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Not all food supplements are created equal. Every supplement manufacturer wants you to believe that their supplements are the best, but in twenty years of clinical experience, I have found only a few supplement companies whose products I trust for my patients, my family and myself. The simple truth is that most food supplements are of inferior quality, don’t work, are a waste of money, and some may even be harmful to your health. But how can we know which supplements are good and which are harmful?

First, all supplement manufacturers should comply with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and be certified by one of the major accrediting organizations like the Natural Product Association (NPA) or the National Nutritional Foods Association's (NNFA).

Second, every batch of all raw materials and finished products should be tested by independent laboratories to ensure that all supplements are what the label claims, in the quantity claimed, free of toxins, and of guaranteed potency. Moreover, the Certificates of Analysis from those laboratories should be made readily available to any customer who requests them. Many supplement manufacturers cut corners to save costs, but in doing so may be putting your health at risk. Rotten or toxic food at half-price is not a bargain!

I cannot over-emphasise the need for quality assurance and independent accountability.

  • Every raw material should be independently tested for

    • Authenticity to confirm it is the specific substance or organism claimed, in the potency claimed on the label
    • Bacteria, yeast and mould contamination
    • Aflatoxins (fungal toxins)
    • Chemical solvent residues
    • Heavy metal toxicity like lead, cadmium, mercury, or arsenic
    • Industrial contaminants
    • Herbicide, pesticide, and fungicide residue (over 160 are commonly used)
    • Rancidity markers of all oil products and PCBs and dioxins in fish oils
    • Genetically modified ingredients
  • Every finished product should be independently tested for

    • Bacteria, yeast and mould contamination
    • Stability
    • Verified sell-by date

You would think this is just common sense, but just call your favourite food supplement manufacturer and ask for an independent Certificate of Analysis on your favourite supplement. Good Luck.

To illustrate the magnitude of the problem consider these recent studies published in the medical literature:

  • In 2003, scientists found that 43% of human probiotic food supplements did not contain the probiotic organism claimed on the label (view full report)

  • In 2002, The Food Safety Authority of Ireland found that >10% of all fish oil supplements exceeded the EU-recommended safety levels of cancer-causing PCBs and dioxins, and the worst offenders were many large high-street retailers (full report at www.fsai.ie)

  • Consumerlab.com is an independent industry watchdog that regularly tests supplements for quality assurance. In February 2009, the found that only 1 out of 10 Milk Thistle products contained the amount of active Silymarin claimed on the label – meaning that 90% of milk thistle products deliver less active herb than they promise on the label. Incidentally, the one that passed was Jarrow’s Milk Thistle, the only one we use at NHWC.

All of the supplements that we carry at NHWC have been independently tested to ensure purity, safety, potency, and effectiveness.

Yet we add one further important filter in selecting products to use in our Natural Health & Wellness Centre and to offer for sale to patients and practitioners: does the product test as useful to patients using the most advanced muscle testing, called Kinosophia? This method ensures that the formulations of food supplements are effective in a real-world, clinical setting, and not just effective in theory.

This is why we do not offer the complete product line from any supplement manufacturer: not every product works as brilliantly as others in a clinical setting. Fortunately for you, we offer you the wisdom gained over 20 years of clinical practice to ensure that the products we use and offer are the best anywhere in the world.

Every product on our website is the best we could find anywhere in the world.