In 2007, $15 billion was spent on alternative supplements many herbal that can best be described as phony.
A recent study looked at 44 herbal products from 12 companies, 30 species of herbs and 50 leaf samples to see if their contents were related in any way to what their labels stated.
59 percent of the products contained material from plants not listed on the label.
Just 48 percent contained what they claimed as the active ingredient. Of those, 1/3 were contaminated with ingredients and fillers; some that pose health risks.
Only two of 12 companies delivered what they promised on the label without any substitutions.
The Food and Drug Administration says store shelves contain more than 300 adulterated supplements, some with unidentified prescription medications, others with heavy metals that up the risk of heart attack, stroke and death. Thats why ClevelandClinicWellness.com (Dr. Mike is the Clinics Chief Wellness Officer) sources supplements only from manufacturers and suppliers that have been verified as providing pure products.
What can you do?
Rely on an ingredients certification seal from the United States Pharmacopeial Convention. Five companies (go to usp.org) have earned them.
Remember, even reliable supplements are just that. Theyre meant to supplement, not substitute for, a healthy lifestyle.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of The Dr. Oz Show, and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.