It's a $5 billion dollar industry and 1 in every 5 Americans are currently taking at least one supplement or vitamin. The scary part: it's still the wild west! A Canadian study that was published last fall found that 1/3 of the herbal supplements tested did not contain ANY of the main herbal ingredients listed on the label.
I'm so elated that the October issue of Vogue had a 4-page article called 'Hazardous Herbs: with adulteration commonplace and regulation minimal, how can we be sure herbal supplements really are what they say on the jar?' on the importance of finding quality supplements and visiting a naturopathic doctor to create a safe and effective protocol.
The supplement industry has little regulations which is very alarming considering how many people use them on a daily basis. As a naturopathic doctor, I always ask my patients what supplements they are currently taking and the brand. I only trust supplement companies that allow their products to be tested by outside agencies and have trusted suppliers for their ingredients.
Supplement Shopping Guide
- Make sure the product is standardized: (this means there is a set % of the active constituent in each bottle)
- Look at what part is used of the herb. Is it the root, leaf, bark, or flower? Each part has a very specific use but some companies might use the wrong part of a little bit of everything.
- How was the product harvest? Is it organic, was it harvested in a sustainable way, Is the plant endangered?
- Where was the product made? (the regulations are very different in each country)
- Do not self-prescribe supplements. Herbs, supplements, and vitamins can interact with many medications and even make some conditions worse so it is wise to meet with a professional before starting a new protocol.
If you enjoy navigating the store in-person find a Pharmaca near you. They have a naturopathic doctor working in each store to consult with patients on quality supplements.
If you would rather order supplements online visit my online apothecary which carries every clinical grade brand and can be shipped directly to your door!