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Why Supplements Might Not Be as Healthy as You Think

Update Date: Jun 04, 2021 10:04 AM EDT
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Why Supplements Might Not Be as Healthy as You Think
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The supplement market rakes in millions of dollars every year. Some individuals swear by the supplements they're taking, which could be anything from Saint John's Wort to fish oil.

You have to wonder how well those supplements work because of what's in them, though, versus which ones work because of the placebo effect. Also, it could be there are some supplements on the market that don't even contain what they say they do. They might be something else entirely, or they may have additives that the packaging does not say.

For instance, you might see late-night commercials on TV advertising male enhancement pills or all kinds of other things. You may notice, though, if you look quickly at the fine print, that the FDA does not recognize or endorse these products.

The fact is that some supplements are not anywhere near as healthy and helpful as they claim. Let's delve into all this a little bit deeper.

How Many Herbal Supplements Are What They Claim to Be?

Not long ago, the Attorney General conducted a study that tested several herbal supplements. The study included some of the most recognized brands, including GNC, Walgreens, Target, and Walmart.

What the study discovered is alarming, to say the least. The researchers tested products meant to be garlic supplements, ginseng, Echinacea, and so forth. Only 21% of the supplements contained what they advertised.  

Think about that for a second. This means that of these major supplement brands, less than a quarter of those contained the substance the bottle advertised.

In addition, these supplements included all kinds of other substances. This same study turned up wheat, primrose, houseplant, citrus, beans, pine, and more.

What Can You Do About All This?

This story's moral seems simple enough. You should make doubly sure that the supplements you buy, assuming you take any, are actually what they claim to be. Most of the additives the study found will not harm you, but you're still not getting what you pay for, and many of these supplements cost quite a bit as well.

The first thing that's worth doing is checking into any company from which you buy supplements. Just because a manufacturer is mainstream, like Walmart or Target brand supplements, that does not mean you can necessarily trust them.

The real issue is that supplement fraud is very easy to get away with because many products make it to market with no FDA regulation. Also, just because one supplement batch has what it should, that does not mean the next one will.

You can go online and find any questionable supplements with a simple Google search. This study's results are there for all to see, and you owe it to yourself as a consumer to do so.

What Other Steps Can You Take?

It's also worth talking to your doctor about the supplements you take, whether you're popping a multivitamin every morning or something else. Your physician will probably have an opinion about which ones are safe and which are the most likely to be authentic.

You can also look for ones that the FDA approves. As we mentioned, some products make it to market that get past the FDA, and if that's the case, you can probably find out about that pretty easily by either checking the supplement maker's website or the FDA site.

The FDA does have quality standards, so if you can see on the package that you're buying something the agency regulated, you're probably going to be in much better shape. The FDA also does all it can to remove dangerous products from the market, so as a consumer, you can trust them more than just about any other governing or regulatory body.

What if You Ingested Fraudulent Supplements?

You might also find out that you ingested fraudulent supplementsonly when you start to feel sick. If that happens, you might have a supplement that contains legumes, for instance, and you may have a nut allergy. Some supplements can contain dairy product traces, and you may have lactose intolerance.

If that happens, you can reach out and speak to a competent, experienced lawyer who can direct you as to whether you can sue the manufacturer or not. It's more than likely you can do so if you test the remaining supplements to see what is in them that made you sick.

You might be able to get in on a class-action lawsuit if there are several more individuals who experienced this same problem. It's often not just you who went through something like this.

The company might settle with you, but if they won't, you can always take them to court and go through a civil lawsuit. When you do so, the money you get back if you win should be proportional to what the supplement did to you. If all it really did was make you feel a little ill for a couple of hours, don't expect to come away with millions.

If the supplement harmed you more seriously than that, you might have a hefty windfall coming your way. Remember, though, that you'll have to pay your lawyer what you owe them. It's probable that you'll hire an attorney and pay them via a contingency agreement with this kind of lawsuit.

Getting back to what supplements you should consume, though, the bottom line is that you should investigate any one that you purchase before you simply start eating it. Often, a brief search engine session will reveal whether that company or product has any poor reviews or upcoming legal action attached to it.

All of this should not necessarily discourage you from ingesting herbal supplements completely, but you need to be an informed consumer. Keep in mind that supplements are easy to fabricate because of their small size and presentation.

Also, it's probably best that you don't purchase any supplements you see on late-night TV. For all you know, you might be buying shredded newspaper.

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