Toxic Supplements

As some of you are aware, the Alpine Valley Wellness Center has had an extensive quality control program in place since its inception. Recently Rick Liva, the CEO of one of our highest quality vendors, Vital Nutrients, sent us this educational email. It is quite chilling.

“I write this because I wish to educate and express befuddlement. As you may or may not know, Vital Nutrients does comprehensive testing for contaminants in raw materials.

In the past several weeks we have found the following toxic chemicals in raw materials. We have found some of these and others in the past but this recent spat is alarming.

These are the solvent tainted raw materials I found:

1. DIM containing 600ppm of Benzene. This material was purchased from a large West coast US supplier. Material was made in China. We rejected it and sent it back. Benzene is highly toxic.

2. Licorice Extract containing 6ppm of 1,2 Dichloroethane a very toxic chemical with an marginally acceptable limit of 5ppm. This material was purchased from a large US supplier that claims very high quality. Material was made in India. When pressed, the supplier claims the only solvent used to make this extract was water. We rejected it and sent it back. 1,2 Dichloroethane is highly toxic.

3. DIM containing 500ppm of Benzene a very toxic chemical with an marginally acceptable limit of 2ppm.

A second try to find clean material. This material was purchased from a large East coast US supplier. Material was made in China. We rejected it and sent it back. We have yet to find a clean source.

4. Curcumin Extract containing 34ppm of 1,2 Dichloroethane Purchased from a large US supplier that claims very high quality. Material was made in India. Supplier claims the only solvent used to make this extract was acetone. We rejected it and sent it back.

5. Green Tea Extract containing 7550ppm of Ethyl Acetate. Purchased from a US based European supplier. Material was extracted in the US. When asked how this happened we were told that the company sells material that has high solvents because other manufacturers don’t care and all they want is the cheapest price. It cost them money to clean out the solvent and they will do it when someone requests it (like VN) and then they sell it for a higher price. In this case, they claim they had a QC error and mixed up batches and sent us the wrong one. The certificate of analysis claimed <50ppm of Ethyl Acetate.

I just can’t believe what I see some times. It’s a bit scary to think about the implications.”

Ric points out that there is rarely any hassle when he returns these contaminated batches, the companies apparently are able to sell the material to other, less discriminating manufacturers with little problem.

The FDA has regulatory authority over the dietary supplement industry. The FDA is overworked and under funded. Because of this they do not pay enough attention to the dietary supplement industry which allows a large amount of fraud, deception and poor quality to exist. High quality products do exist but the consumer never knows when they are getting high quality vs. very poor quality. Unfortunately poor quality is all too common.It is for reasons like these that we established a dispensary for our patients originally, because we understand that cheap supplements may come a very high cost to you. Though supplements are available in a number of places, including the Internet, most of these outlets are not monitored for safety, contamination, low potency, or high quality. We do monitor for these things and we take the time to tailor the supplements we dispense to your personal needs.

For more information on our quality assurance program, please visit our Natural Pharmacy page.