So 98% sounds awesome! I would be very happy with a 98% on my test score or say a 98% success rate in just about anything. I mean heck it’s amazing as a batting average! But when it comes to supplements it just ain’t good enough. I have laid out previously the concerns with supplements, how they are made, and the testing that some companies may or may not choose to do, but let’s dive in a little deeper to the purity and the cost involved with ingredients.
We are going to use Magnesium Chloride MgCl2 as an example and the costs associated with purity. Now QUALITY and PURTIY are two different things. You can have a quality ingredient but that doesn’t ensure that it is pure. So here is the breakdown for cost:
- 98% purity costs $0.52/gram
- 99% purity costs $0.68/gram
- 99.9% purity costs $7.19/gram
- 99.99% purity costs $10.20/gram
Which one do you want in the product that you are doing to be taking? This is a 20 fold increase in cost! You may think 2% isn’t a big deal but that 2% is huge especially if you are trying to take a product to help an issue you have going on. In the 2% is where a lot of contaminants and fillers come into play.
So what are some of the organizations out there that do testing for natural products? The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, NCCIH, which is part of the NIH has a budget of $124 million per year to do testing on supplements. The NIH budget is $30 billion overall to give you an idea of what they spend. They are responsible for finding that St. John’s Wort has clinically significant interactions with 30 different medications. They are also responsible for finding that fish oil helps prevent cardiovascular disease.
The Office of Dietary Supplements which is also part of the NIH has a budget of about $27 million. They look at the top selling dietary supplements and do research specifically on those products. Now this is all research done by the government on supplements but there is also research done by supplement companies sometimes.
The research by companies can be on clinical and basic research. There can be trials done on humans and they are VERY expensive. You need a lot of people involved to make these happen. A company can choose to do studies on animals as well. They can also study bioavailability, medication interactions, and mechanism of action. They can do research on the products as well on things like the formulation, quality assurance, bioavailability, and quality control. Manufacturers are NOT required to provide any scientific evidence of efficacy or safety!
Bottom line: Any one can put a product on the market and not do testing, or show that it will do anything that it claims.
The prescription drug sales is a $326 billion market, over the counter drug sales in at $30 billion. What do you think the market for dietary supplement industry in the US is at? It’s at $32.5 billion. So unlike the pharmaceutical industry which is not really growing the supplement industry is growing and will continue to grow. As these companies come out with products be aware of all that goes into supplements and buyer beware for creative marketing tactics!