Often times anti-health pundents and nay-sayers of supplementation will often taut the factthat the vitamin and herbal industry is not regulated by the FDA. They will argue that because of this fact no one knows what they are getting. Perhaps this fear is warranted. How can one find a product or company to trust? First and foremost a repuation is vital. As with anything a red flag with supplements is if it is the absolute cheapest than it may not be the best. The reason that this is the case is that quality control costs money. Truthfully, anyone can find sources for raw ingredients just by googling it, or surfing sites like alibaba.com. Where alot of over-head comes into play is quality control across the full life-cycle of the product.
What kind of testing do top-tier companies do for quality control?
The most primitive yet effective test that one company performs is testing to see if the harvesters in the field have access to hot water! If they can not clean thier hands how can they focus on other aspects of quality. Some test DNA to make sure it is the right plant. Some even go far enough to verify that the right part of the plant is in the bottle. This is important because the chemical composition of various parts of an herb may serve different functions and act on the body differently. Another way to make sure you can trust a company is by NSF certication
Who is the NSF and what do they do?
The NSF, formerly called the National Science Foundation, is an international organization that certifies a products quality as it relates to what the label states. For instance, if the bottle says, “Valeran Root” You know you are getting actual valerian root! The NSF was founded in the 1940’s and are more of a company that tests the quality of products than on research. The NSF helps police, or regulate, product quality and purity. However, because the NSF is not a governmental agency those who opt to earn an NSF certification actually have to volunteer to be certified and agree to be audited onsite! If a company who doesnt have to be certified gets certified then the trust of that company should go up.
Why doesnt every herb and supplement company get NSF certified?
Lets be clear, just because a company doesnt have an NSF certification does not by itself mean you shouldnt trust the products that they sell. However, if they are a name brand that you recognize it should be on your mind. Obtaining an NSF certification is a rather lenthy process, very time-intensive, and expensive. For this reason, products that come from manufacturing plants that have to adhere to such strict guidelines find it hard to compete for your dollar. The reason for that is that they are not the cheapest herbs out there. Compound that problem with a lack of public knowledge of the difference between cheap herbs and vitamins verse ones that are more expensive and it turns into a marketing hardship. The reason some dont get the NSF certification is the bottom-line of the company. On the otherhand, those who do earn the NSF certification many times have a corporate culture of either activism or altruism and while they are running a business for profit, it is not the sole goal of the company.
Where to get the best herbs and vitamins?
You can go directly to the NSF website and look a company up in the directory. For instance, a company dotfit is sold in many gyms and sells a number of supplements. Interestingly the only herb and supplement company that has an NSF International certification and is listed on the top 100 most truthworthy companies listed in Forbes magazine is Nature’s Sunshine. They sell herbs through distrubutors and many of them have websites like http://www.sunshineandherbs.com which has over 600 NSF certifited herbs and vitamins from Nature’s Sunshine, one of the website owners has almost 40 years experience in the Herb and Vitamin industry. Here is the NSF link so that one can look up the NSF database and protect yourself and give your body what it deserves only the finest products.