How to Check for Quality when Ordering Natural Products
This blog does not intend to provide diagnosis...
In this article:
- The Downside of Rock-Bottom Supplement Prices!
- A Guide to Smarter Online Shopping for Dietary Supplements
- Shop at iHerb
- Choose National and Well-known Brands
- Buy Third-Party Tested or iTested Products
- Look for Warehousing Quality Standards
- Focus on Fresh
- Look for Genuine Customer Reviews
While many quality dietary supplements are on the market, the category continues to be full of products that need to meet label claims better, especially online.
Sometimes, these products contain no measurable levels of the compound(s) listed on the product label. For this situation to ever occur is unacceptable and potentially dangerous.
Recently one of our partner companies noticed extremely low prices on CoQ10 from various 3rd party resellers on online marketplaces. The products looked legitimate, with aesthetic packaging and thousands of 5-star reviews.
But the pricing didn’t add up. Intrigued, they ordered samples of three brands competing for the top spot on the page. When they tested the products, the results were astonishing. Each product claimed 400 mg but contained only 116 – 127 mg, less than 1/3 of the labeled amount. When they expanded their testing to more CoQ10 products from this same 3rd party seller, the results were even more shocking as none of the 11 tested brands met the label claim, and most had less than 20 mg though they claimed 400 mg. And two brands had zero detected.
Unfortunately, these brands are run by small, agile players looking to make a quick buck. They are aggressive about generating fake reviews. And they don’t worry about being shut down because they can instantly reappear under a new label.
This marketplace also carries national brands, but the prices are higher and with fewer product reviews. As a result, they are hard to find.
We urge consumers to choose quality products offered at great value instead of questionable products at impossibly low prices that provide no value.
Quality control is essential when buying any product, but it is even more important with nutritional supplements, as they directly affect our health and well-being.
- Shop at iHerb because of its quality control processes
- Choose national and well-known brands
- Buy iTested® products or products tested by 3rd party labs
- Make sure products are stored in climate-controlled warehouses
- Always check the expiration date of the products you order
- Look for verified customer reviews.
iHerb acts as a gatekeeper to prevent bogus products by employing a quality control process to screen products from companies that use Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and quality control measures to guarantee what is stated on the label is contained in the product.
Without a quality control system, online marketplaces are susceptible to small and agile companies looking to make a quick buck by knowingly or unknowingly peddling products that will not deliver label claims. The consumer judges the products only on their beautiful packaging, cleverly worded unsubstantiated claims, and the fake reviews the companies have paid for. They are not concerned about being shut down because they can easily get re-listed under a new name.
Look for brands that sell on many online sites and in conventional retail stores. These brands have reputations to protect and take steps to maintain quality. They have internal R&D and quality control departments, and many use 3rd party labs to check the quality of raw materials. Except for iHerb’s house brands, all different brands offered at iHerb are also sold through other marketplaces or retail stores.
Dietary supplement manufacturers often use some very good certification organizations that provide quality control guarantees like NSF® (National Science Foundation), USP® (United States Pharmacopeia), UL® (Underwriters Laboratories), and ISURA®.
There is also a trend for manufacturers to validate their raw materials and products through 3rd party laboratories. Some companies practice transparency by posting chemical testing of their products to assure consumers of quality. For example, iHerb has a testing program called iTested. Each iHerb house brand product with the iTested logo has been:
- Tested by a certified 3rd party independent laboratory for ingredients, purity, and label compliance
- Offers complete transparency by providing a verified report
- Allows quality assurance, authenticity, and product guarantee
Some marketplaces store products where heat or cold can destroy product integrity. Make sure you shop from online stores with warehouses suitable for selling natural products. Look for Climate Controlled Warehousing and Adherence to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). iHerb offers both.
Try to determine the expiration date of the products you order. Many times huge discounts on national brands could mean expiration dates are approaching. iHerb shows the expiration of every product and different lots of a product. Our inventory has a turnover rate that averages 8.1 times per year.
All iHerb reviews are posted by our customers who have ordered the product.
Buy with confidence when ordering from iHerb. We are committed to providing the best quality, service, and pricing possible.