In a world where health and wellness has taken center stage, dietary supplements have become increasingly popular. According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), as of 2017-2018, approximately 76% of adults in the United States reported using dietary supplements. The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) reported that in 2020, 91% of adults aged 55 and older, 82% of adults aged 35-54, and 67% of adults aged 18-34 reported using dietary supplements. Global dietary supplement sales were valued at approximately $152.3 billion in 2019 and are projected to reach $230.7 billion by 2027, according to a report by Grand View Research.
With promises of improved vitality, enhanced well-being, and better overall health, it's no wonder that many individuals turn to supplements to meet their nutritional needs. However, there's an important question that consumers should ask themselves: Are your supplements third party tested?
Contamination is a significant concern when it comes to dietary supplements. The quality and purity of the ingredients used can greatly impact the effectiveness and safety of these products. For instance, turmeric, a commonly used supplement for its anti-inflammatory properties, has been found to be contaminated with lead in some cases. Consider the following case study.
Bangladesh: Lead in Turmeric
Bangladesh is a country with a rich culinary heritage, where spices play a significant role in traditional dishes. Turmeric, known for its vibrant yellow color and antioxidant properties, has been an essential ingredient in Bangladeshi cooking for generations. However, concerns regarding the quality and safety of turmeric have emerged due to the detection of lead contamination.
In recent years, several studies and investigations have revealed high levels of lead in turmeric samples collected from various regions of Bangladesh. These findings have raised concerns among consumers, health authorities, and food safety organizations.
One notable case involved a research study conducted by a team of scientists from a local university in collaboration with the Department of Public Health. They collected turmeric samples from local markets, processing units, and farms across different regions of Bangladesh. The samples were then analyzed for lead content using advanced laboratory techniques.
The results were alarming. The study found significant levels of lead contamination in the majority of the tested turmeric samples. The contamination was attributed to various factors, including the improper use of pesticides, contaminated irrigation water, and the storage of turmeric in lead-containing containers.
The implications of lead contamination in turmeric are severe. Lead is a toxic heavy metal that accumulates in the body over time and can cause serious health issues, particularly in children and pregnant women. High lead exposure has been linked to neurological disorders, developmental delays, impaired cognitive functions, and damage to vital organs such as the kidneys and liver.
The detection of lead contamination in turmeric prompted immediate action from government authorities and regulatory bodies in Bangladesh. The Department of Public Health, in collaboration with the Ministry of Food, launched a comprehensive investigation into the matter. The aim was to identify the sources of contamination, develop strategies for prevention, and ensure the safety of the food supply.
Contamination in dietary supplements is a pressing concern, as it can pose health risks to consumers. According to a study published in JAMA Network Open, around 776 dietary supplements sold in the United States from 2007 to 2016 were found to contain unapproved pharmaceutical ingredients. A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found that 25% of tested herbal dietary supplements purchased from various retail stores in the U.S. contained lead, arsenic, and mercury.
Third Party Testing
This is where third party testing comes into play. Third party testing involves independent laboratories or organizations conducting rigorous analyses of dietary supplements to ensure their safety, quality, and potency. These testing facilities have no affiliation with the supplement manufacturer, which eliminates any potential conflicts of interest. They follow strict guidelines and utilize advanced testing methods to verify that the products are free from contaminants and accurately labeled.
One of the primary benefits of third party testing is the assurance that the supplements are unaltered and not contaminated. These tests can detect heavy metals, pesticides, microbial contaminants, and other harmful substances that may pose a risk to human health. By purchasing supplements that have undergone third party testing, consumers can have confidence in the purity and safety of the products they are consuming.
Moreover, third party testing ensures that the supplements actually contain what they claim to contain. Mislabeling and inaccurate ingredient listings have been a pervasive issue in the dietary supplement industry. Without proper testing, consumers may unknowingly purchase products that are either diluted or contain different ingredients altogether. This not only affects the efficacy of the supplements but also poses potential health risks, especially for individuals with specific allergies or sensitivities.
By choosing third party tested supplements, consumers can be more informed about the products they are purchasing and consuming. Look for certifications or labels from reputable third party testing organizations, such as NSF International, US Pharmacopeia (USP), or ConsumerLab.com. These organizations rigorously assess dietary supplements to ensure they meet the highest standards of safety, quality, and accuracy.
It's important to note that not all supplement manufacturers voluntarily subject their products to third party testing. As a result, some supplements on the market may lack this essential verification. Therefore, it's crucial for consumers to actively seek out supplements that have been third party tested to protect their health and well-being.
In conclusion, the question of whether your supplements are third party tested is of utmost importance. Contamination and inaccurate labeling can have serious consequences for your health.
At Mend, we use both NSF and Informed Choice for third-party testing and we only produce at FDA-approved facilities that are “cGMP”, meaning they utilize the highest quality manufacturing standards and processes that are regularly audited by the FDA and other regulatory bodies. cGMP guidelines also stipulate strict processes for sourcing, storing, and handling ingredients and individual compounds. Learn more about our science here.
By choosing supplements that have undergone independent testing, you can rest assured that they are unaltered, free from contaminants, and contain the ingredients they claim to have. Prioritize your health and make informed decisions by selecting third-party tested supplements. Your body deserves nothing less than the best.