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I have patients all the time who question the practitioner grade supplements versus the ones they can find over the counter at Costco, Walmart, Target and other stores. It's always a hard conversation to have when they have been taking the supplements for a long time, but have not seen changes in lab work and health.
How effective and safe are these over the counter supplements?
One of the reasons there is so much discrepancy between practitioner grade and over the counter is the fact that there is no FDA regulation on supplements. The regulation falls on the shoulder of the manufacturer. It is up to the company to seek out third party verification to certify the product label matches what is in the bottle. Poor quality control in most cheap products leads to poor quality supplements.
Because of this inconsistency, patients often say they have tried certain supplements and they didn't work for their condition, and they are leery of trying them again with the practitioner grade products.
A 2017 study of thirty-one different over the counter brands of melatonin found that the dosage and ingredients of 71% of the products did not match the product label. The product dosage varied from -83% to 478% of the labeled dosage, and 70% had less than 10% of what was claimed.
In 2015, the New York state attorney general's office investigated over-the-counter supplements. They found that four out of five products pulled from the shelves of Walmart, GNC, Target, and Walgreens didn't contain any of the herbs listed on the supplement label. WOW!
Our Supplement Lines
Practitioner or pharmaceutical grade are only available through board certified practitioners and physicians. These products have been through serious third-party testing that provides unbiased analysis of the supplement quality. This ensures that no unlisted ingredients are present and that the label represents the dosage in the bottle. Once the product has met these third-party standards, they are certified.
I am not a big supplement pusher. When I do recommend supplements, it is typically 1-3 max! Otherwise, how do you know what is working? Each of the supplement brands that I carry is third party testing, hypoallergenic, and has quality assurance. These practitioners only lines offer high quality with a reasonable price point.