By Beth Baldwin-Lien, ND
When it comes to the nutritional supplement industry, there are a number of common misconceptions, or myths, about quality that continue to circulate among patients and practitioners. Some are simply outdated, others stem from misinterpretations of current regulations, and still others result from marketing claims. This post aims to separate facts from myths about supplement quality.
Myth #1: The Dietary Supplement Industry is Not FDA Regulated
The Dietary Supplement Industry is indeed regulated by the FDA. CFR 21 Part 111 establishes good manufacturing practices (GMPs) for manufacturing, packaging, labeling and holding operations for dietary supplements. Vital Nutrients is regularly inspected by the FDA, and received a flawless evaluation following the most recent inspection in 2014.
Myth #2: Testing Every Batch is Standard for Supplement Companies
Unfortunately, most companies do not test every batch of raw material and/or finished product, but choose to follow "skip lot" testing practices that only require a certain number of batches are tested each year. Vital Nutrients exceeds quality standards by testing every batch of each raw material and finished product to ensure our stringent specifications for authenticity, potency and purity are consistently upheld.
Myth #3: FDA Regulations Require All Supplement Manufacturers to Test for Environmental Contaminants
Actually, current regulations only require testing for authenticity, potency, microbiology and stability. They also allow manufacturers to rely on a Certificate of Analysis from a raw material supplier. The independent third-party lab testing Vital Nutrients conducts for heavy metals, aflatoxins, chemical solvents, and herbicides/pesticides/fungicides is in addition to those required by regulations.
Myth #4: Certified Organic Supplements are Guaranteed to be Free of Contaminants
Organic products are certified to be free of synthetic herbicides, pesticides and fungicides. However, organic products still need to be evaluated for naturally occurring environmental toxins, such as heavy metals and aflatoxins.Vital Nutrients tests every plant-based material for 51 chemical solvents, 4 heavy metals, 4 aflatoxins, 310 herbicides/pesticides/fungicides and a microbiology analysis.
Future posts will discuss skip lot testing and contaminant testing in more detail, and examine the rationale behind Vital Nutrients' rigorous quality assurance protocols.