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Monday, March 2, 2015

The great herb heist

Doctor's House Call Al Sears
Al Sears, MD
11905 Southern Blvd.
Royal Palm Beach, FL 33411
March 2, 2015
Dear William,
For a long time, I've been warning you that the big box stores are being less than honest with you when it comes to supplements. In fact, it appears they want to rip you off.
Investigators in New York State have discovered that the merchandising giants, riding high on the health-and-wellness wave, have been overcharging customers for cut-rate herbs, vitamins, minerals and other supplements.
You may have read about it or heard it on the news. But it's even worse than I previously thought.
I started out warning you to stay away from synthetic multi-vitamins that require 400 times the recommended dose to do you any good.1 The big box stores are in the habit of buying the cheapest products possible so they can make the biggest profits possible.
And that means they end up with capsules of manmade Franken-vitamins that customers buy in good faith to improve their health.
As I have been saying for years… they don't improve your health!
Some of these manmade monstrosities have even been chemically conjured out of coal tar, a known carcinogen.2
Technically, these vitamins have the same molecular structure as the natural vitamins. But your body can't absorb them properly, so they pass right through your system without doing any good – or perhaps even doing harm along the way.
So they are not just pointlessly taking your money, they might also be robbing you of your health.
Vitamins from truly natural sources, usually plants, come with trace minerals, enzymes and other biochemicals. All of these help them work better with your biology.
For example, the natural form of vitamin E has a significantly higher anti-oxidant effect than the synthetic form.3,4
Then I warned you to avoid a useless form of synthetic CoQ10. This is not the natural product that gives your cells energy, but an alien molecule whipped up by Big Agra from pesticide-laden tobacco leaves.
Now we've discovered that you can't even count on getting the herbs you pay for at many of the major chain stores.
The scandal has cast a shadow over all the honest people who provide honest supplements – including myself.
I care deeply about the health and well-being of my patients. And I am appalled at the dishonesty of many of these chains.
In New York State, the attorney general has accused GNC, Target, Walmart and Walgreens of selling bogus bottles of ginseng, gingko biloba, St. John's Wort, valerian root and other herbs.5
Investigators charge that four-out-of-five of the bottles they tested from the stores' shelves didn't contain even a bit of DNA from the herb on the label.
Instead, investigators found most of the capsules contained fillers, like rice scraps, spruce clippings, and houseplant shreds. Some other odd ingredients were peas, beans, radish, and asparagus.
Worst of all, investigators have charged that some of capsules contained wheat, which made them a health hazard to anyone who's allergic to the grain. In one case, these capsules were sold in a bottle labeled "wheat and gluten free."
State prosecutors have now demanded proof of source and that the herbs had been tested for the quality claimed on many of the bottles.
As a physician who cares deeply about the well-being of all my patients, I can vouch for every ingredient in each and every one of the supplements that I prescribe.
The most reputable suppliers provide a Certificate of Analysis, or COA. Every COA verifies that the ingredients have been tested to prove they contain the proper contents in their proper quantities.
COAs also tell you what's not in the ingredients. They confirm they've been tested and found to be free of toxic heavy metals, like mercury and lead. Among other tests, they show the ingredients are also free of microbial agents, like salmonella and E.coli.
COAs are essentially a pedigree for the product, and I make sure my products have the finest pedigrees.
For example, when I decided to put omega-3s in one of my products, I didn't settle for getting them from any old fish oil supplier. I know a lot of fish oil can't be trusted, because our rivers, lakes and oceans have become so polluted.
That's why I did so much research and formulated a safe and potent mixture of squid oil, krill oil, and another special fish oil. But before I bought the oils, I made sure they were pure and pollution free.
Heavy metal pollution becomes worse the higher you go up the food chain. Big fish have more mercury in them than little fish, because the big fish absorb this toxic metal from all the little fish they eat. That's why I used oil from krill, tiny crustaceans at the bottom of the food chain.
And to make sure the oils were free of toxins, I insisted they go through a rigorous, cold-filtration process. Afterward, tests by revealed the oils were free of chemicals, like PCBs and solvents, as well as heavy metals, like mercury.
In fact, the cold-filtration process even boosted the oils' levels of anti-inflammatory fats by 115 percent of what I reported on the label.
I doubt than anybody at GNC, Target, Walmart, Walgreens or any other mega-outlet went through as much trouble as I did to ensure the quality of any of their products.
So here's my advice: You get what you pay for. Good-quality herbs and supplements don't come cheap. They take a lot of hard work and dedication to get right.
You need to deal with someone you can trust. So don't be afraid to ask questions about where their products came from. If they can't provide specific details, that's a red flag.
And always ask to see their COA. We print ours right on the bottle.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD
Al Sears, MD
1. Christen, W., Glynn, R., Chew, E., et al, “Folic Acid, Pyridoxine, and Cyanocobalamin Combination Treatment," Archives of Internal Medicine 2009; 169(4): 335-341.
2. Thiel, R.J., and Fowkes, S.W. “Down syndrome and epilepsy: A nutritional connection?" Med Hypotheses. 2004; 62 (1): 35-44.
3. Horwitt, M. "Relative biological values of d-alpha-tocopheryl acetate and all-rac-alpha-tocopheryl acetate inman."Am Journal Clin Nutri. 1980, Vol 33, 1856-1860.
4. "Vitamin E (Tocopherol)." GMO Compass. Retrieved Dec 8, 2011.
5. O'Connor, A. "New York Attorney General Targets Supplements at Major Retailers." New York Times. February 3, 2015.

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