Recent studies in which supplements were randomly tested have shown that products do not always contain the ingredients stated on the product label. Sometimes, the product will contain ingredients that are significantly inferior to the what is needed to create a desired effect. For example, if a product is claiming to be a herb, it might contain nothing more than the stem of the plant, rather than the flower, leaves or root that would contain the necessary constituents to treat a condition. This is because for many companies, “the bottom line” or financial gain is their primary goal. Unfortunately, this can be true for all supplements: vitamins, minerals, herbs/botanicals, and amino acids.
Supplement manufacturers are not required to submit products to the scientific scrutiny of the FDA because they are regulated as a food product, not a drug. Product claims are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission, but that has nothing to do with the purity and quality of the pill you’re taking. In addition, if you purchase supplements from from online mass retailers, you have no idea of how the products have been stored, whether they have been relabeled or if their expiration date has been tampered with.
If you’re going to take a supplement, make sure you are purchasing it from a reputable source. Better yet, call the company and ask whether or not a third party certificate of analysis is available. If not, chances are you might not be getting what you are paying for.