The Truth About Vitamin Supplements
Hi, it’s Joel Marion, Co-Founder of BioTRUST Nutrition, and today I’m going to reveal the shocking TRUTH about the supplement industry—including 6 common “fake supplement scams” that may be negatively affecting the quality of supplements already in your home. My intention today is to help you avoid being taken advantage of and to ensure you feel confident that the supplements you are purchasing are real and of top quality. (Unfortunately, many aren’t.)
Then, at the end of this article, I’m going to provide you with a special coupon code to save 25% off all your favorite protein powders, greens, fish oils, probiotics, and more as a special thank you.
To begin, over the last five years, the dietary supplement industry has been flooded with sketchy manufacturers, online marketers, and newbies, many of whom don’t have a clue how to truly create safe and effective formulations. Many of these manufacturers and marketers have no college degree or professional training in the field, and what’s more, they are clueless about the many laws and regulations that are enforced by the FTC and FDA.
As a result, tens of thousands of ineffective, potentially tainted, and flat-out bad supplements have infiltrated the market—especially fish oil supplements and herbal products.
When you think about it, no one is going to open a dental practice without proper training and knowledge (and start filling cavities and yanking teeth); however, many new brands feel it’s perfectly fine to start their own supplement brand—without knowledge or training—and in doing this, they are unknowingly putting their customers’ health at serious risk.
Make no mistake about it, the government is cracking down in a big way on these bad supplement companies.
For starters, as part of a nationwide sweep, the U.S. Department of Justice and its federal partners pursued civil and criminal cases against more than 100 manufacturers and marketers of dietary supplements—both retail and online—and they also arrested 5 offenders. Offenses included not meeting label claims, making illegal health and disease treatment claims, and adulteration of dietary supplements with legitimate pharmaceutical drugs… scary stuff for consumers.
Although the DNA testing method used was in question, the New York State Attorney General’s Office went after GNC®, WalMart®, Walgreens®, and Target® for selling supplements that did not come close to meeting label claims. 79% of the herbal products they tested did not contain the herbs claimed on the label. Although we question the accuracy of the testing method used, this still raises a flag.
Beyond that, many people mistakenly believe that dietary supplements are not regulated by the federal government. However, this simply is not true. While the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994 makes selling natural dietary supplements legal and limits the power of the FDA over supplements, there is still a vast number of regulations to which compliant supplement companies must adhere to be in good standing with the FDA and to avoid getting into serious trouble. The problem is, many companies ignore these important safety precautions.
The federal government regulations include:
- Supplement companies must be registered with the FDA. (Many aren’t.)
- Companies must only use safe, untainted ingredients, such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, and amino acids that have been part of our food supply for thousands of years. (Many don’t sell safe products because the ingredients are tainted and untested.)
- The FDA requires that supplement companies use manufacturers that follow CGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Processes) guidelines. GMP Certification is a third-party certification program that includes inspection of manufacturing facilities to determine whether specific food safety and quality performance indicators are being met. Most manufacturers are not certified, or they have let their certifications expire. Even worse, many manufacturers will advertise that they are GMP certified, when in fact they are only certified in one small area, such as protein bars and food products, while having NO certification for the capsule and softgel products they are producing. (This happens all the time.)
- The FDA requires companies to test their products to ensure they meet label claims for identity, purity, strength, and composition, as well as to ensure that they meet stringent standards for contaminants. However, it’s very expensive, and most companies simply don’t spend the money for qualified third-party testing; in some cases, they don’t even have the knowledge to do it.
Unfortunately, in contrast to these strict guidelines, many supplement companies simply bid out their manufacturing to the lowest bidder, slap a label on an ineffective formula, and then create illegal, misleading marketing copy to sell an adulterated, ineffective, and possibly harmful product.
Truth is, many supplement brands have no idea what is truly in the products they sell because the manufacturers they buy from provide falsified lab tests—or none at all. You see, lab tests cost money, and some brands are worried more about making a quick buck then your safety and results.
Here are 6 unsavory tactics used by unethical brands:
- Dry labbing: A shocking number of manufacturers’ lab results can’t be trusted, as there’s a common practice called “dry labbing,” which involves printing falsified testing results.
- Proprietary blends: Those laundry lists of ingredients on the ingredient declaration that just list the total amount (i.e.,mass) of the “blend” are usually done to save costs at your expense.
- Ingredient dusting: Also known as “fairy dusting,” this practice usually occurs with proprietary blends (mentioned above) as a way to add a practically useless level of an ingredient yet still listing it as being “in the product.”
- Adulteration: Deceiving, you the customer, by listing ingrdients that are not in the product, or worse yet, by adding ingredients that are not listed—ingredients that may be potentially harmful or make athletes test “positive” for performance enhancing drugs.
- Nitrogen spiking: A more recent and alarming form of adulteration is adding nitrogen-containing ingredients (e.g. creatine, glycine, arginine, taurine) to artificially inflate the claimed protein levels in a product.
- Inferior ingredients: This involves using the cheapest sources of an ingredient to save money. For instance, not listing the plant part (e.g., Ginkgo leaf vs. whole plant) or the active component in the herb (e.g., using a 1% vs. 95% extract) that is found in research to be effective.
The bottom line is that good folks (like you and I) are putting these supplements into our bodies, and these products can potentially do great harm if the people formulating and manufacturing them aren’t legitimate experts. Ultimately, very few fly-by-night brands in this industry know what they are doing, and even if they did, they aren’t willing to spend the money to do things the right way.
In fact, before you take any product, I suggest asking the supplement brand these very serious questions:
- Who formulated this product, and what credentials does s/he have?
- Do you have every batch of your products tested by an independent third-party lab in addition to what the manufacturer provides you? What do you do if the products don’t meet label claims?
- Do you audit your manufacturers by going into the facilities with a third-party team of experts to inspect their processes and procedures? (Most never do this.)
- Does your manufacturer have FDA citations or warning letters? Does your manufacturer fail to meet GMP standards? Look For GMP-criteria and NSF certifications. (Warning: Many manufacturers have expired, outdated certifications or tout certifications that are meaningless.)
- Are you registered with the FDA?
- Do you conduct stability and shelf-life testing? Have you included overages in the formulas so that the products still meet or exceed label claims through their published shelf-life? (Almost no one does this, but they are required to.)
- Do you perform studies on your actual finished products with credible experts?
- What is your Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating? (BioTRUST has an A+)
If you actually ask a supplement company these questions, you will start to see their true colors emerge when it starts stammering, can’t give clear answers, and can’t provide real documentation. The fact is, many new brands don’t have a clue what they are doing in this industry, and they shouldn’t be selling supplements.
At BioTRUST, we do not and will not take shortcuts. You see, not only are we developing scientifically-backed products to be used by our valued customers, we’re also creating these products to use ourselves, and we are recommending them wholeheartedly to our friends and family members.
That is why it’s critical that each of our products undergoes a stringent and scientifically-based 7-Stage Research and Testing Protocol before it can become “BioTRUST Approved and Certified.” Here’s how it works:
Step 1. World-class formulators. At BioTRUST, we’ve compiled a team of some of the world’s most respected medical doctors, chemists, and researchers, as well as certified food scientists and nutritionists to create the highest-quality brand on the planet. Each of our formulas goes through an extensive approval process by industry leaders who possess at least 15 to 20 years of experience in creating safe, highly effective nutrition products. For example, our Chief Scientific Officer, Shawn D. Wells, has formulated for companies such as Dymatize Nutrition, with over 200 products in 70 countries. Shawn is a Registered Dietitian (RD), and he worked clinically as a Chief Clinical Dietitian for over a decade. He has a Master’s degree in Nutritional Biochemistry from UNC Chapel Hill, and he is not only a CISSN (ISSN Certified Sports Nutritionist), he also recently earned the distinction of Fellow of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (FISSN), an honor that only about a dozen people in the world have been bestowed.
Step 2. We only use HONEST, scientific levels of research-backed ingredients. We never hide or formulas in “proprietary blends” or add a “dusting” of an ingredient just for window dressing or marketing hype—a HUGE problem that is extremely common even with many of the most popular brands found at your local supplement store. Instead, we give you the honest amount of each ingredient that science shows will get you the best results. Further, we only use ingredients that have been studied in healthy human populations, and we include the same amount, form, and delivery method used in actual research.
Step 3. BioTRUST products are made with natural ingredients. We search the globe for the highest quality and purest forms of every ingredient we include in our products. We use naturally-sourced ingredients free from gluten, GMOs, antibiotics, artificial sweeteners, colors, and preservatives. The proteins we use in our food products—like BioTRUST Low Carb powder, cookies and bars—come from grass-fed cows not treated with rBGH or rBST, which are artificial growth hormones that can pass into the milk, the protein… and ultimately you.
Step 4. Ingredient testing. We only purchase raw ingredients that come with a certificate of analysis for identity, potency, and purity. What’s more, we conduct extensive microbiological testing during the manufacturing process to ensure that our products exceed even the most stringent standards for contaminants (e.g., heavy metals, pesticide residue, solvents, bacteria, mold, moisture content, and more). This means that every ingredient is guaranteed to be pure and potent before it becomes a BioTRUST product. We even spend the money, time, and effort to develop testing methods that aren’t currently available for some of the novel ingredients we use in our innovative products.
Step 5. GMP-certified manufacturing. Our manufacturers strictly follow the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) required for Dietary Supplement and Food Manufacturing. GMP Certification is a third-party certification program that includes inspection of manufacturing facilities to determine whether specific food safety and quality performance indicators are being met. These indicators may include specifications for personnel training, equipment and facility cleanliness, maintenance, and document traceability. Although the FDA does not require it, GMP Certification is a commitment to quality and consistency that our customers deserve. GMP Certification programs ensure that our products are accurately labeled, are free from contamination and impurities (e.g., bacteria, pesticides, glass, etc.), and have been manufactured to ensure identity, purity, strength, and composition.
Step 6. Third-party quality assurance testing. After our products are manufactured, sealed, and labeled, we take things a step further by enlisting third-party, independent labs to watch over even our GMP-certified manufacturers. These labs further analyze our completed products using advanced laboratory techniques to verify that the ingredients are in the appropriate amounts as listed on our labels. We also conduct additional potency testing to ensure that our products meet or exceed the true scientific levels listed on the label from the day they are manufactured until their expiration date. Plus we test for stability, allergens, heavy metals, and micros (e.g., E. coli), we develop new testing methods when none currently exist, and more. We spent over $1 million on testing last year alone. For example, we have our premium fish and krill oil combo, OmegaKrill 5X, tested through the International Fish Oil Standards™ (IFOS) Program, the only third-party testing and certification program for fish oils. IFOS sets the world’s highest standards for purity, potency, and freshness. OmegaKrill 5X has earned the prestigious 5-star rating from IFOS, which means that it meets or exceeds the highest industry standards for potency, stability, and purity.
Step 7. Finished goods testing. Unlike the majority of supplement companies, BioTRUST goes the extra mile by conducting well-controlled research studies on our products, including double-blind, placebo-controlled studies, the “gold standard” of human scientific experiments. While the scientific data on each product’s ingredients provides convincing evidence of their effectiveness and thousands of customers can attest to each product’s real-world application, testing the products in a manner like this further demonstrates product safety and efficacy. Although this is very expensive and rare in the industry, we are willing to lay it on the line, and we believe that we owe this level of great service to our customers. This is yet another example of putting the “TRUST” in BioTRUST.
Again, we believe in our products, we use our products ourselves, and every step of our manufacturing and development process was created to ensure that our products deliver only the highest quality, most effective ingredients and formulations to you and your body, day in and day out—period. After all, that’s what our customers deserve, and we’re here to give it to you with each and every product we produce.
And finally, it’s worth noting that BioTRUST cares about our customers, our employees, and our global community. For every order placed at www.BioTrust.com, we feed a hungry child for a day through our partnership with Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry® program. To date, we have provided over 2.4 million nutritious meals for hungry kids.
What’s more, with the help of our customers and Make-A-Wish®, we grant a Wish every week, for children with life-threatening health conditions. To date, we’ve helped grant over 160 Wishes in total. We’ve built two schools for underprivileged kids through Pencils of Promise®, and we’ve helped supply clean drinking water to thousands in need through Water.org™. We feel that giving back is vitally important, and it’s the backbone of our company. We want our customers to feel good about ordering from us and lending a helping hand to others simply by ordering our fine products.
In closing, as promised, I’d like to THANK YOU for reading this important article to better protect yourself against fraudulent and fake supplements. To show our gratitude to you, I’d like to give you a coupon code good for 25% off any and all of our premium BioTRUST products including our top-quality, grass-fed protein powders, great-tasting greens powder, fish oil, probiotics, and much, much more.
Visit www.BioTrust.com and at checkout, simply enter coupon code: THANKYOU25
Please note this coupon will be good for the next 7 days.
In good health,
Co-Founder BioTRUST Nutrition
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