Online dietary supplements may not just be a waste of money, they may be harmful.

By Daniel Cajigas with Philip Davidson

Woodbury, NY

I’m often asked, “Aren’t all supplements and supplement companies essentially the same? What harm could a discount supplement do? The ingredients on the label look the same and sometimes even the product looks the same – it’s fine right?” Fact is, it’s not fine.

Not long ago, The New York Times reported GNC, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart had been selling fraudulent and possibly dangerous supplements. Four out of five of the products tested didn’t include any of the herbs on their labels, and often contained little more than cheap fillers like powdered rice, asparagus, and houseplants. 

Some included a ground up weed found in India and Australia that’s been linked to rashes, nausea, and flatulence. One supplement contained crushed black walnut, a potentially serious health hazard for people with nut allergies. The supreme irony in this, of course, is that people buy supplements to improve their health.

Keep in mind, these are reputable, well-known bricks and mortar retailers. Which raises the important question: How confident can you be of the quality and integrity of supplements sold online? The answer: Not very. 

The “wild west” of online supplement sales

The online marketplace in general is flooded with counterfeit products – even counterfeit prescription drugs – and perhaps no product category lends itself more to fraud than nutritional supplements. Not surprisingly, many industry experts believe the problem of fraudulent, sub-standard, even harmful online “mystery supplements” is much worse online than in retail stores. According to the World Health Organization, “the adulteration of herbal products sold online is a serious threat to consumer safety.”

Many of these so-called supplements come from countries lacking even the most minimal regulatory oversight and are concocted in dirty factories or basements. Some are sold to online retailers who put their own label on the products. Others are slapped with phony labels of well-known brands then sold online for “discount” prices. 

Some companies go to great lengths to mask inferior products by packaging them in glass bottles and using fancy labels. Other even less scrupulous companies create counterfeit labels to make a product appear legitimate, then charge a premium price.

The internet, it seems, has become home to product diverters. Third party liquidators are pushing supplements that at one time may have been perfectly legitimate, but have been sitting around unsold and are close to or past their expiration date. 

Storage conditions are also an issue, since they can cause a supplement to deteriorate faster than its posted expiration date. Too often supplements are stored in overheated warehouses where temperatures can reach more than 100 degrees F, drastically degrading their potency and effectiveness. That’s one reason to think carefully before buying supplements on Amazon.

Even Amazon, one of the country’s largest online supplement retailers, can’t guarantee the source and integrity of its supplements. Like the four national companies mentioned earlier, Amazon is a retailer and is unlikely to conduct quality control tests on the supplements it sells. It’s not Amazon’s function – they primarily just sell stuff.

Given the “wild west” mentality that pervades the online marketplace for supplements – and the adulteration, contamination, mislabeling, and outright fraud that are all too common – never in the history of shopping have the words “buyer beware” been more appropriate.

Supplements you absolutely, positively can trust

What can a supplement consumer do? How can you purchase supplements with confidence? The answer is two-fold. First, under no circumstances should you buy from an online reseller or mass retailer – there simply are no standards for quality control and storage of products. Second, look for the name Clinicians Supplement Consultants (CSC).

CSC supplements meet the demanding quality requirements of numerous, highly regarded independent organizations. Here are three examples:

  • All our supplements are made in strict accordance with the FDAs rigorous guidelines for Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). This means they’re made using scientifically sound design, processing methods, and testing procedures. It also guarantees our supplements are safe and provides assurance of their identity, strength, quality, and purity. 
  • CSC supplements have been tested by, and meet the demanding quality requirements of, NSF International. This third-party organization has no ties to the supplement industry and is one of the world’s most respected certification groups. When a supplement is NSF-certified, you can trust the integrity of its labeling and claims.
  • All our fish oil supplements meet the rigorous requirements of the International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS) Program, a third-party testing and certification group that sets the world’s highest standards for the purity, potency, and freshness of fish oils.

What’s more, given the quality control standards in the U.S. versus other countries, it’s important you see “Made in the USA” on the label of whatever supplements you buy. That’s why Clinicians brand supplements, along with most of the other supplements we sell, are packaged in the USA.

In short, CSC’s quality standards are among the highest in the supplement industry, as are our requirements guaranteeing their exact formulation. You can rest assured knowing that every single CSC supplement contains precisely what’s on the label and is not only completely safe, but bioavailable. This means your body will be able to absorb it for maximum effectiveness. You can also have complete confidence that all CSC ingredients are pure, and that our dosages are 100% accurate. 

At Clinicians Supplement Consultants, we stand by the exceptional quality of our supplements – and we always will. 

About Daniel Cajigas

Daniel Cajigas has hosted a popular weekly talk radio show, Clinicians’ Corner, in New York City for more than 20 years. The show highlights health news, national health issues, and integrative health products, and often includes notable health professionals from around the world interested in educating Mr. Cajigas’ listeners. Although his primary expertise is in health supplements, Mr. Cajigas discusses health issues important to many Americans, such as weight loss, diabetes, anti-aging, lipid management, quality of life, inflammation, and men’s and women’s health. 

In addition, Mr. Cajigas has worked closely with health practitioners to develop cutting edge supplements. The result of his efforts are hundreds of products that have enabled practitioners to provide their patients products they trust. Although Clinicians Supplements Consultants (CSC) is not a familiar name in the retail market, practitioners have known and utilized the brand for many years. Says Mr. Cajigas, “After 19 years of assisting patients, health care professionals, and manufacturers, I realized there’s a huge void between the three, so I’ve created a bridge between them. It is through my knowledge, experience, and relationships that I’ve developed a program that CSC can tailor for individual clinicians.”


Daniel Cajigas at dlc@cscprivatelabel.com or 855-272-7220

On twitter @cscnewsfeed