When the show had weight loss supplements tested to see if they contained the active ingredients they claimed, two of the three failed. That’s particularly upsetting to Dr. Oz himself because unscrupulous dietary supplement companies often steal his name and image to promote their products.
It’s bad enough that they’re illegally trading on his good name, even worse when the products don’t measure up. The dietary supplement industry is a tricky one because it’s not regulated by the government. Here are some ways you can protect yourself and make sure you get what you paid for.
- Scrutinize trendy ingredients. Tod Cooperman of ConsumerLab.com said his team sees a surge in fakes any time a new ingredient is trending in the news. Think green coffee bean, acai berry, garcinia cambogia and so on. It’s especially important to buy trendy supplements only from trusted suppliers.
- Check for active ingredient. Reputable supplements should list the number of milligrams or micrograms of the active ingredient you are after. Questionable supplements often do not contain this information.
- Be the hunter, not the hunted. In other words, do your homework and do business with companies that you seek out, not those that come after you. Legitimate supplement makers don’t advertise their products in spam emails or Internet pop up ads.
- Consider your doctor’s office. Testing by ConsumerLab.com has found that supplement brands carried by doctors’ offices are often —though not always— of higher quality than those found on the mass market.
- Buy from known stores. Established brick and mortar stores have more to lose than fly-by-night Internet retailers —namely their reputations. So one possible solution for buying supplements is to purchase them from well-known drugstores.
- Beware extreme claims. When supplements are advertised with outlandish lines like “the pill that ends wrinkles,” steer clear. It sounds over the top but we found examples of similar advertising claims all over —especially on the Internet.
- Don’t buy Dr. Oz’s name/image. Dr. Oz does not endorse ANY supplements, so if you see his name or image on advertising or packaging for a supplement, that is a tip off to a rip-off. Would a reputable manufacturer really steal somebody’s identity?
- Look for certifications. Look for supplements certified by one of three outside organizations. They actually test supplements and provide assurance that they contain the ingredients listed on label —and no harmful contaminants. The certifications to look for are: United States Pharmocopeia (USP), NSF International, ConsumerLab.com.
- Use research, not referrals. Don’t use supplements just because your friends like them. Research the potential benefits —and possible side effects— at reputable websites like: Consumer Reports.org, FDA.gov and MedlinePlus.gov.