Community: Forum: Health & Healing

Vegan Health & Nutrition Discussion Forum

Perhaps there are other people who read the New York Times editorial or saw the Frontline show on the issue of the effectiveness and safety of supplements.

The Frontline special reports on cases where supplements caused harm. They also raise questions such as label accuracy, fraud, effectiveness and whether they are needed at all.

The issue of people on a vegan or vegetarian diet is not addressed in either of these; and in the New York Times editorial they recommended taking none (unless USP certified of which there aren’t that many); however, in the case of vegetarian/vegans the situation can be different because of the diet.

I'd just like to share some of the things I looked into in this post.

People may also be able to find this doing searches if they have a similar question, and other sources could be added in responses.
When I did searches I didn’t find that much.

I found a listing from The New York Times of organizations that do testing on supplements:

The four organizations are:

1. USP - United States Pharmacopeia - Nonprofit organization focused on quality and safety of pharmaceuticals

2. NSF - Nonprofit organization that evaluates the safety of various products.

3. ConsumerLab - Company which does testing and then sells the analysis. (currently $64 for two years of $39 for one year)

4. LabDoor - Start-up company which purchases supplements off the shelf and then pays for FDA approved labs to analyze the contents. As far as I can tell the information is currently being provided for free. They speak further about their business model here which is based on consumer purchases:

ConsumerLab currently has evaluations of two Deva supplements: (vitamin E and Omega-3):

LabDoor currently has analysis of three vegan supplements: Deva Vegan Multivitamin, Deva Vegan Prenatal Multivitamin, Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Raw Vegan Protein:

One other thing that I looked into is self-testing one's vitamin D level.

I found one available for $50 (for one test). A blood spot card is sent in the mail to a laboratory and then the results can be obtained.

On the question of testing vitamin D a blog post from Harvard Medical school says that such tests are not in general needed and that there isn't consensus about what a healthy vitamin D level is.

"For one thing, experts don’t agree on what low vitamin D means. Some laboratories define it as below 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), others set it at below 50 ng/mL. In addition, tests for vitamin D aren’t standardized or reliable."

David Friedman

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