As reported by Scientific American, a disturbing recent study by researchers from the California Department of Public Health, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, found that over the past decade, more than 750 supplement brands have been confirmed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be tainted with hidden chemical ingredients. Supplements are not regulated in the same way as pharmaceuticals and are not supposed to contain any chemical drugs. Nonetheless, though the FDA identified all these contaminated supplement brands, fewer than half of the products were recalled.
What essentially amounts to unapproved and unregulated drugs have therefore remained on the market, where they have the potential to cause serious health problems for consumers. (Related: Big Pharma FDA scam allows drug companies to turn a $10 supplement into a $40,000 prescription drug.)
For their study, researchers examined data from the FDA’s database on dietary supplements to determine which, if any, supplements had been identified as tainted between 2007 and 2016. A total of 776 supplements were identified as contaminated during this period, with 86 percent being supplements aimed at weight loss or sexual enhancement, and a further 12 percent marketed to increase muscle mass.
Over 20 percent of these supplements were found to be contaminated with more than one chemical drug, most commonly with sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, sibutramine, a banned weight-loss drug, and/or synthetic steroids or steroid-like ingredients.
Previous research has found that even supplements which are recalled by the FDA often continue to be marketed, but in the case of these 776 tainted supplements, over half were never even recalled by the FDA in the first place. (Related: FDA attacks CBD supplements to protect Big Pharma’s opioid profits.)
“The agency’s failure to aggressively use all available tools to remove pharmaceutically adulterated supplements from commerce leaves consumers’ health at risk,” noted Dr. Pieter Cohen, a general internist who was not involved in the research but who wrote a commentary accompanying the study.
As reported by Scientific American, the FDA has both the obligation and the tools at its disposal to protect consumers:
When a company refuses to voluntarily recall its products, the FDA has a number of tools it can use to get the product off the market: the agency can send a warning letter to the company, visit the factory for an inspection or issue a mandatory recall. But the study found that the FDA rarely employed such tools; out of the 146 companies involved in the making of the tainted supplements, the FDA issued just seven warning letters; and did not issue any mandatory recalls.
As Dr. Cohen added, “There’s just no way to interpret this other than the FDA is simply not doing its job.”
The findings of this study are a disturbing reminder that we simply cannot trust that all supplements are created equal. There are huge differences in the quality and purity of natural supplements and it is vital to find a reliable, clean source for our vitamins, minerals and other alternative healthcare products. In this regard, the Health Ranger Store relies on an in-house mass spec laboratory to test its raw materials and finished products for heavy metals, microbiology, glyphosate and other pesticides.