A recent article in the New York Times speaks about the dangers of supplements with tainted or adulterated ingredients being a health hazard to society.
I certainly can’t argue with the examples that they present – there definitely have been cases of people buying and taking herbal supplements that are laced with all sorts of unwanted ingredients; including prescription medicines. However, the New York Times goes way, way, way overboard in trying to convince you that these examples represent a serious risk for all supplement takers and supplements on the market – nothing could be further from the truth.
Notoriously, this sort of issue comes up almost exclusively from supplements that are manufactured and imported from main land China.
Supplements that are made here in this country, by reputable, professional companies have never been implicated with any kind of problem like this. These companies use FDA-style Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and independent testing to make sure that what is on the label is in the bottle. Also – these companies do testing on raw materials that are imported before they are used in manufacturing an individual product. Here is a link to information about the Well Being brand.
I have to say that I am not surprised, based on the millions of advertising dollars that the New York Times gets from pharmaceutical companies, that the goal of this article is to scare you away from using supplements… but I am still surprised to see this example of poor journalism in such a prestigious newspaper. There is no balance to this article at all. So allow me to offer some balance to you.
They quote that “a few people have died” from these supplements. Did you know that over 1000 people die from the supposedly appropriate use of Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) every year? This is with the FDA as the supposed watchdog over the safety of Rx and OTC drugs. Also, they claim that 1 in 3 women in Brazil have used a certain diet supplement. This claim is beyond ridiculous… if I sold something to 1 on 3 women in Brazil, I would never have to make another dollar in my lifetime!
This article, however, does bring into focus one important point that I think you should pay attention to… you really should know who you are buying your supplements from. I suggest taking advantage of health professionals that recommend and supply supplements (like me) so you know that they are safe and appropriate for you to use. Don’t hesitate to call with questions – that’s what I’m here for!