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One of the most common things you all seem obsessed about is supplements. I get questions from Healthcare Triage viewers all the time. You're obsessed. We've covered them before here on Healthcare Triage News as well. But there's more news, so here's another episodes. Updates on supplements today on Healthcare Triage News:

For those of you who want to read more, go here: http://theincidentaleconomist.com/wordpress/?p=62003
John Green -- Executive Producer
Stan Muller -- Director, Producer
Aaron Carroll -- Writer
Mark Olsen -- Graphics

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 Intro


One the most common things we all seem interested in is supplements. I get questions from Healthcare Triage viewers all the time. You're obsessed. We've covered them here on news episodes as well, but there's more news so we're going to make new episodes. Updates on supplements, today on Healthcare Triage News.

Intro plays

 Fraudulent Supplements


(0:21) Back in February, the New York State Attorney General's Office issued a report that accused a number of big supplement producers and sellers of selling fraudulent and potentially dangerous supplements. They also told them to take their products off the shelves and stop selling them.

(0:35)For those of you who want specifics, they've run tests on herbal supplements at GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart. And found that, and I'm not making this up: 4 of the 5 products they tested contained NONE of the herbs on the labels. NONE.

(0:49)They're also full of cheap stuff, like powdered rice, houseplants, and asparagus. The Walgreen's Ginseng pills contained only powdered garlic and rice. The Walmart Ginkgo Biloba contained powdered radish, houseplants and wheat. And it even claimed that it was gluten-free! I swear you can't make this stuff up. 

(1:07)Now, let's face it: Walgreens, Walmart and Target have a business motto that is not entirely dependent on selling supplements. It's not so hard for them to comply, Walgreens moved to remove the products from their stores across the country, even though only New York had asked. GNC on the other hand, what else are they gonna sell?

(1:24)The problem with all of this is that the FDA doesn't really check on supplements. The more stringent rules about drug approval with checks on safety and effectiveness don't apply. It's more of a trust thing, an honor code if you will. It doesn't seem to work that well though. As the FDA thinks something like 70% of supplement makers don't listen.

(1:43)But, this week, GNC has agreed to change some things and it announced it would start a much more rigorous testing process on its supplements that would exceed what the government demands. Of course, going further than the government demands in this case ain't saying that much.

(1:57)But let's give credit where its due. They're saying that they will now use advanced DNA testing to make sure that the plants in their supplements match what's on the label. They'll also make sure some allergens aren't sneaking in unannounced. BUT, the GNC announcement only applies to actually GNC products. Anything else you buy in the store, well you're rolling the dice.

(2:16)Supplements are a $33 billion a year industry. MASSIVE! Lots of you seem to like them. Full disclosure: I take none. I don't get it, I see no good studies saying these products work even if you're actually getting what you think. According to these reports, odds are many of you aren't.

Outro plays