Sunday, February 8, 2015

Are your supplements fake or real?

For those who take supplements, this week’s story should be of interest.   The New York Times and others have reported four of our nation’s top retailers have been selling you fake herbal supplements.  A number of the herbal supplements contained NONE of the herbs listed on the label.  Some of the fake ingredients are not harmful but some are.  The New York Attorney General’s office is the one that discovered herbal supplements may not contain what the label claims.

What stores are involved in this scandal?  Target, Walmart, GNC and Walgreens
What herbal supplements are affected and what fake ingredients are in the supplements?  The New York Times provides a detailed list:
Target – Up and Up brand
  •  St.  John’s Wort – no herb but garlic, rice and some dracaena which is a tropical houseplant 
  • Gingko Biloba – none found but garlic, rice, mung
  • Valerian Root –  No root found but allium, bean, asparagus, pea family, rice, wild carrot and saw palmetto
Walgreens, Finest Nutrition Brand
  • St. John’s Wort – none found, contained garlic, rice and dracaena
  • Ginseng – none found, found garlic and rice
  • Echinacea – none found, contained garlic, rice and daisy
GNC, Herbal Plus brand
  • St. John’s Wort – none found.  Allium (garlic), dracaena and rice
  • Ginseng – none found, rice, pine, wheat/grass, citrus and dracaena
Walmart, Spring Valley Brand
  • St. John’s Wort – none found, contained cassava, garlic, and rice
  • Ginseng – none found, wheat/grass, citrus, pine, rice, dracaena
According to an article in WebMD, Walgreens indicated they would remove the products from its stores nationwide.  GNC will cooperate with the investigation but stands behind its products.  Target has no comment.   Times reported it is the first time that large retail and drugstore chains in the US have been threatened with legal action for selling misleading herbal products.  For more details read the sources listed.
Sources:   Retailers Accused of Selling Fake Supplements,  What's in Those Supplements? -,  Image source:  Herbal Supplements

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