by Mila McManus, MD
It always seems worth repeating – supplements are not all created equal! A recent study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) demonstrated, once again, the lack of quality control measure that are too common with over-the-counter supplements. Moreover, this is much more common with cheaper brands.
This investigation was for melatonin gummies for a sleep aid. The study analyzed 25 melatonin gummy products and found that 22 of them (88%!) did not contain what the label listed. One of them contained only 75% of the advertised amount on the label, while another had 347% more melatonin than the package listed. Another brand did not contain any detectable melatonin at all. Gummies are a popular delivery method for children’s supplements which makes this all the more concerning.
The same has been found to be true for many other supplements. I have written about this before and explained a number of concerns, including the distinction between whole food supplements and synthetic supplements, and I encourage you to read that here.
We want to make sure this does not happen to our patients, families, and friends. Supplements and protein powders are not a wise place to scrimp on your budget. The quality and purity of all of the ingredients, both active and “other” ingredients on the label, and the correct dosing as promised on the package, all add up to safety and effectiveness. We are also aware of many supplements that are being counterfeited on Amazon (more than half the supplements sold on Amazon are counterfeit!); another concern resulting in our recommendation that you also not buy supplements there. The supplements that we recommend at our facility have been vetted, so you can have peace of mind.
Be wise, be safe, and be well.