Author: Dr. Gary Huber

All supplements are NOT created equal. Don't cheat yourself by using poor quality nutritionals.


Do you know what’s REALLY in that bottle on nutritional supplement you just purchased? At Huber Personalized Medicine we only carry and endorse pharmaceutical grade materials from the leading manufacturers worldwide. Here’s why . . .

 GNC, Target, Wal-Mart, and Walgreens were accused of selling adulterated ‘herbals’ by the Attorney General of New York. An investigation by the New York State attorney general’s office into store-brand supplements at four national retailers — GNC, Target, Walgreens and Wal-Mart, showed multiple violations in their content. All four have received cease-and-desist letters demanding that they stop selling a number of their dietary supplements, few of which were found to actually contain the herbs shown on their labels and many of which included potential allergens not identified in the ingredients list.

“Contamination, substitution and falsely labeling herbal products constitute deceptive business practices and, more importantly, present considerable health risks for consumers,” said the letters, first reported by the New York Times.

 The investigators tested 24 products including Echinacea, garlic, gingko biloba, ginseng, saw palmetto, St. John’s Wort and valerian root. A form of “genetic fingerprinting” was used to identify the DNA of what was in the bottle. What they found was that many products contained elements that were not identified on the label such as wheat, beans and other foods that could prove allergenic. Of the four retailers, Wal-Mart was the worst offender: None of its six supplements that were tested was found to contain purely the ingredient advertised.

The other issue that occurred repeatedly is that a stated ingredient was nowhere to be found in the product. For example, GNC’s Herbal Plus brand of Gingko Biloba was examined and NO gingko was found. GNC’s St John Wort and their Ginseng products showed no St Johns Wort and no Ginseng.

In similar fashion WalMarts “Spring Valley” brand showed no content of Ginkgo, St Johns Wort or Ginseng either. Their garlic product did have a small amount of garlic, and their Saw Palmetto was hit or miss with some containers showing some Saw Palmetto while other were bare.

Walgreens seemed to truly flame out as their “Finest Nutrition” brand was devoid of any active ingredient in the Ginkgo, Garlic, Ginseng and St Johns Wort products. At some point you have to take note that these subpar, unethical products are just gunning for your wallet and have no interest in your health.

We have to remember that this is an industry with many low-end companies not concerned about your health. This is in stark contrast to companies like Thorne Research, Ortho Molecular, Zymogen and many others that exhaust tremendous resources to ensure that the product they make is properly identified using high tech means and ensure extreme purity. My reputation as your doctor rides on my ability to guide you to qualified supportive elements that truly impact your health. That's why we only work with companies that can demonstrate purity and consistency in the products they provide. To go into the market place and try to navigate your way through the quagmire that exists is fraught with potential dangers and almost certain disappointment.

The New York attorney general’s letters also cited a 2013 Canadian study of 44 common supplements, in which one-third of herbal supplements that were tested contained no trace of the plant advertised on the bottle. Canadian researchers tested 44 bottles of popular supplements sold by 12 companies. They found that many were not what they claimed to be, and that pills labeled as popular herbs were often diluted — or replaced entirely — by cheap fillers like soybean, wheat and rice. In the U.S., 65% of all supplement companies in the market place have been sited with FDA violations. 

This does nothing to shake my confidence in good companies that make quality products. In fact presently the Mayo clinic is using supplements made by Thorne Research in medical trials for the treatment of multiple disease states. Why Thorne? Because their products have been tested and proven to meet pharmaceutical standards and shown in human studies to get clinical results. Scientific evidence and years of clinical study that show the impact of botanical herbs when properly prepared have a resounding impact on reversing disease states.

Bottom line – garbage in is garbage out. Trust in your doctor to select the right product to move your health forward as he/she has your best interest in mind and is staking their reputation on the recommendations made. Also understand that if you choose to enter the market place in search of the “quality” products that you are subject to good marketing with absolutely no tools at your disposal to discern good product from total garbage.