What’s in your Supplements

Question Mark Written in Flour on Black BackgroundYou’ve just purchased a bottle of the latest and greatest dietary supplement that money can buy – at least that’s what the late-night TV commercial and Internet advertisements said – and you’ve done your diligent research on the key ingredients. It seems safe enough, and you saw that several of your Facebook friends and TV celebrities have been using it, saying it works for them. But what if the product isn’t what it says it is? What if the label that you assume is complete and accurate isn’t telling you everything you need to know?

There has been an unsettling history in the supplement industry with some companies routinely producing products that are mislabeled, contaminated, or otherwise adulterated.1–7 This unacceptable practice has led to untold negative consequences for people including illness, hospitalizations, failed drug tests (employment or athletic competition), allergic reactions, poisonings, and even death.8–10 The mass majority of these products come from companies and internet sites with questionable integrity, usually from foreign countries, however this practice has also occurred with many seemingly reputable companies including large pharmaceutical companies, and American manufacturers.2

A 2014 news story reported that at least 12 common weight-loss supplements that can be found in mainstream vitamin shops contained a synthetic compound called 1,3-dimethylbutylamine (DMBA). This chemical has not been tested in humans but is chemically similar to another compound called DMAA which was banned by the FDA following reports of heart problems, nervous system disorders, and death. People using these supplements were unknowingly ingesting an untested chemical with unknown effects that was not listed anywhere on the product label.

Why would a company sell a product that is contaminated, adulterated, or mislabeled?4

  • Shot of a male scientist Substituting a cheaper ingredient to increase profits  
  • Adding low-cost fillers to dilute active ingredients and increase profits
  • Lack of quality control throughout the manufacturing process 
  • Inadequate or no testing for purity and potency of raw ingredients or final products 
  • Use of inferior raw ingredients that contain impurities and contaminants 
  • Adding controlled/banned substances to produce more dramatic effects
  • Contamination from chemicals or solvents used in production or manufacturing processes 

Remember that dietary supplements are regulated under the exact same guidelines as all of the foods you find on the shelves of your supermarkets.1 This means that there can be some of the same quality and contamination issues in the foods that you consume.11–13 A quality company, especially in the dietary supplement industry, knows that they need to go a step above and beyond what is required. They will hold themselves to the same strict standards that are required of pharmaceutical agents, sometimes even exceeding those standards.

Herbal supplement pillsAt Pinnaclife, we know that you and your loved ones are not test subjects for chemical compounds with unknown effects. We do not believe in giving our customers ingredients that have not been thoroughly tested and determined to be safe for human consumption. We only use certified organic plant-based ingredients and pharmaceutical-grade ingredients that meet requirements set by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) or National Formulary (NF). All products are manufactured in the United States at a cGMP facility. Independent laboratory testing of every raw ingredient and final product confirms that Pinnaclife supplements are pure, potent, and free of any ingredients that may be harmful to your health. In other words, what you see on the label is exactly what you get.

Unlike many supplements, Pinnaclife products do not include lists of obscure herbs or synthetic chemicals with little to no published scientific literature supporting their use or safety. We only select nutrients with a long history of safe and effective use that are familiar to you and the medical professionals you trust including olive leaves, green tea, grapevine, turmeric, natural vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.


  1. Van Breeman RB, Fong HHS, Farnsworth NR. The Role of Quality Assurance and Standardization in the Safety of Botanical Dietary Supplements. Chem Res Toxicol. 2008;20(4):577–582.
  1. Ventola CL. Current Issues Regarding Complementary and Alternative Medicine ( CAM ) in the United States Part 2 : Regulatory and Safety Concerns and Proposed Governmental Policy Changes with Respect to Dietary Supplements. P&T. 2010;35(9):514–522.
  1. Cassileth BR, Heitzer M, Wesa K. The Public Health Impact of Herbs and Nutritional Supplements. Pharm Biol. 2009;47(8):761–767.
  1. Newmaster SG, Grguric M, Shanmughanandhan D, Ramalingam S, Ragupathy S. DNA barcoding detects contamination and substitution in North American herbal products. BMC Med. 2013;11(1):222.
  1. Rotblatt MD. Herbal medicine : a practical guide to safety and quality assurance. WJM. 1999;171:172–175.
  1. Cohen P a. American roulette–contaminated dietary supplements. N Engl J Med. 2009;361(16):1523–5.
  1. Gilroy DJ, Kauffman KW, Hall RA, Huang X, Chu FS. Assessing potential health risks from microcystin toxins in blue-green algae dietary supplements. Environ Health Perspect. 2000;108(5):435–9. Available at: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1638057&tool=pmcentrez&rendertype=abstract. 
  1. Amster E, Tiwary A, Schenker MB. Case report: potential arsenic toxicosis secondary to herbal kelp supplement. Environ Health Perspect. 2007;115(4):606–8.
  1. Phua DH, Zosel a, Heard K. Dietary supplements and herbal medicine toxicities-when to anticipate them and how to manage them. Int J Emerg Med. 2009;2(2):69–76.
  1. Dunnick JK, Nyska A. The toxicity and pathology of selected dietary herbal medicines. Toxicol Pathol. 2013;41(2):374–86.
  1. Schell LM, Gallo M V., Cook K. What’s NOT to Eat: Food Adulteration in the Context of Human Biology. Am J Hum Biol. 2012;24(2):139–148.
  1. Kalia K, Flora SJS. Strategies for safe and effective therapeutic measures for chronic arsenic and lead poisoning. J Occup Health. 2005;47(1):1–21. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15703449.
  1. MacIntosh DL, Kabiru CW, Ryan PB. Longitudinal investigation of dietary exposure to selected pesticides. Environ Health Perspect. 2001;109(2):145–50. Available at: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1240634&tool=pmcentrez&rendertype=abstract. 

Disclaimer: These statements have not been reviewed by the FDA. Pinnaclife products are dietary supplements and are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The decision to use these products should be discussed with a trusted healthcare provider. The authors and the publisher of this work have made every effort to use sources believed to be reliable to provide information that is accurate and compatible with the standards generally accepted at the time of publication. The authors and the publisher shall not be liable for any special, consequential, or exemplary damages resulting, in whole or in part, from the readers’ use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this article. The publisher has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third party Internet websites referred to in this publication and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

Copyright 2014 McCord Research – All Rights Reserved.

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