As I’ve told you in many past blogs, U.S. law prevents the regulation of natural medications (herbs, vitamins, and supplements). Such regulations could protect consumers from purchasing product with all types of contamination. You can read more about this in my book, Alternative Medicine: the options, the claims, the evidence, how to choose wisely. Anyway, it’s past time for this sort of regulation to be enacted. Here’s another example why:
The Los Angeles Times “Booster Shots” blog reported, “Here are two recalls that might not have consumers rushing to get their money back.”
The FDA “announced in July that a lab analysis of Joyful Slim Herb Supplement was found to contain desmethyl sibutramine. Most people know sibutramine as Meridia, a prescription weight-loss drug.”
In another case, the FDA “announced that some batches of Good Health’s Vialipro had been found to contain sulfoaildenafil, a cousin of sildenafil. Most people know that drug as Viagra.”
The additions “might be one way to counter criticism that many supplements are ineffective. Nonetheless, the FDA is far from pleased.”
And, we as consumers should be displeased also.
So, since these products are unregulated in the U.S., what can we as healthcare consumers do to protect ourselves if we choose to take a natural medication (herb, vitamin, or supplement)? Here’s what I recommend to my patients, check first with ConsumerLab.com to see if they’ve tested the class of natural medication you’re considering.
If so, you can then find approved brands that this independent quality testing lab has found are (1) to contain in the bottle what the label says is there, (2) to contain in the bottle what should be there (the right substance in the right amount from lot to lot and bottle to bottle, (3) to NOT contain contaminants, (4) and to be absorbable in your body.
They charge about $12 per review (for 30 days access) or about $30 for a one-year subscription ($50 for a two-year subscription) … but, given the cost of natural medications, I think it’s worth every penny to find natural medicines that are safe.
By the way, here’s what you get with a subscription:
- Access to All Product Review Reports Covering Latest Test Results for Over 900 Products
- Quality Ratings and Product Comparisons by Brand
- Expert Tips on Using Supplements
- Price Checks on Popular Brands
- Encyclopedia of Natural Products
- e-Newsletter with Updates and Alerts
- New and Archived Recalls and Warnings
Also, you should know I have NO relationship or financial ties with ConsumerLab. They’re just a great source of information for me and my patients.