As reported by the New York Times- On February 2, 2015, the New York State Attorney General’s office accused GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart of selling fraudulent and potentially dangerous herbal supplements and demanded that they remove the products from their shelves.

After testing their herbal supplements, they found that four out of five of the products did not contain any of the herbs listed on their labels.   At Walgreens, they found that their ginseng pills contained only garlic and rice.  Walmart’s ginkgo biloba was found to contain no more than powdered radish, houseplants and wheat (even though the label claimed it was gluten free).  

Target’s brand of ginkgo biloba, St. John’s wort and valerian root tested negative for the herbs on their labels. Instead they contained beans, peas, and wild carrots. At GNC, pills contained  unlisted ingredients like powdered legumes, the class of plants that includes peanuts and soybeans, which are known allergens.

It’s scary to think that you believe you are buying one thing, but are in reality purchasing something totally different.  Even something that you can be allergic to.  One warning flag to look out for is a supplement that is “identical to”, but much cheaper than another brand.  In light of the attorney general’s findings, we see exactly why it is so much cheaper.  When it comes to herbs one part of the leaf may be more potent than the other part of the leaf.  Often the cheaper brands use the leftover less potent portion of the leaf.  The supplements sold at this office are professional grade high quality potent nutraceuticals that contain what they say they contain.  They may be a little more expensive than the GNC and Target brands, but you can buy in peace- knowing that you are actually getting what you pay for.

February 19, 2015