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Harvey Denison

Project Mahma
Going Green
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The Nutrition Industry is not regulated. In fact; the more I research the more I understand that the large majority of most nutrition products are not scientifically designed nor manufactured according to the necessary quality controls to insure a safe or effective product.

Here are a few examples of what you may be getting, if you are not taking a quality nutrition product. I realize that this list is very long... you get the idea.

"The type of copper found most often in vitamins and supplements, called cupric oxide, is not a type the body can absorb easily ... Studies on animals have shown conclusively that cupric oxide is totally worthless" - Most Supplemental Copper 'Worthless' - WebMD, 1/28/00

"a new analysis of 25 commercial ginseng products suggests that the actual concentration of ginseng is lower than the label says about half the time and in six products the concentration was only 1%" - Not All Ginseng Supplements Are Alike - WebMD, 6/26/01

"According to an analysis of 25 commercial ginseng preparations found in a health food store, the actual concentration of active compounds differed significantly from the amounts listed on labels. Furthermore, concentrations of active ingredients in ginseng preparations varied 15- to 200-fold in capsule and liquid products" - Ginseng Products May Vary in Potency and Purity - Medscape, 6/7/0.
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" found that about half the 13 products it tested were accurately labeled as to their SAMe content. Some brands alleged to contain 200 mg actually had about half that, because manufacturers factored in not just the weight of "free" Same -- the "therapeutic" portion -- but also an inactive Same ingredient" - Some Same Supplements Found Lacking, About Half Had Less of the Active Ingredient Than Labels Implied - WebMD. 5/29/01

"Five products contained levels of cadmium that exceeded acceptable levels for this review. Three of these products had levels of cadmium more than twice the acceptable amount" - Product Review: St. John's wort,, 4/01

"Supplements are not regulated in either the U.K. or this country, and this poses a particularly difficult problem for consumers, in that when something is purchased, they do not have assurance that what is said to be contained in the pill or tablet is actually what is there" - Supplement Slows Knee Arthritis, Relieves Pain, WebMD, 1/25/01

"A Massachusetts company is issuing a voluntary recall of a Chinese herb formula after federal testing found some of the product contained a chemical that can harm the kidneys." - Herb Recalled For Harmful Chemical - Intelihealth, 1/20/01

" tested chondroitin products - supplements used by thousands of arthritis sufferers - and found that eight of the 15 brands did not have the amount of chondroitin listed on the label. In fact, four bottles had less than 10 percent of the chondroitin they claimed to have." - Inside Herbals, Some Supplements Don't Contain What They Claim - ABC 20/20, 12/15/00

"A test of 14 samples of over-the-counter products showed that in 11 cases, the products did not contain all active ingredients associated with Ginkgo biloba leaf extract as specified in standards set by the WHO, according to Kenneth So of the Hong Kong Consumer Council." - Ginkgo Remedies Fail WHO Standards - Medscape, 11/20/00.

"Similar magnesium supplements are available over-the-counter in the U.S., but they might not provide similar benefits. "The product we used is from Germany, where supplements of this kind are regulated and quality is monitored," Merz says. "Because that is not the case in the US, it is impossible to know what you are getting in a supplement, or even whether it contains any magnesium at all."" - Got Magnesium? Those With Heart Disease Should - WebMD, 11/9/00

". . . five of the 13 saw palmetto products it tested did not deliver enough of the herb to treat BPH" - Magazine's Supplement Tests Point Up Lack of Regulation - WebMD, 9/22/00

"Researchers at the University of Florida, Gainesville, are reporting that eight of the 22 calcium products they tested - including popular national brands such as Caltrate 600 - contained lead, the toxic metal that can lead to anemia, high blood pressure, brain and kidney damage in adults and developmental damage in children." - Many Calcium Supplements Still Contain Traces of Lead - ABC News, 9/19/00

"Eight of the 21 brands tested were found to contain high levels of pesticides, and some also harbored significant amounts of lead. . . . . Nearly a quarter of the gingko brands tested did not contain the advertised levels of the active ingredient GBE . . . . nearly half the brands tested had lower than claimed chondroitin levels." - An independent report finds that what's listed on a supplement's label is not always what's inside - Time Magazine, 7/31/00

"But it is important to look for credible brands of CLA, cautions Pariza, whose team used a 'high grade' version that was more than 90% pure: "There's a lot of junk out there." - Studies of CLA Have Promising Results - WebMD, 8/20/00

" . . . the best you can do is find a brand name with a good reputation, she advises." - Native Americans Knew the Power of Herbs - WebMD, 8/21/00

"In a study in the Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association this year, only five of 32 chondroitin sulfate products tested had 90-100% of the level of active ingredient claimed in the label. Seventeen had less than half the amount claimed in the label." - Many supplements have low levels of active ingredients -, 6/29/00

"Are the ingredients tested for quality? Many companies rely on the Certificates of Analysis provided by the supplier. These alone are inadequate, for they may be falsified. Laboratory analysis is necessary." - Seek out High Quality Supplements, Medscape, 5/6/99.

"There are over 600 carotenoids in the food we eat," says Dr. Donald S. Fong, a California ophthalmologist who has done research at the National Institutes of Health on the importance of nutrients in retinal diseases. "So if your supplement with high doses of any single one, you block the absorption of other carotenoids you may need. And, in addition, you might increase the risk of disease in other parts of the body." - Looking For Supplements That Aid Vision -, 5/2/00 (A good reason to go with a supplement like Body Wise, which has dunaliella salina algae for mixed carotenoids.)

"The echinacea your patients are taking to prevent or cure colds and infections probably is not the same as the echinacea approved in Germany for these purposes . . ." - Not All Echinacea Preparations Are Created Equal - Medscape, 4/1/00.

"The best quality colostrum is produced organically and is free of pesticides, herbicides, anabolic hormones like rBST, steroids, antibiotics and other chemicals. Not all colostrum products on the market are biologically active due to improper processing through the use of high temperatures and pasteurization or the formation of colostrum into tablets, a method that requires high pressure and generates heat, destroying biological activity." - Bovine colostrum emerges as immunity modulator - HealthLink

"Tests continue to reveal dangerous contaminants and poor quality control in supplement ingredients. California investigators in 1998 found that nearly one-third of 260 imported Asian herbals were either spiked with drugs not listed on the label or contained lead, arsenic or mercury." - Herbal products take a human toll, MSNBC, 3/19/00

Dr. James E. Simon of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, noted that wide price differentials exist among particular nutraceuticals, and suggested that the reason may be differences in the quality of the raw material between manufacturers.

'There's natural diversity in the genetics of the plant that have a long-term impact as to the final quality of the packaged product,' he said. Some plants may have high levels of active ingredients, while others may have none, and surprisingly, he noted, no regulations requiring standardization currently exist." - Call for more research on nutraceuticals, ThriveOnline, 2/23/00

"High levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been identified in five brands of shark liver oil capsules that are available internationally over-the-counter." - High Levels of PCBs Found in Numerous Brands of Shark Oil Capsules - Medscape, 1/24/00.

"Many tablet manufacturers use a chemical called DCP as a binding agent to hold all the ingredients in the tablet. DCP is incapable of breaking down completely in your body." - The Great Vitamin Hoax - M.D.'s Wellness Journal, 1/1/00

"You'd be amazed at how often we doctors see undisolved vitamin tablets in our patients' stool samples. Nurses in hospitals encounter so many undisolved vitamins, they call them "bedpan bullets"." - The Great Vitamin Hoax - MD's Wellness Journal, 1/1/00

"Half of the products tested had content vs label discrepancies greater than 20%. One product had no active ingredient." - Discrepancies Seen Between Label Claims and Actual Content in Herbal Dietary Supplements - Medscape, 4/19/00.

"In the meantime, your best bet may be to buy herbs from a company you know. "A company that has a long-standing reputation of quality with consumers is unlikely to risk that reputation by knowingly cheating on ingredients," says McCaleb." - Buyer beware: Shopping for herbs - CNN, 12/7/99

"There is potential for wide variations in quality and content of botanicals based on the source of raw materials and the manufacturing process. Potential problems include both intentional and unintentional contamination as well as inconsistent concentration of active ingredients." - Assessing the Quality of Botanical Preparations, Medscap.

"Think your multivitamin is doing the job? Think again. These days we take vitamins to prevent everything from heart disease to cancer. But many nutritional supplements are doing us little good because our bodies cannot absorb them." - Maximizing Vitamins, KFMB News, 7/99

"Sports One claims their Chrysin XS has 200 milligrams of chrysin per capsule. The test revealed only 27.7 milligrams." - Label claims 200mg of Chrysin - AST Research

"Like food products and medications, supplements also need to be regulated because the ingredients used to make them may contain harmful dyes, chemicals and contaminants ..." - Nutritionist calls for tighter regulation of supplements, CNN, 9/17/99

"Of the twenty-six samples, nine were found to contain absolutely no yohimbine, and seven contained only trace amounts (0.1 to 1ppm). The remaining ten products contained negligible amounts of yohimbine. In other words, there were no legitimate products tested." - Natural Alternatives to Viagra, Dr. Murray

"Some brands sold on the Internet or in smaller health-food stores contain more baby powder or similar substances than Same" - Antidepressant highly touted but untested, USA Today, 8/10/99

"It's also been suggested that taking large amounts of one carotenoid in supplement form, rather than from food, may impair the absorption of other important carotenoids, short-circuiting their health benefits." - Don't count out "other" carotenoids, Environmental Nutrition, June 1994 v17 n6 pl(2)

"The Stanford Research Institute recently studied 16 DHEA products randomly picked from store shelves. Some contained no DHEA at all, ....." - New Drug for Lupus Patients?, ABC News, 11/1/98

"Standardized extracts of ginkgo should contain 24 percent ginkgosides and 6 percent terpenes, because these were the percentages used in the proprietary EGb761 extract tested in the JAMA study. The 6 percent terpene fraction has biological activity, but some manufacturers standardize their material only to 24 percent ginkgosides, and the extracts may not actually have any terpene content." - Antioxidants That Entertain the Brain, Nutrition Science News, October 1998

"One of the lowest-scoring products sampled, with about 20 percent of the labeled potency, was from Sundown Herbals, a division of Rexall, the nation's No. 1 distributor of dietary supplements." - Potency of St. John's Wort Questioned, ABC News, August 31, 1998

". . . one third of 260 traditional Chinese medicines were contaminated with metal such as lead and arsenic or pharmaceuticals not mentioned on label ingredients." - Journal gives stern warning on unproved dietary supplements, CNN, 9/17/98

"The two cases occurred in patients who used the same line of herbal products. The patients were hospitalized with serum digoxin levels of 3.66 nanograms per milliliter and 0.9 ng per milliliter." - Lack of regulation of dietary supplements in the US concerns FDA officials, Reuters, 9/17/98.

"Low levels of the contaminant peak X, a potential cause of eosinophilia myalgia syndrome, have been isolated in 5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan supplements sold over the counter.......peak X was detected at levels between about 3% and 15% of that observed in case-implicated [5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan]." - Harmful contaminant isolated in OTC tryptophan supplement, Reuters, 9/1/98.

"Similarly, methyl cellulose is commonly used to bind nutritional formulations to facilitate the manufacturing process. In fact, methyl cellulose is so effective a binder that the nutrients it coats are rendered mostly unavailable for absorption... …..Just as all nutritional supplements are not created equal, neither are the nutrients themselves. Huge gaps exist in the safety and effectiveness of specific nutrients. For example, germanium is a trace mineral that has been shown to enhance immune function. Although abundant in the earth's crust, germanium is difficult to obtain from the food supply. However, more than one form of germanium exists. The inorganic form of germanium is more toxic than other forms of this mineral. Furthermore, it is not assimilated effectively when taken orally. In contrast, germanium sesquioxide (Ge-132) - the less toxic, organic form of germanium - is beneficial when taken orally. Ge-132 is significantly more expensive than inorganic germanium, but it is also much safer and more effective. Which form is most commonly included in nutritional supplements? The less expensive, less effective, and more toxic form - inorganic germanium. Consumers should be extremely wary of any nutritional supplement that seems to have been designed by the company accountant rather than by those familiar with the scientific literature." - Longevity: You have more control than you think, Dr. Margaret Ames, Body Wise Wellness Director, published in Natural Medicine Review, Summer 1998

"Many manufacturers claiming to sell stabilized glucosamine sulfate are not. They're selling glucosamine hydrochloride and adding something else, like potassium sulfate, and then-calling it glucosamine sulfate." - Evaluating the arthritis cure: Interview with Jason Theodosakis, M.D., Nature's Impact Magazine, Jun/Jul 98

"Also, keep in mind that the herbal industry faces questions about the quality and consistency of its products. Unlike products in Germany, where herbal tinctures and extracts are standardized, herbs in this country may vary ten thousand fold in active ingredients." - What you need to know about vitamins, mineral supplements, and herbs... before you take them,

"Multivitamins are some of the worst offenders. In a recent study, Linda Shaffer and Michelle Fairchild of YaleNew HavenHospital, evaluated 257 brands of vitamins bought off the shelf at pharmacies, grocery stores, and health food stores. Many were incomplete or had too little or too much of one or other nutrient. Only 49 were considered adequate… …It costs between $50 and $100 to test each single ingredient of a vitamin pill. That's just time and materials, no profit. For one 40-ingredient multivitamin/mineral, a decent test at a decent lab, plus the lab's profit, runs about $6,000." - Dr. Michael Colgan, Optimum Sports Nutrition, pg 210

"..consumers should be very suspicious of the quality of yohimbe products that exist in health food stores. A 1995 analysis showed that, while crude yohimbe bark typically contains six percent yohimbine, most commercial products contained virtually no yohimbine." - Natural Alternatives to Viagra, Dr. Murray

"One of the problems in the manufacture of ginseng within the herbal medication industry is the lack of quality control and standardization. A study in 1979 conducted by a health food trade journal, Whole Foods, evaluated 54 ginseng products in various health food stores; the study determined that 60% of the products had too little ginseng to have any action, and 25% had no detectable quantity of ginseng at all." - Top Herbal Products - Medscape Continuing Medical Education.

"SAN FRANCISCO - Attorney General Dan Lungren announced a settlement yesterday with makers of calcium supplements and antacids to reduce their lead content - an agreement that consumer advocates called inadequate and unsafe.... ....The companies in the settlement are Warner-Lambert, Smithkline Beecham, American Home Products, Schering-Plough Health Care Products, Pharmavite, General Nutrition, Perrigo and Twin Laboratories....." - State deal aims to reduce lead in diet supplements, Associated Press, Apr. 21, 1997

"Some prenatal multivitamins containing folic acid, a dietary supplement that can significantly decrease neural tube birth defects, may not deliver the expected amount because of the tablet's failure to dissolve quickly enough.... Only three out of the nine multivitamin products they tested met the USP standards. Most of the products missed this minimum standard by a wide margin, two releasing less than 25% of the labeled amount... The investigators believe the findings are "..likely to be representative of the multivitamin products on the market..." and they recommend further investigation, ..." - Folic Acid Absorption Varies, Reuters, Aug. 1, '97. (Referring to a report in The Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association (1997;4:397-400))

"In addition, since the nutritional supplement industry is now largely unregulated, you can't be sure of product purity or the amount of active ingredient in a supplement - even from one package to the next of the same product." - Buyer beware, Mayo Clinic, June 1997

"The supplement marketplace is a shambles. There is no guarantee that the pills are what they say they are--and in most cases no one really knows what will happen if you take them.

You have no way to be sure:

Whether a plant's active ingredients, whatever they might be, have actually ended up in the herbal pills you buy.
Whether a supplement's ingredients are in a form your body can use.
Whether the dosage makes any sense.
What else is in the pills.
Whether the pills are safe.
Whether the next bottle of those same pills will have the same ingredients.

Even the manufacturers may not know those things; they're not required to do the testing or quality control that are routine for regular drugs." - Herbal Roulette, Consumer Reports, Nov '95

"...Discrepancies like these may become a serious problem because unidentified impurities can be toxic. Remember L-tryptophan, which was sold as a sleep aid in health food stores until 1989? Over five thousand cases of a serious blood disorder known as eosinophiliamyalgia syndrome (EMS) and twenty-seven deaths in otherwise healthy individuals were recorded. Eventually all the contaminated L-tryptophan was traced to a single manufacturer, who had used a new, genetically engineered bacterium to make L-tryptophan and had modified the usual purification procedure...." - Stephen Cherniske, M.S., The DHEA Breakthrough, pg. 216 (Referring to DHEA claiming to be 99.9% pure)

"Real 1-carnitine costs an arm and a leg. That is why numerous sports supplements contain only a negligible few milligrams. Other supplements contain gram amounts, but it is cheap dl-carnitine or racemic carnitine, a very different compound than 1-carnitine. Dl-carnitine contains about 50% of the dextro, or right-handed molecule of carnitine. This substance does not occur in normal foods, so during evolution the human body did not develop the mechanisms to deal with it. The body cannot use d-carnitine, and its presence inhibits use of 1-carnitine, the levo or left-handed molecule. Dl-carnitine is therefore a toxin that causes carnitine deficiency and all its detrimental consequences.22,23

In 1984 the Food and Drug Administration issued a health warning about dl-carnitine,24 but it still appears in the marketplace. Be especially wary of supplements labeled on the front, "L-carnitine" in big letters. On the back you may find in the tiniest print that is still legal, "in a base of racemic carnitine." They are all dl-carnitine." - Dr. Michael Colgan, Optimum Sports Nutrition, pgs 297-298

"With the increased demand for St.-John's-wort, some members of the herbal supplement industry worry about poor-quality products entering the market or products that claim to contain St.-John's- wort but don't. That could lead to St.-John's- wort users experiencing unexpected reactions or no results at all.

"While it [the increased demand] was great, a lot of product got dumped on the market", says Grace Lyn Rich of Nature's Herbs, an herbal supplement manufacturer. "People who never had a St.-John's product all of a sudden did." Rich and others advise consumers and retailers to buy wisely. Sounds simple enough. But that can be tricky because herbal products are sold as dietary supplements, so they aren't as strictly regulated as medicine. Rich suggests that those who have used herbal supplements stick with brand names they trust and that new users check with their health- food retailer for guidance. - "St.-John's-Wort", Herbs for Health, Nov./Dec. '97

These are just a few examples of what people are buying at Wal-mart, health food stores and through other channels of distribution. Please… Before you consume a nutritional product do some research to make sure that you are consuming safe, scientifically formulated, quality products.
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