When it comes to buying supplements, many of us choose on a whim. We go with the packaging we like best or the name we recognize most. Other times, we’ll use what’s been recommended by a friend. In many cases, the ingredient list is an afterthought. A two-second glance at the back label does the trick. After all, it doesn’t really matter what the ingredients are or where they came from. Or does it? Truth be told, most of the raw materials in your supplements have been sourced from halfway around the world, from countries like China. A superpower in the global ingredient supply marketplace, China is predicted to surpass Germany in becoming the world’s largest exporter. The reason why American businesses rely on foreign markets is simple: they simply cannot compete with the lower costs offered overseas.
So how does all this affect you? Well, if you’re buying from a reputable, science-based supplement company, you have nothing to fear. This company will ensure that any and all raw materials imported from other countries are properly tested for purity and potency before making their way into your product – meaning you won’t have to worry about its safety or efficacy. If you’re buying from a questionable supplement company that’s more concerned about profits than quality, you’ve got another thing coming. This company could be importing ingredients laced with contaminants and putting them directly into your products! If you care at all about what you ingest and how it affects your health, you need to keep reading.
Heavy Metal Poisoning, Anyone?
There’s no question that global manufacturing standards have improved over the past decade. Still, in many parts of the world, environmental protection laws aren’t as strict as what they are in the United States, and contaminated run-offs often occur. These contaminants – including heavy metals like lead and mercury – can seep into the soil and make their way into the food chain. If consumed, they can build up in your body and cause severe reactions. For example, lead can affect almost every organ and bodily system, with its main target being the nervous system. Lead exposure has also been linked to increases in blood pressure, anemia, and brain and kidney damage. The picture is just as ugly for mercury poisoning. Its toxic effects include damage to the brain, kidneys, and lungs.
We can’t control the manufacturing processes in foreign countries, but we can control the quality of ingredient testing done here in the United States once these raw materials cross our borders. This includes testing for both heavy metals and banned substances such as pro-hormones and anabolic steroids. Unfortunately, not all supplement companies test their inbound raw materials for such contaminants. They’d rather skip this process in order to save time and money, and to get their products onto store shelves that much sooner. The only person that suffers from this is you.
Have Your Supplements Passed the Test?
A supplement company that’s dedicated to safety and efficacy won’t cut any corners in the manufacturing stage. If any of its incoming raw materials don’t pass inspection, it will simply start from scratch and source new and cleaner ingredients. However, what most consumers don’t realize is that these ‘rejected’ materials are often picked up by other supplement companies and still make their way onto store shelves! That’s because when the raw material supplier can’t make a sale with one client, he’ll simply shop his product around – often at a discounted and attractive price – until he finds another client who will take it. The new buyer may not even realize he’s purchasing an ingredient that’s contaminated. Or, more often the case, he may not even care!
So what kind of contaminants are the reputable supplement companies testing for? Among others, they’re looking for stimulants, heavy metals, coliform and E. coli, yeasts and mold, listeria, salmonella, and melamine. Though not required to by law, reputable supplement companies are also testing both their raw materials and every batch of finished product for banned substances – including steroids, stimulants, and other drugs and poisons. This not only protects your health, but ensures that you don’t test negative in any doping tests. A superior supplement company will also do a full microbial test, as well as test for stability and shelf life.
Unknown to most consumers, only a small percentage of supplement companies go to such great lengths to ensure the quality of their products. Most companies bypass these important tests and operate under the ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. In their minds, whatever the consumers don’t know won’t hurt them.
How Do Shady Supplement Companies Get Away with All This?
While pharmaceutical products need to be approved by the FDA before being launched, dietary supplements don’t. A few rules are imposed by the FDA, but the overall responsibility lies on the supplement company to source safe and effective raw materials and to follow good manufacturing practices (GMP.) It is then left up to the consumer to sort the good supplements from the bad – a task that’s not as easy as it sounds given the sheer number of products out there. The decision becomes even more confusing when marketing comes into play. Some supplement companies are professionals at masking their ineffective formulas with fancy, eye-catching advertising.
While the FDA strives to ensure that all dietary supplements are free of contamination and consistently meet the established specifications for identity, purity, strength and composition, limited FDA manpower and resources make this job an uphill battle. At the end of the day, the only way to truly trust the supplement you’re taking is to trust the company that’s provided it.
With Labrada Nutrition, you can rest assured that all of the proper testing is being conducted. In fact, Labrada uses manufacturing facilities that exceed pharmaceutical-grade standards. At these facilities, inbound raw materials don’t even make their way onto the production floor until every barrel has been quarantined, identified, and verified. After these inspections, the raw materials are identified, quantified, and tested yet again during production after mixing and blending. Once the final product is formulated, even more testing follows to ensure purity, potency, and the absence of banned substances and harmful contaminants. It all might seem a bit repetitive, but that’s how determined Labrada is to provide you with safe and effective products. Sure, you could take the risk of buying from a different supplement company. But what if its manufacturing standards weren’t as thorough or as safe? Knowing the lengths that Labrada goes to with each and every product, why would you want to settle for anything less?