants.

Of the websites I found, I prefer Labdoor over Consumer Labs, as Labdoor is free, I just needed to register to gain access to full product reports, while Consumer Labs requires a paid subscription to see anything of any use.

So I browsed Labdoor for some of the more popular supplements to see what disparities I could find. As of note, Labdoor using a grading system from ‘A’ the best to ‘F’ the worst.

B complex

This was interesting as Country Life Coenzyme B-Complex had the highest ranking of A-, while Nature Made Super B Energy Complex had the lowest at C.

According to Labdoors detailed report on Natures Made:

This product recorded 1.21 mg of thiamin (vitamin B1) per serving, 19.3% less than its 1.5 mg per serving label claim.

This product recorded 1.4 mg of riboflavin (vitamin B2) per serving, 20.0% less than its 1.7 mg per serving label claim.

This product recorded 13.1 mg of vitamin B3 per serving, 34.5% less than its 20 mg per serving label claim.

This product recorded 5.7 mg of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) per serving, 43.0% less than its 10 mg per serving label claim.

This product recorded 1.56 mg of vitamin B6 per serving, 22.0% less than its 2 mg per serving label claim.

This product recorded 292 mcg of biotin per serving, 2.7% less than its 300 mcg per serving label claim.

This product recorded 255 mcg of vitamin B9 per serving, 36.3% less than its 400 mcg per serving label claim.

This product recorded 21.5 mcg of vitamin B12 per serving, 258.3% more than its 6 mcg per serving label claim.

Electrolytes

This report was really interesting, as Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix ranked #1 with an A rating. But the product I used to use  Ultima Replenisher ranked 2nd to last with a rating of C. This rating surprised me as it worked quite well when I used to use it. It makes me wonder if I had previously known about product analysis websites like this, I could have had better results with a better product.

According to Labdoors detailed report where Ultima Replenisher failed was in its efficacy:

Sodium concentration: 0.10 gL. This falls below what we considered to be an effective range for sodium supplementation.

Potassium concentration: 545 mgL. This falls above what we considered to be an effective range for potassium supplementation.

Note: The above concentrations were calculated based on what this product listed as the lowest amount of fluid to use for preparation.

Magnesium

This section I found to be interesting, as I’ve done quite a bit of research on magnesium and have written a few articles on it. One of the three supplements I use and recommend Drs Best Magnesium Glycinate was tied for 1st with a B rating. The other two supplements that I recommend were not included in their testing.

According to Labdoors Drs Best Magnesium Glycinate report:

Ingredient Safety scores are based on product purity (see above), excipient ingredients, and the extent to which active ingredients exceed their established Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (ULs).

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) cites the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) of magnesium at 350 mg per day. Two servings of this product would exceed this limit.

Moderately excessive doses of magnesium from dietary supplements have been linked to symptoms of gastrointestinal upset, including diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramping

 

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of magnesium depends on age and gender. Men (19-30 years of age): 400 mgday, Men (31+): 420 mgday, Women (19-30 years of age): 310 mgday, Women (31+): 320 mgday.

One serving of this product recorded 206 mg of magnesium (as magnesium glycinate). Magnesium serves as a structural component of bone and as a cofactor in over 300 enzymatic systems involved in a variety of biochemical reactions, including DNA and protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation.

From my research the RDA for magnesium is extremely low for human needs, I personally take up to 500 to 600mg of Drs Best Magnesium a day without any negative symptoms. See my article “Magnesium: The Miracle Mineral“.

So I’ve gone over three of the many supplements Labdoor tests, and what I’ve found out is quite interesting, though I didn’t find any of them with contaminants. I advise that everyone use independent sources like Labdoor or other websites whether free or subscription-based to validate what is actually in these supplements and to make sure they do not have any harmful ingredients or contaminants, especially if we’re administering them to the young or the elderly.

Lastly, this is one of the main reasons why so many people are getting different results in their health journey, because many of these supplements do not have, or have inferior grade ingredients, or harmful ingredients which is counterproductive to your health goals.

 

References:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/whats-in-your-supplements-2019021515946

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2706496

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6324457/

Necessary internet disclaimer:  All information and resources found on Nothingsincurable.com are based on the opinions of the author unless otherwise noted. I am not a doctor nor do I have any medical training, all information is intended to motivate readers to make their own nutrition and health decisions after consulting with their health care provider. The author of this site encourages you to consult a doctor before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition.

 

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