What's in Your Vitamins?
Dietary supplement fans got a big "buyer beware" warning this week when the New York attorney general's office ordered GNC, Target, Walgreens and Wal-Mart to pull a number of store-brand products from their shelves, following an investigation that found most didn't contain herbs listed on their labels. In some cases, the attorney general said the supplements didn't even identify potentially dangerous allergens.
It was the latest in a series of studies and investigations that have cast serious doubt on the safety and reliability of these products, which face laxer regulatory scrutiny compared to prescription drugs.
But none of that has changed the fact that Americans are nuts for dietary supplements, as you can see in the chart below (red bars indicate projected sales).
Sales in 2013 reached $13 billion, as more people turn to the supplements to boost their health and lose weight. One of their biggest boosters is syndicated TV host Mehmet Oz of "Dr. Oz" fame, even though "America's doctor," as he's also known, has gotten into trouble for pushing pills with little medical grounding.
When researchers take a closer look at the products, the results can be alarming. Researchers from a 2012 Inspector General's report found that 20 percent of the weight loss and immune system support supplements they purchased made illegal claims about their ability to treat and cure disease.
A year later, Harvard researchers found that between 2004 and 2012, there were 237 recalls of dietary supplements --- accounting for more than half of FDA recalls of Class 1 drugs, which mean the products contain substances that can cause death or serious health problems. And in October, a JAMA study found most of supplements that were recalled for containing dangerous banned drugs were still available to consumers at least six months later.
There's a common public misperception that these products face the same rigorous oversight that pharmaceuticals receive from the FDA. They don't, thanks to a federal law that's been in place since 1994.
The Washington Post
At least 98.97% of vitamins consumed are synthetic isolates, though they are often labeled as natural. Yet, there are no isolated USP nutrients that exist naturally. So, nearly all companies combine synthetic isolates with industrially-processed minerals in order to produce their vitamin-mineral formulas.
Food Research International is different. (One of the supplement lines we use)
None of our products contain any synthetic/isolated USP nutrients. In order to obtain potencies that members of modern societies need, many of the nutrients in our products are hydroponically-grown to improve the concentration of nutrients in the specific raw foods that we use.
We essentially take advantage of a law of nature that a plant will absorb more of a nutrient when that nutrient in more available. Essentially, the plant is fed an enzyme-containing liquid that will be higher in one particular mineral. The plant will absorb more of that mineral, since more of it is present. The nutrient foods are grown in an FDA registered facility.
In reality we are duplicating the process of nature when we create food nutrients. Nature's process takes inorganic, non-food substances from the soil and delivers them to the cells of the plant. This natural process is the merging of different elements into a union creating one. Creating a whole from different elements is nature in action. The best method of creating a union, like those created by nature, between inorganic fractions and the whole food matrix seems to be utilizing hydroponic technologies.
We wanted to supply the best possible form of nutrients so we looked into modern technologies that would be compatible with the natural life processes that nature uses to improve the nutrients in natural plants.