Are herbal supplements safe?

Herbal supplementation is growing in popularity, and as more consumers turn to natural products, more manufacturers are seeing green. But does the green on a dollar bill cloud their focus on green living? The New York Attorney General thinks so.

Major department and drug stores – Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Target, and GNC – were the first to take the hit, with cease and desist letters calling out a lack of integrity in their herbal supplements. Not only did the investigation find that the products were low quality, but the contents did not even match the labels. Now, manufacturers are next on the list, asked to cooperate with a quality control investigation by the Attorney General’s office.

Maximized Living’s Suppliers Embrace Change

While some are strongly opposed to this move, citing concerns about consumer confidence being shaken and questioning the validity of the tests, the possibility exists that this may be less of an attack and more of an awakening. As one of Maximized Living’s trusted manufacturers concluded in their statement on the issue, “The dietary supplement industry, retailers and regulators should continue in their efforts to weed out those companies in the supply chain that are intentionally substituting ingredients that result in incorrect product label claims, and that may cause harm to consumers.”

Obviously with nothing to hide, our suppliers guarantee that our products are pure, labeled correctly and completely safe!

“Natural” Herbal Supplements Not Always Safe

Herbs have been used as dietary supplements and remedies for ages; any “trends” toward natural health are only part of a return to our roots, so to speak. But with a history of herbal use has always come a working knowledge of those herbs, passed down through generations. Modern consumers lack that generational wisdom. Natural is often equated with safe, despite documented effects that herbs can have on the body, especially the liver.

In addition to navigating self-treatment or finding a qualified herbalist, consumers also have to weigh the herbal products they choose to buy. Unfortunately, because all herbal supplements come with the obligatory “not evaluated by the FDA” statements, consumers could be growing numb to the fact that their remedies have no standard level of quality, and that they need to vet their sources. Issues of herbal product integrity have been found in the past – though not as widespread or widely publicized.

In other words, this investigation has not uncovered the first concern with herbal quality, and it will likely not be the last.

The takeaway here should certainly not be to throw the baby out with the bathwater or to fear herbal supplementation. On the contrary, consumers have more access to manufacturer statements and information than ever before and should certainly “vote with their dollar” by purchasing from trusted sources like Maximized Living. By supporting industry transparency and encouraging individuals to research brands and products, we can continue to improve quality, reliability, and consumer confidence in this age-old and vital component of healthcare.