Have you given much thought to what’s actually in your supplement? I’m not talking about what the label says.

Sure that’s one good way to know what you’re ingesting but take a minute and think about what I might tell you.


Recently, the New York State Attorney General did some sophisticated testing on the efficacy of supplements.

His report concluded that major supplement retailers—GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart—are selling herbal supplements that do not contain what the labels say and also found that four out of five of the products did not contain any of the herbs on their labels.

The tests showed that pills labeled medicinal herbs often contained little more than cheap fillers like powdered rice, asparagus and houseplants, and in some cases substances that could be dangerous to those with allergies.

I don’t know about you but to me that is pretty darn alarming.

I mean come on GNC. You claim be the supplement retail store of America and you have been caught cheating. And Walgreens, a “pharmacy” is selling illegal and potentially DANGEROUS supplements to anyone who simply walks in.

This needs to be stopped.

But unfortunately, I don’t think it can.

Under a 1994 federal law, supplements are exempt from the F.D.A.’s strict approval process for supplements and prescription drugs, which requires reviews of a product’s safety and effectiveness before it goes to market.

Now, don’t go into your cabinet and start tossing out every pill and powder you have. There is hope.

Numerous companies are taking action against this crime and thanks to people like New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman light is being shed on this dark side of the supplement world.

GMP is one of those signs of assurance that the product you are consuming is exactly what is printed on the label. cGMP or GMP is short for ‘(current) good manufacturing practices’. To be labeled as GMP, regulatory agencies all throughout the world have set strict guidelines that must be followed.

GMP - good manufacturing practice used for production and testin

These guidelines are set by 3rd party agencies that control authorization, licensing for manufacturing and sale of product.

Also within these guidelines are parameters for the use of high quality ingredients that do not pose any risk to the consumer. So if you see GMP on your product, be sure that the product is safe and accurate to its claims.

NSF is another widely used symbol. NSF stands for ‘National Sanitation Foundation’. The NSF has been around since 1944 and another key to making sure that the products you use meet strict standards for public health protection.

NSF certification is not a one-time event, but involves regular on-site inspections of manufacturing facilities and regular re-testing of products to ensure that they continue to meet the same high standards required to maintain certification over time.

If for any reason a product fails to meet one or more certification criteria, NSF will take enforcement actions to protect you, including product recall, public notification or de-certification.

A lot of big-name supplement companies don’t bother going through this certification process just because it takes time and money. However many more companies are taking the extra steps to deliver to you the best product your hard earned money can buy.

I have used many different types of supplements from many different companies but after reading many reports of false labeling and ingredient mixtures I will only buy NSF or GMP certified products.

And this is even more important to those who compete in athletics where blood or urine sampling is required.

Just imagine that you are a professional athlete doing everything by the books and living a 100% healthy lifestyle but the multi-vitamin you are taking has a trace amount of an illegal ingredient that would cause you to be labeled as a cheater from your lab report.

This has happened and will continue to happen if either action isn’t taken by the F.D.A. or if you continue to buy products that aren’t stamped with GMP or NSF.

My hope for you is that you take this information and apply it to your life.

I’m not telling you what to do but if you care about your health and well-being just as much as I do, you will do whatever it takes to maintain that level of fitness and in this instance is to use a safe supplement that has been verified to be true.

We only live once so let’s make this life the best it can possibly be and it all starts with knowledge.

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By: Brian Klepacki, MS, CSCS, CISSN, FMS