(10/03/13) - A lot of people will turn to vitamins and other supplements to
soften the blow of cold and flu season. But how can you be sure the ones you buy
are safe, or even contain what you see on the label?
The choices are endless, says Dr. Kenneth Spaeth, "I think for consumers, it's really a challenge."
A challenge to find vitamins and supplements that work and won't hurt you, says Spaeth, of North Shore-LIJ Health System.
Dr. Spaeth recently noticed a problem - about 20 of his patients, taking the same brand and type of supplements, were getting sick. Some men lost their libido. Some women's voices became deeper and they grew facial hair.
"They didn't know what was happening to them," says Spaeth, who suspected three products by the Healthy Life Chemistry brand.
He zeroed in on the B50, multi-mineral, and vitamin C formulations, concluding they had contaminants consistent with the presence of steroids.
His suspicions led to a national recall.
Howard Chasser, owner of Jandi's Natural Market, in Oceanside New Jersey, warns consumers to be careful, "there are some bad players out there like any other industry."
Chasser has three safety tips: First, choose a well-known brand. There are brands that contract the manufacturing process out, but many companies that do this have significantly less control over the quality of their products.
He suggests doing your research. If the bottle says "manufactured for," then you can start by calling the contractor for information on raw materials used.
Finally, Chasser says, if the claims on the bottle sound too good to be true, Chasser says, they probably are, "there's no magic pills."
Dr. Spaeth advises that you always check with your doctor before taking any vitamin or supplement.
You can find out more about the vitamin recall HERE.
ABC12 Main Station