Yet another supplement scam uncovered on Amazon. This time NPR found over 100 products claiming they can treat viruses like Covid. To make it even worse, the products making these claims remained on Amazon weeks after NPR identified the misleading labels. One of these companies, in particular, has already lost a federal case against them for similar violations. So what do they do? They just come back under a different label.
The supplement industry's defense against people scamming their products is distributing through credentialed healthcare practitioners. Then the consumer would use the products under the guidance of said healthcare practitioner. This idea prevents people from playing Dr. Google and consuming the wrong products which happens too often and can be very dangerous. It also makes it possible to avoid Amazon entirely and help out the little guy. Unfortunately, this is not working due to the complete lack of consumer education and product regulation. I would not be surprised if this creates the next public health crisis. Today I am highlighting Amazon's most recent scam but don't forget the F.D.A. has caught thousands of far more dangerous scams at Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target, GNC, Walgreens, and many more. So when you buy through a qualified healthcare practitioner, you ensure that what your buying and putting in your body is absolutely what it says on the label and you ensure you're avoiding harmful scams.
77% of all supplements sales in 2019 were on Amazon. This came after Amazon warned its users that the supplements they are buying might be fake due to thousands of scams unveiled by the F.D.A. That's why I say the supplement industry's defense system of distributing through qualified healthcare practitioners is not working. The remaining 23% of the market is dominated by other online vitamin and supplement hubs that also have been caught in scams and they do even less to protect consumers from fake, harmful, and misleading products. Amazon actually blocked 6.5 million products from hitting the Amazon market this year. The other 23% has very little way to identify fake or tainted products. Plus, they really don't care. They are all competing for their piece of what's left from Amazon. Again, to make my point about how this could be the next major public health crisis, the online supplement market is growing at a rate faster than anything else on eCommerce!
As a functional medicine practitioner and herbalist, it's my job to inform people about all this. This is a bigger mess than I ever understood it makes it clear to me why I provide supplements, herbs, and vitamins. The system that the ethical supplement manufacturers have in place does work when people use it. Unfortunately, we know that less than 1% of the population is using the system. First and foremost people don't use it because they simply don't know about it. The only education I see is coming from nutritionists and functional med practitioners, which is a really small group.
When you use the system, you get a diet targeted to your specific blood lab analysis, lifestyle, genetics, and goals. We always use food first and only supplement when needed! We try to replace supplements with food. Dr. Google will always just try to sell you more pills and nobody knows what's inside those pills. When we do prescribe supplements, vitamins, and herbs, they are prescribed with the purpose of making improvements to your blood lab analysis. This way you actually see real-life results from the supplements you take!
I think almost everyone would use this system of scientific nutrition and supplementation if they knew about it. So if you have read this far, hopefully, you learned a lot and you can share this info. In my next article, I will dive into what separates a Functional Medicine practitioner from all other healthcare practitioners when it comes to nutrition and supplementation.
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