Dec 15 2015

Contaminants Found in 92% of TCM Herbal Products

Chinese-herbs4A new study out of Australia looked at 26 different Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) products purchased from stores. They performed three types of analysis: heavy metal screening, toxicological analysis, and DNA sequencing. They found that 92% of the products tested had at least one type of contaminant.

This adds to a growing list of studies and revelations about how poorly the supplement industry is regulated, and raises further concerns about the overall quality of herbal and supplement products.

A 2008 study found that about 20% of ayurvedic herbal products contained heavy metal contamination, often at levels high enough to be toxic. 

A 2013 study published in the BMC found that:

“Although we were able to authenticate almost half (48%) of the products, one-third of these also contained contaminants and or fillers not listed on the label. Product substitution occurred in 30/44 of the products tested and only 2/12 companies had products without any substitution, contamination or fillers.”

A 2014 study published in JAMA found that half of the product recalled by the FDA for being adulterated with banned drugs were dietary supplements, including up to one third of products purchased online. Further, when the FDA followed up they found that 6 months after they had issued a recall for adulterated supplements, two-thirds were still on the market and still contained the banned drugs.

 

These studies and other incidents have raised concerns among some regulators that the self-regulating “honor system” that is currently in place for supplements in most countries perhaps is not working as intended.

This new study is likely to add fuel to the fire. To go into more detail, they found:

Genetic analysis revealed that 50% of samples contained DNA of undeclared plant or animal taxa, including an endangered species of Panthera (snow leopard). In 50% of the TCMs, an undeclared pharmaceutical agent was detected including warfarin, dexamethasone, diclofenac, cyproheptadine and paracetamol. Mass spectrometry revealed heavy metals including arsenic, lead and cadmium, one with a level of arsenic >10 times the acceptable limit.

None of this should be surprising to anyone who has been paying attention to the supplement industry and its critics. TCM has long incorporated animal products into their magical potions, including products from endangered species. Rhino horn, tiger bones, and bear gallbladder are common ingredients. This tradition is based largely on the notion of sympathetic magic, or the notion of a life force. Some essence or aspect of the animal is hoped to be conferred by consuming it.

Heavy metal contamination may have two sources – accidental contamination from poor production methods, and deliberate adulteration for alleged health benefits. Regardless of the source, these exist in some samples at high enough doses to cause toxicity.

The third category of contaminants is the most telling – deliberate adulteration with pharmaceuticals. This suggests that the producers of these TCM products are not sincere. They don’t really believe in their magic, and are cheating by including drugs that actually work, or at least create the illusion of working. For example, it is common to include a stimulant, like ephedrine, in herbal supplements to give the consumer a quick buzz that will convince them the product is working.

This, of course, is a serious danger, especially since these drug ingredients are not listed on the label. From the list above, diclofenac should not be taken by people with kidney problems. Warfarin is a blood thinner and should only be taken under close monitoring to manage the risk of severe bleeding. Dexamethasone is a steroid that can have many side effects, especially if taken chronically.

Response from Proponents

The response from proponents in the herbal supplement industry or TCM industry has always been, essentially, “Nah ah.” Really, that’s it, naked denial. They have sometimes challenged the methods used in the analysis, but not convincingly.

This case is no exception:

National President of the Federation of Chinese Medicine Society of Australia Professor Tzi Chiang Lin said he did not believe such findings would be widespread across the industry.

“Of course, there are some people … that are not that good and they might be making something not very nicely,” he said.

“[But you] can not [put] blame on the whole profession, it will be one or two individuals. It may be one or two cases [that have] happened, but not many,” he said.

Professor Lin said the TGA’s current regulatory regime is “perfect”.

The study did not show that contamination was the exception, it showed that it is the rule – 92% of products had some form of contamination, 50% were deliberately adulterated with drugs.

Of course the industry thinks that current regulation is “perfect” because they basically have a free ride. They are free to commit fraud without consequence.

As I have written before, when regulations allow an industry to sell fake products with fake claims and little oversight, based largely on the honor system, it should not surprise anyone that the industry attracts con artists.

Conclusion

This new study from Australia is not an isolated study, but one of a chain of published research that shows serious problems in the international supplement industry. Contamination, adulteration, product substitution, and inaccurate labeling are rife within the industry.

In addition, there is precious little evidence that any of these products, even as advertised, are of any health benefit. So essentially we have billions of dollars wasted for risk without any real benefit.

They have survived largely by flying below the regulatory radar. They do this because their collective marketing campaign has convinced the public and regulators that supplements are safe because they are “natural” or because they have been in long traditional use. Neither of these assumptions are warranted.

The perception of low risk has also led to a regulatory environment that essentially is based on self report and the honor system.

What regulators and the public need to know is that reality is very different from what they have been sold. The industry is largely based on lies and deception. That their products are “natural,” “ancient,” or “traditional” is meaningless and should not be a substitute for effective regulation.

We are beginning to see a glimmer of recognition of these facts.

34 responses so far

34 Responses to “Contaminants Found in 92% of TCM Herbal Products”

  1. John Danleyon 15 Dec 2015 at 10:11 am

    So, let me get this straight, you’re saying that herbal nail polish remover doesn’t cure asthma?

  2. Lukas Xavieron 15 Dec 2015 at 10:26 am

    I think it’s important to note that even if you think that such remedies work, it’s still a fact that the current state of regulation is insufficient to ensure patient safety.

  3. Lane Simonianon 15 Dec 2015 at 10:55 am

    I see: fear-mongering about herbal supplements is acceptable, but fear-mongering about GMOs is not.

    Who puts heavy metals in herbal supplements for alleged health purposes? What are the alleged health benefits of heavy metals? Some of the problem is the use of pesticides on herbs or herbs grown near crops on which pesticides are used. Some of it is gross negligence. Fillers are cheating people; in most cases they are not a health threat.

    The majority of GMOs and herbal supplements may likely be safe, but you have to evaluate each on a case by case basis. What are the genetic modifications? What are the contaminants in the herbal supplement? A broad brush by either side illuminates nothing.

    I for one think that supplements should be better regulated and tested: not to crush the supplement industry but to ensure the safety of their products. And there should also be a carrot. Provide the financial resources to test these supplements for efficacy and safety to see which ones work and which ones don’t. Otherwise what you get is the argument that all supplements are both dangerous and ineffective. Where does the fear come from that a few may be both safe and effective?

  4. Steven Novellaon 15 Dec 2015 at 11:08 am

    Lane – there is no analogy between supplements and GMOs.

    The study here shows – 92% were contaminated. 50% were adulterated with unlisted drugs. Other studies that I link to also show that contamination and adulteration are rampant. It is no longer reasonable to assume that most herbal supplements are safe. This is not fear-mongering – the data is pretty clear.

    With GMOs – there is no known risk. The fear mongering is about the unknown or the unnatural, not about documented risks. At best they point to highly flawed and cherry-picked studies.

    Some traditional herbalism believes that certain heavy metals have medicinal properties. This is more ayurvedic than TCM. I also pointed out that accidental contamination is another source. The source, however, is irrelevant to the safety issue.

    You agree the industry should be better regulated, so not sure what you are actually arguing against.

    I also think regulation should include some measure of efficacy, which herbal products generally lack. I never said anything that could be construed as arguing that no herbal supplement is safe or effective, and I certainly have no fear of this. I just think they should be studied and properly regulated.

    The industry makes billions, I think they can afford to pay for their own research.

  5. Lane Simonianon 15 Dec 2015 at 11:54 am

    I only disagree with you around the edges. For example, 92% were contaminated–contaminated with what: heavy metals, hair, plant cellulose? The 20 percent figure regarding ayurvedic medicine for heavy metals is much more specific and alarming. But how do these figures compare to herbal supplements produced in the United States (I know the studies showing adulteration, but with what degree of harm)?

    I would have to look through each and every GMO to evaluate your statement that there is no known risk. Maybe the key word is known. If a plant is being modified to increase the uptake of pesticides and/or its adjuvants then that is a scientific discussion that is still being had.

    I suppose in regards to the supplement industry, it is cheaper to make unsubstantiated claims than to actually test those claims, since in most cases your product cannot be patented and everyone else benefits from the money you invested. And the number of times that you are wrong is not likely to make up for the number of times that you are right.

  6. Ivan Groznyon 15 Dec 2015 at 12:02 pm

    If they mix certain potentially harmful drugs with their products without disclosing it that is a fraud. You don’t need economic regulation and new legislation to sanction fraud and false advertising.

  7. Steven Novellaon 15 Dec 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Lane – 92% had either unlisted animal parts, drugs, or heavy metals. That is right in the paper, and my discussion.

    50% had undisclosed drugs.
    20 of 25 samples had at least one of the three heavy metals tested for at greater than accepted limits.

    GMOs do need to be evaluated individually. Those on the market today have all been extensively tested. The review process is more extensive than for any other agricultural product. You can mutate the hell out of a plant and not have to go through the same review process as a carefully designed GMO.

    Ivan – You are technically correct, but that misses the point. At present there is no pre-market review required, and information is provided voluntarily by the industry. Sure, when fraud is discovered existing laws can deal with it, but the current regulatory framework does not allow for its discovery. This study was performed independently by scientists. It is scientists who are raising the alarm, while regulators are asleep at the switch.

  8. pdeboeron 15 Dec 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Lane,

    TCM in general does not test claims, or do novel research. They rely on intuitive or traditional recipes. If they did do research and discovered a pharmaceutical agent, they could patent it and sell it, once they purify it and show its efficacy. That is called science and the pharmaceutical industry.

  9. Ekkoon 15 Dec 2015 at 12:40 pm

    A few points on this: regulations vary from country to country so it’s hard to make sweeping generalizations. This latest study on TCM found that 92% of 26 TCM products in Australia were contaminated with heavy metals. How representative are these 26 TCM products of global supplements? Of supplements in Australia?

    From my Canadian perspective, I think the regulations are fine – they set out detailed criteria for quality testing that includes heavy metals, microbiological contamination, etc. Enforcement of the regulations is a different issue and is often lacking – which often comes down to lack of funding unfortunately.

    A lot of the product recalls in Canada for supplements tend to be imported/foreign products that are contaminated with heavy metals or drugs. Recalls happen regularly – there’ve been 599 for supplements going back to 2005, but obviously they don’t catch everything coming in to the country. I don’t think these are representative of products manufactured in GMP facilities in North America and approved/licensed before release though. Looking through the recalls they are almost always no-name type foreign/imported ones you’ve never heard of. They are like the equivalent of buying drugs from dodgy online pharmacies that solicit by junk email. Indian and Chinese labs have been targeted in the past couple years by FDA inspections because of poor quality and adulterations of pharmaceuticals exported to the US. I think most countries have the regulations in place, they just need the power to be able to enforce them better.

  10. Lane Simonianon 15 Dec 2015 at 12:50 pm

    Which is exactly what Tuyouyou did for malaria.

    Here are two more examples:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21272180

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22780999

    The challenge is not with natural products that can be synthesized into medicines; it is with natural products that may have medicinal value that are not fully tested in part because they cannot be patented.

    Dr. Novella, you may end up being correct on GMOs but I think that you have reached a conclusion before all the evidence is in or before the contradictory evidence has been entirely refuted.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23000283

  11. steve12on 15 Dec 2015 at 12:50 pm

    ” You don’t need economic regulation and new legislation to sanction fraud and false advertising.”

    The Philosophy is the precious! The precious must be preserved above all else!!!!

  12. Teaseron 15 Dec 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Conclusion

    This new study from GMO Free USA is not an isolated study, but one of a chain of published research that shows serious problems in the international GMO industry. Contamination, adulteration, product substitution, and inaccurate labeling are rife within the industry.

    In addition, there is precious little evidence that any of these products, even as advertised, are of any health benefit. So essentially we have billions of dollars wasted for risk without any real benefit.

    They have survived largely by flying below the regulatory radar. They do this because their collective marketing campaign has convinced the public and regulators that supplements are safe because they are “natural” or because they have been in long traditional use. Neither of these assumptions are warranted.

    The perception of low risk has also led to a regulatory environment that essentially is based on self report and the honor system. ]

    What regulators and the public need to know is that reality is very different from what they have been sold. The industry is largely based on lies and deception. That their products are “natural,” “ancient,” or “traditional” is meaningless and should not be a substitute for effective regulation.

    We are beginning to see a glimmer of recognition of these facts.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    In 2014, Kashi posted about $500 million in sales.

    Kellogg’s Kashi Cereal Tests Positive for Probable Human Carcinogen and GMOs
    PLEASE NOTE: The box of Kashi GoLean Original we tested was NOT verified by the Non-GMO Project. While this product has been subsequently verified by the Non-GMO Project, there are still boxes which have not been verified on store shelves. In addition, we release the results of these tests because there are still other unverified products in the Kashi line that likely contain similar ingredients.

    According to the Kashi website: “Progressive nutrition is our approach to food. It means we value whole food and put the inherent nutrition of food first when considering every ingredient. It means we make our food with a plants-first mindset. It means we value not just the foods we make, but how we make them by being mindful of sustainable and ethical farming practices.”

    We sent a box of of Kashi GoLean Original cereal that was NOT verified by the Non-GMO Project to independent labs for testing to find out if Kashi is true to their word.

    TEST RESULTS: GLYPHOSATE

    Glyphosate is the active chemical ingredient in Roundup herbicide as well as many other name brand glyphosate-based herbicides. These herbicides are the most widely used in the world and their use has increased exponentially with the introduction of GM crops. In response to agrichemical industry requests, the EPA has incrementally increased the allowable tolerance levels of glyphosate residues in crops since their introduction into our food supply.

    A glyphosate residue test was conducted by an accredited lab using the Specific LC/MS/MS testing method with a minimum detectable level of 0.02 ppm. The test documented the presence of glyphosate in the box of Kashi GoLean Original which was not verified by the Non-GMO Project, at a level of 0.68 ppm, or 0.68 mg/kg. This level is nearly 6 times higher than the levels detected in the independent testing we commissioned on Froot Loops. The test also documented the presence of AMPA (aminomethylphosphonic acid), a metabolite of glyphosate, at an even higher level of 0.81ppm or 0.81mg/kg. This is the first time the lab has documented the presence of AMPA in the products we’ve had tested. The test results give significant reason for concern. There is a growing body of scientific evidence (4) that links glyphosate to health and environmental harm.

    http://www.gmofreeusa.org/food-testing/kelloggs/kashi-golean-original/

  13. Steven Novellaon 15 Dec 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Lane – many of the popular herbal products have been tested by the NIH or academics, and mostly have been found to be worthless. Since herbs are drugs, it is certainly possible that there are unpurified herbs that have some medicinal effect. However, if you look at all the evidence in the context of current regulation, the probability of being harmed by a random herbal product is probably much greater than the probability of being helped. Most likely nothing will happen and you’re just wasting your money.

    There can always be unknown risks. That is not enough to oppose a product or technology. We need to make a rational risk vs benefit assessment and confidence assessment based on available evidence. Having reviewed the evidence quite extensively, I see no particular reason to think there are risks from GMOs, and there is sufficient evidence to conclude that current ones are safe. Every major scientific organization in the world that has looked at the issue agrees. If that is not enough for you, then what is?

    Teaser – that was incoherent, even for you.

  14. BBBlueon 15 Dec 2015 at 1:58 pm

    Teaser,

    FDA established tolerance for glyphosate including its metabolites and degradates on grain (group 15) is 30 ppm. The occurrence of glyphosate residues on grain crops is well known. The FDA and USDA are very transparent in disclosing what pesticide residues may be found on food and there is no credible evidence that indicates current residue limits are inadequate for the protection of consumer health. You may not believe that there is any such thing as a safe pesticide residue on food, but the presence of those residues or GMO content in food is certainly not a deceit or equivalent to what has been described for contaminants found in supplements, which are virtually unregulated.

  15. hammyrexon 15 Dec 2015 at 4:08 pm

    GMOs are not supplements. A lot of the issues in regards to pesticides apply to the entire agricultural industry. In contrast, supplements currently enjoy a privileged regulatory space that is unheard of compared to the rest of the industry (e.g., pharmaceuticals). One party is arguing that regulation of supplements should be the same as for the rest of the industry (or, at least have any regulation at all), whereas one party is arguing that GMOs need especially stringent regulation in comparison to other biotechnology for no other reason than a serious case of “the feelies”

    Very poor analogy, though I’m not surprised people jumped on it so quickly.

  16. RCon 15 Dec 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Reading that, “GMO-Free-USA” sounds like a foodbabe-style protection racket – they harass you and publish articles until you pay them to certify you with some sort of nonsense certification.

  17. Lane Simonianon 15 Dec 2015 at 8:59 pm

    A contrarian point of view:

    A broad community of independent scientific researchers and scholars challenges recent claims of a consensus over the safety of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). In the following joint statement, the claimed consensus is shown to be an artificial construct that has been falsely perpetuated through diverse fora. Irrespective of contradictory evidence in the refereed literature, as documented below, the claim that there is now a consensus on the safety of GMOs continues to be widely and often uncritically aired. For decades, the safety of GMOs has been a hotly controversial topic that has been much debated around the world. Published results are contradictory, in part due to the range of different research methods employed, an inadequacy of available procedures, and differences in the analysis and interpretation of data. Such a lack of consensus on safety is also evidenced by the agreement of policymakers from over 160 countries – in the UN’s Cartagena Biosafety Protocol and the Guidelines of the Codex Alimentarius – to authorize careful case-by-case assessment of each GMO by national authorities to determine whether the particular construct satisfies the national criteria for ‘safe’

    http://www.enveurope.com/content/pdf/s12302-014-0034-1.pdf

  18. RickKon 15 Dec 2015 at 10:57 pm

    Lane,

    Do you support supplement manufacturers right to put anything they wish into their products?
    Do you believe supplements should be free of regulatory oversight?
    Do you think it is acceptable to market products made from critically endangered species?
    Finally, did you read the study featured in this blog post?

    Or, do you consider this whole topic irrelevant because It’s not about GMOs?

  19. jsterritton 15 Dec 2015 at 11:41 pm

    Lane…

    How/why you hijacked this post into a lesson in GMO illiteracy is a question of manners, but here we are. Thank you for providing the above object lesson in bad science, cherry picking, and propaganda. The report you link to is from, naturally enough, the zero impact factor pay-for-play journal where Seralini republished his infamous garbage study on the effects of brutalizing rats. Unsurprisingly that same garbage paper is the “discussion’s” very first citation. The rest of the citations are curiouser and curiouser: many are from articles and blog posts merely quoting people using the term “consensus” (these are largely from “pro-GMO” sources). In fact, of the 53 citations, only a smattering in any way support the view that there isn’t a consensus on GMO safety. Of these, they are the same dozen of poor or exploratory studies invoked ad nauseam by cranks like Dona and Arvanitoyannis, psychopaths like Vandana Shiva, and the rest of the fake scientists usual suspects of ENSSER who penned this latest piece of “sophisticated nonsense,” cleverly formatted to resemble that which it isn’t (a research article). I am not surprised you were duped — I mean, soooo many footnotes!

    Your “broad community of independent scientific researchers and scholars” (aka the single-issue zealots of ENSSER) are manipulative, sneaky, ideologically-motivated science deniers. They cannot make an argument using science, so they prattle on about trade guidelines and are hoisted with their own petard of red herrings, appeals to popularity, and logical inconsistency.

    What kind of “scientists” try to trick people into believing things!? (Answer: not good ones.)

  20. Lane Simonianon 16 Dec 2015 at 12:13 am

    RickK, you already know that my answers to your questions are no. I believe that greater regulation of supplements is needed. But the tone of your questions and the blog suggest that these are widespread problems in the supplement industry and that comes very close to fear mongering.

    jsterritt, it is never good to demonize your opponents. That their views may not correspond with yours is not a reason for lashing out. I will reiterate the point that I and the authors make: you have to evaluate each GMO on a case by case basis to determine safety.

    The connection between supplements and GMOs is this: the safety of neither is a sure thing. You cannot take the word of supplement manufacturers and their supporters that all supplements are safe (most probably are safe although only a few may be effective for specific conditions) just as you cannot take the word of all engaged in GMOs or their supporters that they are perfectly safe.

  21. hammyrexon 16 Dec 2015 at 12:31 am

    >You cannot take the word of supplement manufacturers and their supporters that all supplements are safe (most probably are safe although only a few may be effective for specific conditions) just as you cannot take the word of all engaged in GMOs or their supporters that they are perfectly safe.

    And yet one is regulated and one is not.

  22. Lane Simonianon 16 Dec 2015 at 12:47 am

    Most medications are also regulated and yet people can still die from them. People take too much comfort in thinking that if something is regulated it has to be safe.

  23. hammyrexon 16 Dec 2015 at 12:47 am

    >A contrarian point of view:

    I think we’re all aware of what the stance of an anti-GMO organization would have on GMOs. Policy statements are not evidence… they are policy statements.

    The very first reference made is to Séralini hilarious 2012 paper, in which he demonstrated mice fed GMO corn are capable of getting cancer. It was truly ground-breaking research.

    You sure know how to pick ’em.

  24. hammyrexon 16 Dec 2015 at 12:52 am

    Correction: I typed mice, but of course people familiar with the study know it was rats. I should know, since I did work with the same strain during my graduate school days and found tumors on them all the time during terminal surgery 🙂

  25. Lane Simonianon 16 Dec 2015 at 1:36 am

    One last study for tonight and for quite awhile as it is grading time.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24762670

  26. The Sparrowon 16 Dec 2015 at 2:40 am

    I can honestly say this is one of the most surprising and ridiculous derailments of a comment section I have ever seen in my life. Does anyone at all understand how the topic of GMO safety got brought up, and why we are indulging self-admitted contrarians over it?

  27. SteveAon 16 Dec 2015 at 7:25 am

    Lane Simonian: “One last study for tonight and for quite awhile as it is grading time.”

    ‘Grading’?

    I hope he/she makes a living by selling bagged gravel. The alternative is horrifying….

  28. jsterritton 16 Dec 2015 at 7:56 am

    So once again, ENSSER rehashes their lying screed about GMOs and “publishes” a fake “journal article” trying to trick people into thinking that anything less than 100% unanimity on a topic not only negates a consensus, but makes that topic “hotly controversial.”

    And with one giant, stupid hand-wave, Lane has elevated the bogus claims of criminal supplement hucksters — and deposed all of science — to an imagined equal footing.

    Scientific consensus on GMO safety remains at 99%, although that and Lane’s 1% (of junk science, false positives, and outliers) do average out to 50%. You can’t have false balance without innumeracy!

  29. Sylakon 16 Dec 2015 at 10:19 am

    We can guess that if this was published on SBM, the first comment would be by our beloved Stan the supplements shill. Lol. One thing that disgust me the most about TCM is the whole endangered species organs harvesting. When belief has a impact like than, it’s time to flush it. 92%, so ridiculous. And when people say their supplements work, maybe they are… Because there’s drug in it! That’s so dangerous, you could be taking something no recommend for you. Scary.

  30. Pete Aon 16 Dec 2015 at 10:58 am

    Sylak, even more scary: a drug or herb that interacts with medication that has been prescribed by a physician. Belief in TCM is akin to a belief that playing Russian roulette prevents and cures illness. However, only the latter is guaranteed to work (eventually).
    http://www.ebm-first.com/traditional-chinese-medicine-tcm.html
    http://skepdic.com/tcm.html

  31. Karl Withakayon 16 Dec 2015 at 11:14 am

    ” You can mutate the hell out of a plant and not have to go through the same review process as a carefully designed GMO. ”

    Yup. It’s surprising how pretty much none of the GMO opponents seem to be aware of mutagenic breeding. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutation_breeding

    Mutation breeding is far more uncontrolled and chaotic than the very controlled, specific, targeted changes made to GMO crops.

    Mutagenically bred crops are allowed in certified Organic products, and nobody seems to be wailing and gnashing their teeth.

  32. BBBlueon 16 Dec 2015 at 11:17 am

    Can we please get back to the subject of climate change now?

  33. ccbowerson 17 Dec 2015 at 9:11 am

    “Most medications are also regulated and yet people can still die from them. People take too much comfort in thinking that if something is regulated it has to be safe.”

    I have no idea why people find this argument compelling, and some people must because I keep hearing it. It is nirvana fallacy to create a false equivalence. No one is saying that regulations guarantee no harm from products that are regulated.

    That is not the argument, nor addressing the relevant question. To be approved, medications have to demonstrate safety AND efficacy AND purity AND stability, among other things. Supplements have to demonstrate none of that. So, let’s avoid the simplistic black-and-white thinking (GOP debate aside), and realize that we are dealing with risks, and a largely unregulated industry filled with largely worthless, contaminated products is a problem. It carries risk with almost no expectation of benefit. Pointing to a highly regulated industry (regulated drugs) that helps millions, and improves peoples’ lives, because it is a flawed industry with imperfect regulations, does not excuse the inexcusable way we regulate supplements.

  34. Sylakon 18 Dec 2015 at 7:27 pm

    Peter A. And often people using “natural” stuff might not even tell there doctors, so the doctor can’t even predict interactions. Because of the positive bias people have of those pseudo natural drugs. But the grapefruit is a excellent example of natural compound having terrible interaction. So if there’s is drug in it… We Need to regulated them.

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