The Frightening World of Counterfeit Supplements and How To Avoid Them

If you’ve been following the news, you may have seen this article on counterfeit supplements pop up about Amazon last week. To make a long story short - several Amazon customers were sold counterfeit Align probiotic pills through a third party vendor on the platform. It’s a frightening tale, to say the least.

This is not the first time Amazon has dealt with a problem like this. Dodgy third-party providers are a constant sore-point for the Seattle-based megastore and something they actively rail against through initiatives such as Brand Registry and Project Zero. However, to my knowledge, Amazon’s problems with fakes have never been this sinister. Supplement knockoffs put consumers health and safety at risk. And that is not okay. 

Personalized Supplements

But it’s not just Amazon who is at fault here. Counterfeit supplements highlight the shortcomings of supplement regulations. Unlike food, supplement policing is largely the responsibility of the manufacturers. Yes, the FDA governs what you can and can’t say, but their involvement beyond that is limited. 

So, what can you do to ensure you’re getting the supplements you paid for and not a pill full of controversial fillers like magnesium stearate, carrageenan, and titanium dioxide?

Here’s what you should look for:

Buy direct-to-consumer

Cut out the middleman and buy directly from the manufacturer to avoid scam products. Make sure your supplements arrive properly sealed and look for tell-tale signs of a fake like leaky capsules, asymmetrical pills, inconsistent coloring, etc. At made for_ we show you what our pills look like on product pages and work directly with our raw material producers and encapsulators to produce our supplements. 

Watch out for marketing speak

Does a supplement seem too good to be true? Then it probably is. Watch out for products that promise to cure, treat, or remedy disease. The list of FDA-approved health claims is fairly short and applies to a small set of supplements. Look for products that show the scientific literature behind their product. 

Fake supplements

Do your homework on sourcing

Don’t be afraid to probe about where your supplements come from. If the manufacturer can’t provide this information, it’s usually not a good sign. At made for_ we know where our products are produced and display this information on product pages. 

Look for dietitians and nutrition experts on the team

It’s scary how many supplements are developed without consulting a dietitian or nutrition expert. Nutrition science is messy and developing supplements without experts guidance is risky business. Before you buy your next round of supplements make sure that they have one or more nutrition experts, preferably dietitians or academic researchers, on staff. At made for_, we pair our personalized supplement service with nutrition support from dietitians to ensure that your supplement mix is safe and effective. Our nutrition team consists of Registered Dietitians and highly credentialed researchers, and they’re involved in everything from product development to customer care. 

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