From time to time over the past few years, I’ve bought vitamin and herbal supplements, stuff like ginseng for energy, ginko biloba for memory loss and echinacea to ward off colds – I’m not getting any younger and I figured my body needs all the help it can get. Ever the cautious consumer, I read reviews to find reliable brands and felt confident that I was buying the purest, most potent supplements available. Of course, I could not know for sure, since herbal and vitamin supplements are not regulated by the FDA, but the labels gave assurances of quality control “independently” verified.
As you must no doubt be aware, supplements are not cheap and are quite popular these days. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry. People believe the products work, and maybe they do…but CAVEAT EMPTOR: your favorite supplement may not contain the plant you thought you were taking. In an article posted on MarketWatch, DNA testing prompted by the New York Attorney General’s office determined that many of the supplements examined did not contain any botanical material, and almost 4 in 5 did not contain the ingredients listed on the label. Some of the contaminants and fillers found included rice, beans, wild carrots and houseplant. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather buy than swallow a houseplant, although my cat might think differently. And I’d rather eat a burrito wrapped in a flour tortilla than swallow a bite sized rice and bean burrito capsule. But that’s just me.