Third Party Tested supplements are the only ones I would use and recommend.
Third Party Testing – Third Party Tested Supplements means that after a supplement is manufactured it is then sent to an independent and unaffiliated testing company which tests the finished supplement for label accuracy and purity before it is sold to the consumer.
We have contacted many brands to determine if their products are 3rd party tested and just about all of them that will respond to us tell us that they have very strict standards and testing procedures to ensure the purity and potency and the label accuracy of their products.
This may sound great to the average consumer but unfortunately some of these brands that only do in-house testing have been independently tested by other companies and were found to have label inaccuracies and impurities in their products.
If these products where 3rd party tested, these tests would show this before the product was sold.
That is why we highly recommend only using supplements that have 3rd party testing.
Sadly, some supplement review websites recommend products that are NOT 3rd-party tested and some even recommend supplements that we know have not passed independent testing.
So why are not all supplements 3rd Party tested?
Where Supplements Are Made
There are two primary ways that supplements are made in North America.
Large Supplement Brands
Large brands may have their own in-house manufacturing facilities and they often do all their own testing from raw materials to finished products. It is our experience that they rarely use third-party testing. That’s not to say they have good or bad supplement and that you should not trust them, but I don’t. Who’s to say they aren’t cutting corners to make extra profits for their shareholders! With the amount of money these large brands are making why not spend the extra money to have your product 3rd party tested?
Contract Supplement Manufacturing
Many smaller brands of supplements will use contract manufacturing companies to make their supplements for them.
These big contract manufactures normally test the raw materials when they arrive and if they’re good manufacturers they will also test the supplements at differed stages of the manufacturing process. This is also considered in house testing.
Sometimes these contract supplement makers don’t follow the rules. Recent reports from the FDA show some of these contract manufacturing companies have been hit with fines for not being compliant and thousands of supplements have been recalled. Had these brands had their products 3rd party tested after it was manufactured there would not be any issues.
While most brands rely on the manufactures testing, having a product 3rd party tested is the gold standard in supplements and we believe it’s a very important thing to consider when buying supplements.
GMP Manufacturing Is Not Enough
While most or all manufacturers of supplements in the USA are expected to be FDA GMP (good manufacturing practice) compliant, a report from Natural products insider suggests that 58 percent from 379 facilities received an inspection report from the FDA for alleged violations of the cGMPs.
It is also expected that the Brand (the company who’s name is on the product) is also responsible to ensure the safety and regulatory compliance of the products they make but there are a lot of brands that just rely on their manufacturers testing and their word.
Even though this is a requirement, many Brands get warnings from the FDA for failing to comply with GMPs, which includes misbranding, undeclared or adulterated ingredients, impurities such as unapproved ingredients, and incorrect levels of ingredients. This clearly shows that relying on the manufacturers testing doesn’t always work.
In our opinion, once a manufacturer ships the finished product to the Brand, the finished product should be then third-party tested for impurities and to ensure label accuracy.
Products not tested by an independent third party company could have little to no active ingredients, or have more then the label claims or could have other ingredients or impurities in it that you don’t want to ingest and the Brand selling it would not even know until it was to late.
Review Websites Not Recommending Third Party Tested Supplements
There are lots of examples of supplements not providing what they claim on the label. As an example ConsumerLabs reported that in 2014 only 2 out of 8 Ashwagandha products they tested passed their tests. That’s an alarming number and one consumers should be aware of which is why we rarely if ever recommend supplements that are not third party certified.
However, it’s not uncommon to find many review websites recommending supplements that are not third party tested and we have seen some even recommended products that failed consumerlabs.com testing.
See our article on why you should use caution when considering products from other supplement review websites
Even The Largest Retailers Are Susceptible To Label Inaccuracies
If you think you can just buy your products from big reputable companies and you’ll be safe, think again.
Not being GMP or third party tested might be why big companies like Walmart, Walgreens, Target, GNC and Amazon have been caught selling bad supplements with almost no active ingredients and ingredients that are not listed on the bottle that could pose serious health risks to consumers. Read that story HERE. . .
Why Not Test Products
After hearing about so many issues with supplements you would think every Brand would just test there products before they sell them, and why wouldn’t they?
Smaller and new supplement companies don’t usually use third party testing because it’s expensive, I hear it’s often over $3000 per product. So a new or small company that has 10 orders in for 10 different supplements it could cost them over $30,000 dollars, which most of them can not afford.
Some companies just don’t do this because they know most consumers don’t know to look for third party testing or don’t understand the importance of it anyways, so why spend $3000 on a batch of supplements when they don’t need to?
Other Companies that use cheap raw ingredients and cheap supplement manufactures won’t do this because it’s likely that their products wont pass the test and if they market their products well enough they’ll en up selling anyways.
It’s often only the bigger, more reputable companies that have the money and really care about their customers enough to get third party tests done.
Check out one of our favorite websites www.consumerlab.com who is an independent testing website for supplements and see for yourself how many brand name supplements they found that have inaccurate labels.
Although most supplements from reputable brands that are GMP manufactured in the USA will likely be safe and meet label claims without being third party tested, we rarely if ever recommend or use supplements that are not third party tested.
If you have a choice to choose and 3rd party tested supplement over one that is not third party tested we highly recommend buying the third party tested supplement.
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