A study to be published Friday in the journal BMC Medicine concludes that people taking herbals and dietary supplements are not always getting what they pay for.
[W]hen scientists from the University of Guelph scoured the DNA in a number of herbal products, they found that many times the labels on the merchandise didn’t accurately reflect what was in the container.
Some products contained fillers like wheat or rice that were not listed on the label. Some were contaminated with other plant species that could have caused toxicity or triggered allergic reactions. And still others contained no trace of the substance the bottle purported to contain.
“It says ginkgo biloba . . . and we didn’t find any ginkgo DNA at all in the bottle,” said Steve Newmaster, an integrative biology professor at the university who was the first author on the paper.
The researchers tested 44 products sold by 12 different companies. Nearly 60% of the products contained DNA from at least one plant species that wasn’t listed on the product label.
Harmful substances may be in them without disclosure. And the so called active ingredient may be missing. How does this happen? Easy. Dietary supplements are basically unregulated for what’s in them and if they work. In fact, nothing is checked regarding safety until complaints are made.
Clearly quality controls are missing. A larger study needs to be done but this is indicative of a serious problem that is not news to those of us that follow the circus of alt med and OTC stuff like this.
Tip: Steve Port
Addition: Commentary on Neurologica Blog.