By exposing my own industry, I am making my own company vulnerable to what I can only hope is a newly informed populace but my hope is that readers will see this article for what it truly is: the pretentious journal of someone who found a dragon sitting on a pile of gold and lived to tell the tale.
I think that one day soon, these companies will be exposed by someone with a large audience and, when that day comes, the FDA will be forced to make a sweeping motion upon all dietary supplement companies. If I am wrong and that day never comes, then 40% of all Americans will continue taking untested, poisonous, and unregulated pills. Either way, I struggle to promote my own products with a good conscience without having exposed this deeply disturbing industry.
Before creating this company, I studied natural medicine both independently and under the guidance of professionals for five years. I also earned a B.Sc. in Alternative Medicine and worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant. After spending some time in the supplement industry, I began building a vitamin and supplement review website (the former Sternhealing.com).
I've seen THINGS...
Producing a supplement is like creating any other sort of product... except you are creating something that should exist solely for the purpose of health. 'Health' complicates the ethics of producing a custom product; and, when there is no regulation, it can become one big unethical mess.
In my quest to find a proper manufacturing facility, I came across many sub-par options with unbelievably low costs.
Why even bother with a manufacturer when you can make the product in your kitchen... or bedroom... or even your bathroom? The FDA would never know! What fun...
While I do not know of anyone making pills in their bathroom, many independent companies take advantage of non-certified facilities and use the cheapest ingredients possible.
Compared to the cost of using a multi-million dollar facility, using an uncertified company is virtually free (meaning that you can sell a couple of bottles and POOF, you're in the black).
Yeah but... that doesn't happen often! The FDA keeps us safe, right?
We actually have no idea how often it happens.
The public perception of both the FDA and scientific evidence regarding dietary supplements is in direct contrast with reality and supplement companies take advantage of this fact.
In case you think I am exaggerating, look at this quote from the FDA, "Unlike new drugs, dietary supplements are not reviewed and approved by FDA based on their safety and effectiveness."
In case you think this is unique to dietary supplements, then take note it also applies to infant formula, cosmetics, individual companies, and even marketing claims. The FDA only takes action against non-pharmaceutical companies when something is brought to their attention (e.g. Ephedra and Trans Fats) or when a public figure is making outrageous and harmful claims (e.g. Doctor Oz...).
As I browsed the FDA website, my faith in this industry slowly collapsed with every word I read. Not only did I find loopholes that any company could take to create and sell toxic products, but I also found dozens of inconsistencies.
Take for example that the FDA permits the use of up to 300mg of talc in a tablet while also warning us that they do not know how much asbestos is in talc. Pfizer, who makes Centrum, warns us on their website that talc is harmful. This is a very odd warning considering they put talc into all of their tablets.
Centrum is by far the most popular multivitamin on the market, pulling in over two hundred and fifty million dollars every year. What's worse is that store brand multivitamins copy Centrum's ingredients. The result? Over 100 million Americans are taking dietary supplements that cause more harm than good.
If that seems irrelevant, then take note that every year over one billion USD is spent on multivitamins, pain relief supplements, calcium pills etc. containing talc, heavy metals, trans fats, chalk dust, and other carcinogenic ingredients.
Indeed, the most popular dietary supplements on the market contain a slew of toxic ingredients. In other words, if you look at the big picture, the majority of dietary supplements that people are taking are poisonous pills being sold by greed-ridden (or suspiciously ignorant corporations). That's all for now!