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Supplement Safety

When it comes to most consumer products in the United States, there is typically a large amount of regulation surrounding them. In most scenarios, the safety regulations have been put in place for good reason. Of course one of the most telling tales comes from Upton Sinclair’s novel, The Jungle, detailing some serious health concerns involving the meat packing industry in Chicago. The use of unclean meat and tainting of the products lead to what we know today as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

One might think the FDA inspects most consumer products that one ingests; however, you would be wrong. The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 stated manufacturers must make their products free of contamination or adulteration, but still allows companies to sell their products without providing any proof of their quality (1). Although the innocent until proven guilty status of the supplement companies sounds very American, it can be dangerous for the everyday consumer.

There are a wide variety of problems that can arise within the quality and contents of supplements. Similar to the food industry, contaminated products can still find their ways to consumers. One study looked at nearly 200 hundred different herbal supplements and unfortunately found products such as alfalfa, coriander, echinacea, garlic, ginkgo, juniper, licorice and St. John’s wort contained a high level of microbial contamination indicating that the microbes were in fact growing on the products (1). Heavy metals can also find their way into supplements, particularly if they are manufactured outside of the U.S.. Another study found 5% of the supplements tested exceed the upper limits of arsenic, ~2% lead, cadmium, aluminum, and ~1% mercury (1).

The most problematic issue when it comes to supplements is that the contents of the supplements themselves are not as advertised. This can happen due to manufacturers using different varieties of herbs and salts in their products to cut costs (1). Not all forms of supplements react the same way with our body’s chemistry and unfortunately can even have negative effects. This is why we have decided to start offering our patient’s access to Fullscript! Fullscript is an online supplement dispensary hosting the safest source for practitioner grade vitamins and supplements. Their catalog is filled with only the most trusted brands in the industry, and they carry all of the products that Dr. Kennedy uses personally. If you would like a consultation on supplements you should be taking or even just access to the catalog, reach out to the office for help!


White C. M. (2020). Dietary Supplements Pose Real Dangers to Patients. The Annals of pharmacotherapy, 54(8), 815–819.

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