Tuesday, August 01, 2017

There's a supplement for that

Although you may not be getting what you think you are. One of the failings of our healthcare "system" is that there is potential in many botanicals, but they aren't regulated. So you can never be sure if that pill contains what its maker says it does.

Consider diabetes, which is now epidemic. Scientists have identified a number of plants that might provide low cost therapy. Here's an article on them.
Natural products, especially those of plant origin, are important sources of compounds with different chemical structures which, acting through diverse mechanisms, could offer a therapeutic alternative to treat T2DM. 
However, often because of questionable practices in the industry, every 24 minutes the U.S. Poison Control Centers get a call about bad reactions to supplements. Two years ago the New York State attorney general’s office accused four of the country’s biggest retail stores of selling herbal products that in many cases were contaminated or did not contain any of the herb listed on the label.

For some supplements you can confirm their quality.
Look for products that receive a seal of approval from the United States Pharmacopeial Convention, an independent, nonprofit organization of scientists that sets high standards for medicine, food ingredients and dietary supplements. The USP has a voluntary program through which supplement companies can have their products and facilities tested and reviewed.
Look not just for the letters "USP," which alone aren't official, but for the seal:
Companies whose supplements meet the group’s standards – which ensure purity, identity and potency, among other things – are allowed to carry an official “USP Verified” seal on their labels. The group maintains an evolving list of the brands that have received its seal and the places where they can be purchased. That list can be found on the group’s website.
Another nonprofit group that independently certifies some supplements and their ingredients is NSF International. The group certifies such supplements as fish oil and multivitamins. Again, look for the seal:
Finally, there is ConsumerLab.com, which frequently tests products and maintains an archive of reports on its website. However, I don't find their website very user friendly.

Turns out just a few companies are approved by the USP. One is Nature Made, and the other is Costco, which sells the Kirkland and TruNature brands. You can buy these brands on Amazon, but they don't begin to cover the range of supplements on the market.

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