Nimbus Healthcare
December 02, 2022 | Supplements

How Do I Know A Supplement Is High-Quality?

Written by Dr. Richard Harris

“The supplement industry is unregulated” is a mantra you often hear that is not accurate. In 1994, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DHSEA) was passed, prohibiting the marketing and sale of adulterated or misbranded products. 1 A misbranded product has labeling that is false or misleading. Adulterated products are products that falsify the amount of an active ingredient present or contain active ingredients not present on the label. However, the act does not require supplements to be approved by FDA, and the FDA does not test supplements for safety and efficacy before being sold to consumers. The FDA will take action when it receives reports of adulterated or misbranded supplements or if a dietary supplement is suspected of causing harm. It also will inspect manufacturing facilities for product quality and labeling. Supplement makers must report any serious adverse effects they receive about their supplements to the FDA.

A study published in August 2022 examined 30 immune system-boosting dietary supplements available on Amazon. The researchers found that 13 of the 30 products had accurate ingredient labeling based on product analysis. 13 of the 17 products with inaccurate labels did not contain all the ingredients specified. Nine products had other substances present that were not listed on the labels. 15 of the products used terms like research-based or research-supported, but the evidence was lacking to support those claims. 2

The million-dollar question is, how do I know I’m getting quality supplements? Choosing quality supplements through conventional means like price discrimination or customer reviews is very hard. Quality supplements use third-party testing to verify that the products are not adulterated or misbranded. Labels like NSF, cGMP certified, and FDA inspected facilities let you know the manufacturer is doing independent testing on their products, following stringent manufacturing guidelines, and utilizing facilities that have been FDA inspected, respectively. At Nimbus, our Alpha Male X and Alpha Female are NSF, cGMP certified, and we utilize an FDA-inspected manufacturing facility.

Another aspect worth paying attention to is the label. Is the product a proprietary blend? There is nothing inherently wrong with proprietary blends, but often companies use this to use lower amounts of expensive ingredients. It can also be a way to change the quantities of the ingredients over time to enhance profitability without the customer knowing. Many proprietary blends with herbal products do so to prevent disclosing the herbal standardization amount of that ingredient. Herbal standardization ensures you receive the same amount of a specified herbal product from batch to batch. 3 High-quality companies use amounts that are backed by research. Everyone has access to the same research, so transparent companies do not hide their ingredient amounts from consumers to protect non-existent trade secrets.

Be careful of companies that make claims without posting links to credible research to back up those claims. High-quality supplement companies will list the research articles used to formulate their products. Be suspicious of any supplements that make claims that sound too good to be true.

1 “Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994”

1 Crawford C, Avula B, Lindsey AT, et al. Analysis of Select Dietary Supplement Products Marketed to Support or Boost the Immune System. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(8):e2226040. Published 2022 Aug 1. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.26040

1 Garg V, Dhar VJ, Sharma A, Dutt R. Facts about standardization of herbal medicine: a review. Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao. 2012;10(10):1077-1083. doi:10.3736/jcim20121002

At Nimbus, we have fully transparent labels on all our supplements; you will never see a proprietary blend on any of our products. I love our products and have been using Alpha Male X daily since we formulated the product. As a physician and a pharmacist, it is imperative for me to deliver quality products with complete transparency. As with any dietary supplement, we recommend discussing all supplements you take with your physician or pharmacist.

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