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Scary book about problems with supplements

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by laura, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. laura

    laura Senior Member

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    Hi Everyone,
    I would love get everyone's thoughts on this topic. I recently read a book by author Dan Hurley titled, "Natural Causes: Death, Lies, and Politics in America's Vitamin and Herbal Supplement Industry." It talks about the lack of regulation of the supplement industry as effecting supplements in key ways:

    1) Even if a supplement is from a solid, "reliable" company, and has a "good manufacturing seal" or the like, there is no guarantee that you are actually getting what it says on the label. Research the author quotes found that VERY often supplements either did not contain what they claimed or the potency was minimal.

    2) Lead and other contaminants have been found in many supplements. The author quotes a situation where Jarrow pulled a gingko supplement off the shelf because lead was found, but only AFTER consumerlab.com (a completely independent private lab) informed them. How many supplements have contaminants because there are no/minimal standards and insufficient testing?!

    3) Many supplements out there simply don't work. He cites echinacea and ginkgo biloba, among others, that continue to be sold and promoted despite research showing that they are not effective. We as PWC's know this well, who have spend hundreds of dollars on supplements desperately trying to find something to alleviate our symptoms.

    4) Because of the lack of research, misinformation, and lack of regulation, there are supplements that are dangerous, or dangerous for certain people, in certain quantities, but none of this is clear. There is no protection.

    5) The supplement industry people have a LOT of power and fight any kind of attempted regulation tooth and nail, playing off the FDA and western medicine as evil.


    Is anyone else familiar with this book? I, as do many of us, rely heavily on supplements to alleviate my symptoms and the book scared me. I don't want to waste money, ingest lead, etc.

    What do you think?

    Thanks,

    Laura
  2. Andrew

    Andrew Senior Member

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    I think everything you listed there is true. I joined consumerlabs so I could review the content. Problem is, I got out of the habit of buying only what they reviewed and approved.
  3. CBS

    CBS Senior Member

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  4. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    Most of the ingredients in our supplements comes from factories in China, India and other economies looking to fill a lucrative global niche market.

    China has had a lot of problems with manufacturing and experiences enormous pressure from western markets (Walmart Nation, for instance) to keep prices insanely low in order to fuel their economic "progress".

    If melamine could make it into baby formula, which is consumed as complete nutrition by a vulnerable newborn, and where the consequences were sure to come to light sooner or later, what are the chances that everything that should, and nothing shouldn't, is getting into supplements which are taken primarily in small doses by adult foreigners? Not good, I'd wager.

    It's almost impossible to tell where your supp.s come from anyway. It's hard to tell where your food comes from. In Canada, the packaging counts as Canadian so, apple juice, for instance, can have 60% Chinese apple juice, 40% Canadian apple juice and a glass bottle made in Canada and the label will say it is Canadian Apple Juice with no mention of China at all. Most countries have similar policies.

    Money makes the world go 'round, the world go 'round, the world go 'round...

    $:cool:
  5. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    It's definitely a challenge to find clean non-toxic sources of herbs and vitamins.

    I have found that the best Chinese herbs come from Brion/Sun Ten. They are so pure that they actually sued WON a Prop 65 suit in California!... and do not have to put any warnings on their labels. http://www.brionherbs.com/1266_61065/News.aspx#NewsPage20037

    From the Brion Herbs website:
    "Of the numerous herbal companies sued to date, Sun Ten and Brion Herbs are the only companies who have successfully fought the Proposition 65 suit by proving that their products were not in violation of the California Law."

    When I was at my most sick and most toxic, I took them every single day (for ten years) to detoxify my body after severe chemical exposures in the late 1980's. I think they are mainly sold to practitioners, but they might sell in bulk to consumers. I get mine from my TCM practitioner.

    As for vitamins... those I am not sure of. New Chapter has a real good reputation, but are VERY expensive. I think it would take some research to glean the cleanest non-toxic brands.

    If anyone has a list, I would LOVE to have it!
  6. laura

    laura Senior Member

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    thanks, looking for reliable supplements...

    I wish I had the power (and energy!) to fight China and the Senator Hatches of the world so we could have reliable non-toxic effective supplements.

    Dreambirdie, thanks for the info on the chinese herbs. I definately will look into them. Very nice to have at least one source of herbs where I know I'm not adding to my toxic load!

    Andrew, I have been hesitating joining consumerlabs, but maybe that's the best bet until someone with more power than me can make some changes.

    Laura
  7. liverock

    liverock Senior Member

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    I use NOW products for most of my supplements which are made in accordance with FDA Approved Good Manufacturing Practices(GMP).
    This means they have to have laboratory analysis of all mateials and be manufactured up to pharmaceutical lab standards, which are regularly audited.

    http://www.nowfoods.com/Quality/GMP/index.htm

    You can find other companies who are GMP approved by searching GMP+ supplement manufacturers.
  8. Andrew

    Andrew Senior Member

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    FWIW, I read one source that said all supplements that are made in the U.S from imported herbal materials are required to be treated with insecticides or fungicides or radiated (I forget which) when they enter the United States.
  9. laura

    laura Senior Member

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    Uh, is that good?! So now I am not worrying just about lead but also insecticides. Yikes. It's enough to make a person paranoid. What's thay saying, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not really out to get you. :)

    Course I do understand, they don't want strange insects or things entering the US/contaminating our food supply. And I don't want to ingest them!


    I will look at the GMP in addition to joining consumerlabs.
  10. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    This generality is not true of EVERY herb company. Brion/Sun Ten, Evergreen or Health Concerns are definitely NOT sprayed. You really have to know your sources on herbs, especially Chinese ones.
  11. Sacajawea

    Sacajawea slightly bedraggled

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    Hi!
    Dreambirdie, I could just kiss you...I have been slightly worried over the last year or two or so because I took a series of chinese herbs prescrbed for me from a TCM doctor in California. I went to him while visiting family to try acupuncture for persistant sinus infections. He helped me with that, noticed "female problems" and treated me for that as well. I took the herbs for more than two years and ended up pregnant to my doctors' and my shock. My allopathec doc was so impressed he contacted him himself (I live in Ohio).

    So to say all of that, I've always been so happy with my treatment but then hearing all the news about contaminated products had me scared, especially since I ended up w/ two children right after that treatment. I've got enough on my plate to worry about their health just based on mine (they're healthy, very healthy).

    I visited that website and recognized the name brand right away...I was in safe hands! That was 15 years ago or so but the name came right back to me.

    I take very few supplements but I prefer Nature's Sunshine and NOW. I think this book would be very scary to read as well but we need to know the truth about such things for sure if at all possible.

    SJ
  12. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Great! I love kisses! :cool::cool::cool: In that platonic demonstrative way, of course. ;)

    I'm happy to hear the TCM doc worked for you. I did FANTASTICALLY well with the Sun Ten/Brion, even during the times when I was so sick with MCS that I was allergic to almost everything else. So I know they are the NUMERO UNO. There are others that are toxin free as well.

    Thanks for the heads up with the NOW products. I like them too.
  13. Andrew

    Andrew Senior Member

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    What I read is it's not up to the company. But I can't vouch for the source, and I don't remember the site now. I only offer this as "buyer beware."
  14. Sunday

    Sunday Senior Member

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    I think it's definitely good to be aware of contamination possibilities in our supplements, and this is a valuable discussion.

    However, I have a suspicious mind: there's been yet another big drive on lately, to get pharmaceutical control of supplements. That would mean they would at least triple in price and we wouldn't be able to get them without a doctor's prescription (and as we know most doctors know jack about supplements and herbs). I have to say I would be very curious to know who the author is and what money is behind him.
  15. ggingues

    ggingues $10 gift code at iHerb GAS343 of $40

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    I second this!

    "Its a really GOOD thing that dietary supplements are FDA exempt, proof the effectiveness of a supplement takes 100 millions of dollars, and many years, to go though the regulatory process. Most supplements are generic, have no owners or share holders to pay for such a process. If dietry supplement were to come under the FDA process, suddenly, thousands of health food products, many of which have reasonable evidence of being helpful to health, and which are reasonably cheap, are suddenly off the market. This would make a lot of people less healthy, and to what end."

    The 2nd quote is from the web address provided on the 1st page and is an argument I have heard made before. I have also heard that our supplements would fall under some UN guidelines if we start going with other guidelines, and I believe that UN is a joke and does very little for all the money they take in, no "teeth" to them

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