I like a deal just like the next gal, in fact I am proud to find an incredible deal and love the feeling of knowing I got something fabulous at a discounted price. Moreover, sometimes it’s just not financially feasible to spend retail on everything and so finding ways to cut corners is necessary.
However, I draw the line when it comes to medicine that I am putting in my body and recommending to my patients and family members.
You deserve to know what is in your medicine, and you deserve to be able to take your supplements with confidence that they are not counterfeit, poisoned, and that they actually contain what they say they contain.
In this article I will explain why I do not recommend buying supplements from online retailers like Amazon, EBay or Vitamin World (as well as many others!).
Amazon has made headlines for counterfeit shops opening online shops and selling “knock off” supplements. Just like you can go to New York City and get a “Louis Vuitton” or “Rolex” from a vender on the street corner for $10 instead of the retail, venders are doing the same with supplements. With that Rolex, you know it’s not actually a Rolex, and if it was, it was stolen property. For some that’s not a deal breaker.
But what if that Nordic Naturals fish oil you got off Amazon
wasn’t actually Nordic Naturals Fish Oil?
What if that HMF Forte Probiotic you ordered online
had been sitting in someone’s car in the Arizona heat
for 6 weeks before they listed it for sale on Amazon?
This is just the tip of the iceberg.
A recent Forbes article entitled: “Amazon.com: The Place Where American Dreams Are Stolen By Chinese Counterfeiters,” it is described how journalists discovered that 25 percent of Amazon’s marketplace are Chinese knockoffs. That means, that you have at least a 25% risk that what you are buying is not actually what you think you are getting. This issue is not limited to products from China. Almost anyone with a computer and Internet connection can put pills in a bottle print a label and sell it to you online as medicine.
The supplement industry is a $112 billion and unfortunately has almost no regulation. This means that people who are selling you your vitamins, are operating on the honor code.
For me and for my patients, when it comes to medicine, being a guinea pig and placing a gamble is not worth the risk, nor is it appropriate.
Many Amazon Retailers are Selling You Supplements Illegally:
Companies like Orthomolecular Products and Xymogen attempt to protect the consumer from getting tainted, compromised, counterfeit or otherwise inappropriate products from third party sellers by making resale illegal. Companies like these have entire departments aimed at locating sellers and disabling their accounts, however it is a moving target as the retailer will just set up another account name and continue selling.
Mass Retailers = Massive Warehouses
Massive retailers keep their products in massive warehouses. There are three major issues with this:
- Climate control
- Label Integrity
You may know that supplements like probiotics and fish oil are temperature sensitive. That is why you may see them in the refrigerator at the health food store and that the label says to keep them in a cool dark place. However, large retailers often have massive warehouses that are not climate controlled and products may sit on shelves for weeks to years. When my patients come into my office, I often ask them to bring their supplements. I can’t tell you how many times I have opened their bottle of fish oil and smelled a horrible, and rancid odor in the bottle.
As mentioned, your Gaia Ashwagandha being sold on Amazon may not actually be Gaia Ashwagandha at all. Let’s say it is Ashwagandha, though not from Gaia, the questions remain:
- Where did they source the plant?
- Was the plant harvested during the time it had medicinal properties available?
- Was the plant sprayed with pesticides?
- Was there testing to ensure the plant was not compromised?
- What kind of additive ingredients are added?
- Does the label truthfully list the amount of medicine per serving or am I just trusting that they are being honest about this?
There are many more questions that can and should be asked.
Risk of Small Business Loss and Losing Access to These Vitamins
In order for your favorite supplement companies to keep making the products you love, they have to be profitable. Unfortunately, with counterfeit doppelgangers popping up all over the Internet, undercutting them on cost, it is almost impossible to keep a business afloat. The risk of buying your supplements online and not from your doctor or the retailer themselves is that the companies will simply close.
Not only will business closure eliminate our access to the actual wonderful vitamins that have saved countless lives across the globe, but it also limits us from research and development of new and innovative alternative medicines.
Where Can I Buy My Supplements?
I recommend purchasing of supplements directly from your physician or through your physician’s direct patient account. If you do not have access to a physician who utilizes physician-grade nutraceuticals, go to a health food store like Sprouts, Harvest Health or Fresh Thyme.
For any additional questions, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org