Tag Archives: Nutrition label

What Supplements Are Safe?

Think about the supplements in the grocery stores; they have rows with enticing prices and odd labels. But where do these supplements come from? Who is responsible for the quality control? When it comes to grocery store supplements the answer is more muddled than it should be. Taking a closer look at the companies and what kind of quality control they use is one way to make sure you know what you are buying. Here is yet another great thought provoking message from Dr. Stephen Chaney. (Tips from The Professor: Who’s Testing Your Supplements?)

It’s so tempting…

You’ve been getting your supplements from a company that you know and trust – a company that does clinical studies on their products and performs rigorous quality controls.

You know their products are pure, safe and effective


You’re shopping in your favorite drug store or discount store and you see the same supplements for just a couple of dollars!

You can’t help thinking…

“Wow! Here’s the same stuff I’ve been taking for a lot less money”…”Why not save my money?”…”They must have run some quality control tests on their products”…

“After all, how bad can they be?”

The answer is – pretty bad!

The events of 2010 illustrate just how bad.

On March 2nd, 2010 the makers and sellers of fish oil supplements were sued by the Mateel Environmental Justice Foundation in California for not telling consumers that their products contained toxic levels of PCBs.

Toxic chemical–PCBs

It is amusing and somewhat scary that the FDA did not initiate this action and force the manufacturers to take their contaminated products off the shelves. Instead an environmental consumers group had to sue them for not including PCBs on the label! They sued them under California proposition 65 which requires a warning label whenever a product contains toxic ingredients.

 The defendants in this lawsuit were Omega Protein, a Houston-based company that is the world’s largest producer of omega-3 fish oil, and the many companies that they produced fish oil for – companies like Rite Aid, CVS, GNC, Now Health Group, Pharmavite, Solgar and Twinlab.

And those aren’t the only ones. The Mateel Environmental Justice Foundation only tested 10 omega-3 supplements manufactured by Omega Protein to date and have found PCBs in all of them. They plan to continue testing and to add other companies to the lawsuit if their products are also contaminated.

Even scarier is that many of labels on these products said that the omega-3 supplement was treated to reduce or remove PCBs. As a consumer you were lead to believe that they were safe! The bottom line is that the manufacturer probably didn’t test for PCBs and neither did the companies selling their omega-3 supplements to the consumer. The alternative – that they tested the products, knew that they were contaminated with PCBs and sold them to the public anyway – is even worse.

Salmonella Poisoning

As if that weren’t scary enough the FDA announced a massive recall of products containing textured vegetable protein manufactured by a company called Basic Food Flavors because of salmonella contamination.

The problem is that there are at least 56 different kinds of consumer products containing this company’s textured vegetable protein – including salad dressings, dips, packaged snacks, potato chips and soup mixes (Who knew that salad dressings contained textured vegetable protein?). That means that this recall will be huge. It will affect many foods that most people buy and use every day. Once again, the problem is that neither the manufacturer nor the companies using the textured vegetable protein had run the basic quality control assays that would have detected salmonella contamination.

So what can you do as a consumer? Here are some recommendations:

1) Get your supplements from an established company with a reputation for quality and integrity. It is recommended choosing a company that has been around for a number of years so that you know that their reputation is based on their track record over the years rather than just on hype.

2) Make sure that they run rigorous quality controls on their products. It  is recommended choosing a company that requires pharmaceutical grade quality controls on their products.

3) Make sure that they have published clinical studies on their products that prove both safety and effectiveness. Again it would recommend choosing a company that has many published clinical studies on their products rather than just one or two.


Not all supplements are created equal!

Knowing what is in your dietary supplements is just as important as the supplement you take. In the news today there are scares about the safety of many dietary supplements on the store shelves especially with omega-3 fish oils; how do you avoid being caught up in the mayhem?

As the case of fish oil supplements above and other “natural” products have caused many people to stop and wonder what they are buying. The grocery and food store supplements boast low prices but what are you really getting for that lower cost? Mostly nothing at all! The active ingredients in most are of low quality and strength or the pill’s delivery system does not allow it to dissolve in the body properly.

Calcium supplements bought in the store come out looking like they did going in; not one thing was done for your body. Supplements on those shelves do not necessarily do either what they claim or what you think they may do by virtue of their name. Vitamin E is a strong antioxidant and you expect that all vitamin E tablets and nutrition would be the same; this could be said with any specific vitamin or mineral. This is just not the case.

The truth is not all supplements are created equal. Quality control and testing are different from company to company. While there are federal and moral standards in place it seems that bad products still get through to store shelves. It seems quality control is not a major priority for most of the companies who sell these products; if they would have tested their products then they would have known of the high levels of PCBs.

It seems that in the fish-oil supplement cases, the manufacturer did NOT test their own products before putting them in their bottles and allowing them to be sold. This begs another question; why has the FDA, who has all the laws in place giving them the power to prevent this from happening, allowed these products to be put on the shelves to begin with?

Shaklee supplement label–you can trust everything write there!

Finding a company who prides themselves upon quality control and testing for their products is the only way to ensure that you are getting and can trust everything printed on the bottle. Companies and products with patents means that no other company can use the exact same ingredients in the exact same concentration or mixture; which means that one product could have better reliability than others that claim either the same thing or something similar.

We see this all the time with generic brands. Using some generic brands of pain relievers and other medications are just fine and as good as the name brand. When dealing with other products however, a lesser company cannot possibly put in all the effective ingredients as the original, especially if that original company has a patent.

What does this mean for Shaklee users? You can be assured that what you see and read on the label is what you get. Shaklee goes to the extreme for quality control and testing, going so far as to bring in third party testing laboratories and getting patents on their products.

“Harmony with nature” for over 50 years


There is no other company goes through so much to be so effective. This is second nature to Shaklee; inspired by the founder of the company, Dr. Shaklee, to be in harmony with nature in everything they do. What is even better yet is that they do not stop at one milestone; they keep going and have been doing so for over 50 years.

Dietary supplement safety and environmental protection are the core beliefs behind every Shaklee product. That is why unlike so many other companies, Shaklee offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Bottom line is that you can be comfortable with every Shaklee product you bring into your home to be as effective and powerful as the bottle says. Shaklee has published in many peer reviewed journals and other publications and have been confident enough to send their products to third party testers to be sure of their results. Plus, they do not hesitate to announce it.

Good news should be spread. And Shaklee is the best news of all for those looking for a safe reputable dietary supplement among their other many outstanding products.

Why reading and understanding nutrition label is so important?

A typical nutrition label

Nutrition labels are on every nutritional supplement that you buy in the pharmacy or health food stores. Many people take these labels for granted and never really pay attention to the information that is given there. Learning how to read the information is important, but knowing what the information means is vital to your health and well-being.

On each nutrition label, you will find serving size information, calories from fat, total fat contained in the serving, and all of your vitamins and minerals that are contained in the product. These items allow you to make the proper choice of whether or not an item is worth buying or if you should pass on it and move on to another item that has more nutritional value.

Perhaps you wonder: What is so difficult to read and compare those nutrition labels? Why cannot directly buy nutritional supplements with maximum nutrition but with minimal money? Things are not so simple. We must consider the balance and amount of nutrition provided, and to ensure that all important nutrition is supplied. The information which is not provided in label is as important as the information provided on the label.

Sound confuses? Huh, Okay, take an example: Consider the following two labels, which one do you think is better?  Label sample A or sample B?

If you are only comparing the vitamin quantity of two nutritional supplements, no doubt, sample B will be selected. Sample B provides more vitamin B1 (THIAMINE), B2 (RIBOFLAVIN), NIACIN and the same amount of vitamins B6, B12, and B5 (PANTOTHENIC ACID). Here are the reasons why you should read and understand the meaning of words between the lines. Sample B lack two basic vitamins: FOLIC ACID and BIOTIN, they simply not listed there! These are two important vitamins that a multivitamin must have! Only  sample A can be called multivitamin, because it contains the above-mentioned two important vitamins.

Have you noticed that sample B is called “High potency B vitamin supplements?” If the sample B does not provide FOLIC ACID and BIOTIN simply because of these ingredients are expensive, but guess why sample B provide high amount of vitamin B1 (THIAMINE), B2 (RIBOFLAVIN) and NIACIN? We should suspected sample B which provides such amount of  vitamins. Is it simply because they are cheaper and enables consumers to buy cheap goods? Furthermore, B15 (CHOLINE), INOSITOL and PABA which not yet have recommended dosage, are included in the label, isn’t it there to make it appear more attractive?

Sample B is a highly unbalanced B vitamins nutritional supplement. It is not only a wrong purchase decision, even if you have free access to the nutritional supplements, I advise you not to take! If you often take such unbalanced nutritional supplements, you might relative lack of others vitamin B, anyone still wants to buy sample B? Sample A, which should be our choice of nutritional supplements. It is balanced to provide the right amount of each vitamin B.

Reading and understanding the nutrition label as you can see is very important, but knowing exactly what it is telling you is more important. Take a look at the items you have at home and you may discover some surprises as you sort through your pantry. Buying a right nutritional supplement should be an important goal for anyone who plans on living a healthier lifestyle. If you are having problems with your diet, check the nutrition labels of the products you buy.

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