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How Safe Are your Supplements?


Recently, the news headlines have been pretty rough on herbs. From accusations of mislabeling to questions about concentrations, herbal supplements have been bearing the brunt of hostility from the public, investigations from Health Canada, and recalls from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

However, according to leading health experts, the herbal criticism isn’t completely unfounded. With Americans spending roughly $5 billion per year on herbal products to fight everything from aging to colds, a new onslaught of “buyer beware” headlines and safety tips concerning herbal supplements have emerged…

1. Supplements with Unlisted Ingredients

This week an investigation by Health Canada revealed that several Herbal Plus supplements, sold by GNC stores in the U.S. and Canada might not be exactly what they claim to be. The findings led to a cease-and-desist letters issued to four New York-based retailers—including Walmart, GNC, Target, and Walgreens.

Further DNA barcoding studies conducted by the New York Attorney General’s Office discovered that the Herbal Plus-branded Echinacea, ginkgo biloba, saw palmetto, ginseng, and St. John’s wort didn’t contain the as advertised ingredients while many actually included unlisted ingredients. GNC claims total compliance with U.S. and Canadian regulations as investigations continue.

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