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What’s Really in Those Supplements — Maybe Not What’s on the Label

Getty Images/Christopher Furlong

A lot of people take vitamin supplements, and in many cases, they are actually what they claim to be, but a recent investigation has revealed that there are products out there that contain, well, junk.

According to a recent article in the New York Times, some of those ‘healthy’ supplements could even be dangerous to people with allergies.

Hey, they’re vitamin supplements, they’ve got to be good for you, right. Well, as the old song goes, ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So.’

A recent probe found that some of those healthy supplements contain everything from powdered rice to house plants. Yes, I said ‘house plants.’

According to The New York Times article:

The authorities said they had conducted tests on top-selling store brands of herbal supplements at four national retailers — GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart — and found that four out of five of the products did not contain any of the herbs on their labels.

In a related article from MSN Health and Fitness:

a supplement sold as the Chinese herb ginkgo biloba, which is thought to enhance memory, “contained little more than powdered radish, houseplants, and wheat — despite a claim on the label that the product was wheat- and gluten-free.”

As it stands right now, when it comes to these supplements, you’re kind of on your own. This latest report will no doubt lead to some pretty strict laws protecting people from these ‘healthy’ products. Many in the medical community have decried a lack of enforcement on companies that distribute these so called ‘health supplements.’

While this study was taken in the New York area, the stores mentioned in the investigation are nation-wide chains and the problem is not confined to the New York area.

Always consult your doctor before taking any supplements. It’s just good sense, especially in light of these new findings.

For two excellent articles with more information on this health issue, you can go to

The New York Times or MSN Health and Fitness




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