It’s been widely reported that the herbal supplements you find at your local drugstore may contain harmful ingredients.
Sometimes, these formulas contain little to no herb. But plenty of fillers you may not want to consume.
This is a double-edged problem. You don’t receive the intended benefits.
But you may ingest potentially toxic additives.
That’s why it makes sense to shop carefully. Buy only from trusted sources, and avoid some of the common pitfalls.
Dietary supplements are a huge business. Each year, Americans alone spend $30 billion a year on dietary supplements, according to a 2016 article published in the New York Times.
So it’s not surprising that bad actors want a piece of the supplement pie.
Keep reading and I’ll explain what I consider a “trusted source” for supplements.
Although I’m not a medical professional, I do buy a lot of supplements. Many of them are natural anti-inflammatory remedies to help with my chronic nerve pain.
I really do believe they help. But I shop with caution. The tips you read here may not include every way to protect yourself.
Some people may argue with these tips. But I’ll explain what I do to avoid getting ripped off and possibly harmed by fake supplements.
How To Avoid Fake Dietary Supplements
(This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase anything, I receive a referral fee, at no extra cost to you.)
How widespread is the problem of fake supplements?
Findings of an investigation by the New York State Attorney General were released in 2015. It focused on herbal supplements sold by GNC, Walmart, Walgreen and Target, according to CBS News, one of the many media outlets that published this news.
The results were shocking. Overall, only 21 percent of the products tested contained DNA from the plant shown on the label. Instead, researchers found a variety of other kinds of plants, including rice, wheat, beans and even houseplants.
Products were purchased from different locations and tested multiple times.
The CBS report pointed out that, “Supplement manufacturers essentially operate on the honor system.”
That’s why I’m careful to buy brands I trust, from sources I trust.
Fake Supplements In The USA
It’s no doubt that fake supplements exist. That’s one reason I avoid drugstore brands and instead pay a little more for pure supplements, from a trusted company.
The closer to the original source the better, is my motto.
There are several well-known companies in the US that sell herbs. I buy many of my herbal remedies from Oregon’s Wild Harvest. Based in Oregon, this company has a number of farms, where it grows organic herbs.
You can buy herbs directly from Oregon’s Wild Harvest. This cuts out middlemen. The closer you stay to the source, the less likely it is you will wind up with fake supplements.
Buying from a trusted third party is also an option. For instance, I buy my Oregon’s Wild Harvest herbs from Vitacost.
I do this will full confidence, knowing that Vitacost is one of the company’s trusted retailers. (I know this because I called Oregon’s Wild Harvest to make sure.)
Even though I could buy directly from Oregon’s Wild Harvest, I prefer to shop through Vitacost. That’s because this large online health food store is where I shop for other things, including soaps and organic food. So I always hit the $49 threshold for free shipping.
So my best advice is to find a company you trust. Do your research. Find out where their herbs are sourced.
Then you can order online, directly from the company. Or you can find out what health food stores carry this particular brand. You can also order from Vitacost.
Is It Safe To Buy Supplements Online?
I think it’s safe to buy supplements online as long as you know who you’re buying from.
Although I’m not the final authority on this subject, I can share my own strategies for avoiding fake supplements.
First and foremost is that you get what you pay for. Cheap drugstore and grocery store products may seem like a bargain. But not if they don’t contain the plant you see on the label.
That’s why I’d rather pay a fair price, knowing my herbs will come from a trusted US-based supplier.
As I said earlier, the fewer times a product changes hands the better. You’re virtually guaranteed a pure product if you buy directly from the source.
Or you can buy from a trusted health food store. Either a local outlet or Vitacost, a virtual health food store with a good reputation.
People often wonder if they can shop for supplements at Amazon. I do this too.
But I like to buy from a listing that originates with the company, instead of a third party seller. Also, I would suggest calling the herbal company directly, to double check the listing.
The advantage of buying supplements on Amazon or at Vitacost would be shipping. A lot of people have Prime.
Or, at Vitacost, it’s easy to meet the free shipping threshold if you order other items.
I wish I didn’t need to write this post. I wish everything we see is what we get. But the reality is much different.
So as far as supplements go it’s buyer beware.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Pregnant women should not use natural remedies unless under medical direction.