Not all supplements are equal! It’s really important to make sure if you are spending money on a supplement, that you are getting good quality and that the product contains what you think you are buying. The American Botanical Council regularly reviews products for adulteration (in other words they may contain something other than advertised). Recently they highlighted three studies, one of products containing broccoli and two of cranberry products.
Broccoli constituents, such as glucoraphanin help support the liver and are sometimes used in cancer prevention. In an analysis of 13 products only 5 contained the correct concentrations. One was labelled as a superfood and actually only contained 0.08 mg glucoraphanin per 100g of, compared to the comparison product of 6mg.
The two studies on cranberry, commonly used for urinary tract infections, showed in the first study only two products out of nine to contain the correct amount of cranberry and in fact one labelled as a cranberry concentrate with Vitamin C, had no cranberry at all. In the second study 10 out of 27 products were adulterated. The analysts surmised some of the products contained either hibiscus or black mulberry. Products are generally adulterated for price and commercial reasons.
So how do you know that you are buying a good product? It does require a bit of work – look at the manufacturer’s website, do they talk about good manufacturing practice? If it is a herb, do they explain how they source? Don’t always rely on shop assistants I am afraid as sometimes sales are driven by promotions and targets. If you have a query on a particular supplement, just ask your local naturopath/herbalist or drop me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org