There was a news story recently about a lady with a serious, surprise illness. She hadn’t traveled to any country known for risk of the condition. She hadn’t taken any prescription or OTC meds that might have triggered it, either. All she’d done was drink a Chinese green tea she bought online. It was supposed to help her lose weight. Instead, it gave her acute hepatitis.
When her doctors isolated the tea as the only suspect, they ordered her to stop immediately. Fortunately, she recovered quickly and fully. Do your research, everyone. Especially when your health is at stake. There was no conclusive proof that the “green tea” was something other than authentic green tea, but that might have been the case.
Not everyone’s playing fair here
If you're into vitamins, you might remember another recent headline-splasher:
'New York Attorney General Targets Supplements at Major Retailers'
It was incidents like the apparent green tea-hepatitis link that prompted the Attorney General’s investigation. And frankly, the results were depressing. Yes, these incidents are rare… but they shouldn’t be happening at all.
The notion that some people will peddle a product that’s a) not what it claims to be, and b) dangerous is reprehensible. Yet that’s exactly what the NY attorney general’s investigation uncovered. See just how far some deceptive manufacturers will go, and understand that there’s no such thing as too much vigilance:
- A popular brand of ginseng pills at Walgreens promised “physical endurance and vitality.” It contained no ginseng, just powdered garlic and rice.
- Walmart’s ginkgo biloba, promoted as a memory booster, contained little more than powdered radish, common houseplants and - never mind the label calling it wheat-free - wheat.
- In Target’s ginkgo biloba, St. John’s wort, and valerian root, there was no ginkgo biloba, no St. John’s wort, and no valerian. There was powdered rice, beans, peas, and wild carrots.
- At GNC there were pills with unlisted fillers. One such was a powdered legume, the family of plants that includes peanuts and soybeans. lf a peanut-allergic person took these...
How to practice safe supplements
I've been taking vitamins and supplements my entire adult life. That’s the main reason why I started drinking Shakeology and became involved with Team Beachbody.
No matter whose supplements you’re considering, keep this advice in mind:
- Reputable manufacturers should formulate their products using ingredients backed by solid research. You should be able to find product specifications on the company’s website or by calling customer service. If you can’t, or if a representative isn’t willing or able to share it with you, then don’t give them your business.
- The manufacturer should thoroughly test the product for purity, potency, and contaminants. The raw materials need to be tested to confirm they are the “real deal” and the finished products should be analyzed to make sure they contain the exact amount of the ingredient listed on the label.
- Look for a manufacturer that stands behind its merchandise. They should guarantee your satisfaction and offer a generous return policy. Anything less than 90 days could indicate they’re hiding something.
- While the law doesn’t require it, reputable companies will stamp an expiration date on every bottle or package. First, you don’t know how long it has been sitting around. But more importantly, many nutrients (such as vitamin C) have short shelf lives. You don’t want to bring home a vitamin that has lost its potency.
- Examine the label. All supplements contain inactive ingredients, such as binding agents or transport “helpers” that move capsules or tablets through the digestive tract. However, avoid buying anything that contains artificial coloring, flavoring, and sweeteners, sugar, and other unnecessary chemicals and fillers.