Arthritis Supplement Problems    Threaten Consumer Trust

America’s supplement problems stain a mushrooming industry in which consumers may find it difficult to determine fact from fiction.  Fraudulent products are often offered to prevent, treat, or cure conditions such as arthritis, cancer, erectile dysfunction, or obesity.  According to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) “these dangerous scams often target the most vulnerable populations.” 1

“FDA has found that many of these tainted products are mislabeled, and in some instances, contain active ingredients that shouldn’t be available without health care provider oversight,” said Jonca Bull, M.D., FDA’s Assistant Commissioner, Office of Minority Health.

Not just confined to dietary supplements, “Health fraud scams are a multimillion dollar industry involving the marketing of drugs, medical devices, biologics and cosmetics,” writes Dr. Bull.  “Bogus products can cause serious or fatal injuries and can harm consumers further by delaying the proper diagnosis and treatment of health conditions,” she said in an online article, FDA Unveils Multilingual Health Fraud Protection Initiative for Consumers, March 10, 2016.1

The FDA fights against supplement problems with its own enhanced educational initiative and urges the public, health professionals and community leaders to help.  In March 2016, coinciding with National Consumer Protection Week, FDA launched online articles and videos to alert consumers of the dangers of imported tainted products falsely marketed as dietary supplements. The materials provide tips on how to prevent health fraud scams and detect supplement hype.  They’re translated into English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Tagalog.1

The new FDA initiative introduced two new websites on how to prevent fraud and for tips and advice on scams related to supplement problems:

1. Some Imported Dietary Supplements May Harm You, and 

2.  Public Notifications and Safety Alerts - Health Fraud  

Many supplement problems are found in tainted products that claim to help people with a specific medical condition, like arthritis or obesity.  Other supplements are geared towards the specific desires of people, like sexual enhancement and body building.   Fewer supplement problems are found with general health nutritional vitamins and minerals.

The dietary supplement industry has recently been under fire for industry failures by manufacturers to adhere to many elements of the regulations regarding testing, safety and purity.   Two-thirds of supplement companies failed to pass the most elementary of the industry’s safety guidelines when inspected by the FDA from 2010 through 2016. 2,3 Transgressions such as these force FDA to generate non-compliance Form 583 letters, warning letters, or enforce product recalls..

Sellers of tainted products often target ethnic groups
Hidden drug ingredients cause arthritis supplement problems
Does industry's "honor system" encourage supplement problems?
Where's the "honor" in supplement problems with Bio Therapex?
To trust the supplement label, know the supplement company
Choose wisely to eliminate dietary supplement problems
Our recommended company guarantees efficacy

Sellers of tainted products often target ethnic groups

Sellers of tainted products are mostly from the United States but often sell products that originate overseas and target certain ethnic groups, according to Dr. Bull.  Some supplements are labeled in 

languages other than English.  The FDA cautions problem supplements may be sold at flea markets, swap meets, ethnic stores, or from the homes of individuals.1

The sellers recruit friends, family members and co-workers to market products through word of mouth.  They advertise on TV and radio, in magazines and newspapers, through direct mail and social media channels such as Facebook Twitter, and Instagram and through e-commerce platforms 

The FDA warns that some scammers encourage their clients to stop using their prescribed medications and replace them with their products without consulting their physicians first. 

Some unscrupulous marketers prey on underserved populations and people with limited English proficiency who are prone to fall victim to health fraud scams.  This vulnerable population has language barriers, cultural beliefs, low health literacy and limited or inadequate access to health care services, according to an FDA web page.1

Hidden drug ingredients cause arthritis supplement problems

The FDA warns that “Natural” does not mean “Safe”.  It also doesn’t mean a product is free of hidden drug ingredients.   For example, a dietary supplement for arthritis joint pain can be illegally “spiked” with hidden pharmaceuticals. It may also be contaminated, contain potentially harmful chemicals, or direct unsafe dosages.4

When discovered, undeclared drugs in a labeled “Dietary Supplement” causes an automatic market recall.

A Mexican dietary supplement, Reumofan has gained a loyal following in the U.S. as a “100% natural” treatment for arthritis and joint pain.  Its label shows ingredients such as shark cartilage, white willow and glucosamine.  However, lab tests by U.S. and Mexican health authorities have detected up to three powerful and potentially dangerous prescription drugs hidden in Reumofan.

Consumers who buy Reumofan products are risking dangerous side effects and trusting their lives to a fake company, according to a USA Today investigative report Maker of dangerous pain pills is ‘ghost’ that can’t be found by Alison Young Sept 27, 2013.  5

Dozens of Reumofan users have suffered serious and life-threatening health effects after taking the pills, including liver injury, strokes, severe episodes of bleeding, and three reports of death according to federal records obtained by USA Today under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  The company is a mystery. FDA, in cooperation with Mexican officials, were unable to find the manufacturer.5

Supplement problems with products marketed as arthritis and joint pain relievers have been recalled for containing illegal drugs. One of these was Super Arthgold. A 2014 FDA analysis discovered it contained pharmaceuticals chlorzoxazone, diclofenac, and indomethacin, which converted a dietary supplement into an “unapproved new drug”.  FDA warned the public Super Arthgold could be deadly for some people with underlying illnesses, as well as people who had recently undergone cardiac bypass graft surgery.6

Does industry's “honor system” encourage supplement problems?

The current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) guidelines for supplement makers do not require proof their products are safe, or even effective, before putting them on store shelves or websites. Health officials and industry watchdogs have complained the rules are "too lax and "too lenient"..  They point to the high incidence of non-compliance by manufacturers who disobey the rules. They say the result of such weak regulation and oversight leaves supplement owners on the "honor system" to comply..  On the other hand, the FDA requires that prescription drugs be thoroughly tested in humans, contain the ingredients listed, and have efficacy evidence to back marketing claims.

Supplements are supposed to be accurately labeled in accordance with the regulations. But, a review of government databases, court documents and scientific studies uncovered more than 850 products that contained illegal and/or hidden ingredients.  This included banned drugs, pharmaceuticals like antidepressants and other synthetic chemicals that have never been tested on humans.  6

These details of supplement problems appeared in an investigative article, Unregulated—The hidden drugs in your favorite supplements by Julia Belluz and Soo Oh, January 6, 2010 on

“Supplements spiked with dangerous drugs are found in hundreds of stores across America, even in the largest supplement retail chains,” the article quoted Pieter Cohen, M.D., associate professor of medicine at Cambridge Health Alliance, an expert on the supplement industry. “Until the law is reformed, tens of thousands of Americans will continue to be harmed by supplements every year,” he said.6

Where’s the “honor” in supplement problems with BioTherapex?

There’s no honor in the following story of an arthritis product not spiked with illegal drugs, but whose owner went to great lengths in making false claims about the company’s products, one of which was BioTherapex.  Advertising brochures for the product featured fictitious medical doctors and a fictitious clinical study. The dietary supplement was promoted to treat arthritis, relieve aching joint and back pain, and cause significant weight loss. It sold for $39.95 per bottle.7,8

On November 30, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which cooperates with the FDA regarding advertising claims of marketers, announced Health Research Laboratories LLC and owner, Kramer Duhon, of Maine, agreed to settle charges.

BioTherapex, was sold in the U.S. and Canada through direct mail marketing campaigns.  In its complaint, the FTC charged that the claims for BioTherapex were false and/or unsubstantiated.  Additionally, the company designed brochures to resemble scientific journals, featuring fictitious testimonials and doctor endorsements.  A brochure for BioTherapex touted "results" of 1,200-person clinical study on the product that was never actually conducted.

The FTC judgment allows the defendant to clean up his act and stay in business.  It also hits the company with a $3.7-million-dollar fee (limited, upon payment, to $800,000).7,8

To trust a supplement label, know the supplement company

If you’re visiting our web site for the first time, our Home Page points out we explore plant-based clinically proven alternatives for pain relief that safely shut the door on harmful side effects from pharmaceutical drugs. The arthritis relief information on this site is based on concrete scientific evidence from clinical studies and recognized health authorities, not our opinion.

Supplement problems abound in this industry.  It’s even more important that you choose products from the right company.  To trust the label and the contents, you must know the company.  It’s not easy to find a supplement company with which you can literally trust your life. 

Supplement problems exist to a large extent because companies do not test their raw ingredients, nor their batches and finished product. Many purchase cheap ingredients from countries like China. Can you trust that they’re not contaminated? You cannot. And, you cannot automatically trust products on the shelves of Costco, Walmart, GNC and other retailers. You cannot automatically trust products sold over the internet.

Supplement problems exist because the industry does not require the manufacturer to prove safety and efficacy.  With that knowledge, it’s a no-brainer that companies take shortcuts to reduce costs and increase profitability. 

And that’s why we developed 30 questions to find the best dietary supplement company—one that voluntarily proves safety and efficacy of its products through conclusive tests and clinical studies. 

Choose wisely to eliminate dietary supplement problems 

The answers to the 30 questions led directly to the dietary industry leader we now use and recommend for their arthritis relief "pain trio", and other natural nutritional products for overall health improvement.

Their supplements are all guaranteed for purity, safety, and efficacy. One cannot guarantee efficacy without clinical studies on the product.  Proof of efficacy is not required of supplement makers.  Our recommended manufacturer publicly lists a Complete Research Archive of their studies  

You can check these studies before deciding to purchase.    If you don’t think revealing studies is unusual, ask your current supplement manufacturer for studies made on his product.  And good luck.

Supplement problems are not an issue with the featured science-based firm.  They are remarkably different from other supplement producers. They operate more like a pharmaceutical company.   Their products, and the quality and science behind them, are unmatched in the industry.  Are they more expensive?  Yes, a little.  You get what you pay for. 

Producing quality does not come cheap.   Do you honestly think unsafe, untested, inexpensive supplements can safely produce desired results in your body?  What kind of quality is built into your supplements?

Our recommended company guarantees efficacy

Here are 10 reasons why we recommend the #1 natural nutrition company in the U.S. to eliminate supplement problems. 9 

The Shaklee Corporation
  1. They are 'beyond organic'. They conduct 100,000 tests annually to ensure safety and efficacy of their products.  Who else can say this?
  2. Every product batch is tested to guarantee what’s on the label is what’s in the product—over the entire shelf life of the product. 
  3. All ingredients in their products are qualified under an incredibly stringent protocol, unique in the industry, which for new botanical ingredients requires testing for up to 350 chemical contaminants, including pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, solvent residues, etc. of which over 250 pesticides are beyond those required by the U.S. Pharmacopeia.
  4. Their 70-plus scientists create formulations so that the key active ingredients are included at scientifically supported levels, often significantly higher than many other supplement companies.
  5. Each product is formulated with extensively studied nutritional ingredients to confirm safety and efficacy. 
  6. Their science employs advanced delivery systems designed to dramatically improve the absorption of key nutrients—and these systems are tested in selected products to confirm their nutrient delivery advantages.
  7. A robust raw material and supplier qualification program which requests stringent testing of all raw materials, including comprehensive contaminant testing, which ensures they meet the company’s quality requirements.
  8. An unwavering commitment to avoid the use of artificial flavors, sweeteners, and added preservatives.  They use only non-genetically modified soy protein.  They do no animal testing.  Some products carry a kosher seal.
  9. Their proprietary product performance compared to other supplement companies is also demonstrated by:
  • Over 135 scientific publications, 100 in peer-reviewed journals
  • landmark study, the only study of its kind, concluded that people who used their nutritional supplements over a period of 20 years had markedly better health than both single-multivitamin and non-users of supplements.
  • Their nutritional supplements have powered athletes to win 121 Olympic and world medals without failing drug tests.
  • Their products have fueled world explorers, 7 of Time Life’s “Greatest Adventures of All Time,” and NASA Shuttle astronauts with a special rehydration product (called Astro-Ade).

    10. They have developed “green” cleaning products and reaped a list of awards and                        accomplishments   in environmental leadership and responsibility, including the first company awarded Climate Neutral status in the U.S..9

If you are looking for pure, safe arthritis pain products that work, follow this "pain trio" (scroll linked page for My Arthritis Story) link.  You’ll be glad you did, and your supplement problems will disappear.


1 Bull, Jonca MD, Assistant Commissioner, Office of Minority Health and Humbert, Jason RN, CDR, U.S. Public Health Service, National Health Fraud Coordinator, Office of Regulatory Affairs, Office of Enforcement and Import Operations, Food and Drug Aministration (FDA), blog post FDA Unveils Multilingual Health Fraud Protection Initiative for Consumers, FDA Voice, March 10, 2016
2 ConsumerLab, article Recalls and Warnings:  FDA Finds problems at 62% of supplement manufacturing sites in U.S. and abroad, March 17, 2017. Login required.

3  NHE, article FDA GMP Inspectors Cite 70% of Dietary Supplement Firms, published Natural Products Insider (non-compliance percentages 2010, 2011, 2012), May 2013.

4 Food & Drug Administration (FDA), webpage Some Imported Dietary Supplements and Nonprescription Drug Products May Harm You, Section “Natural” Does Not Mean “Safe”, accessed June 26, 2018

5 Young, Alison; article, Maker of dangerous pain pills is ‘ghost’ that can’t be found, published USA Today, September 25, 2013

6 Belluz, J and Oh, S., Article: Unregulated—The hidden drugs in your favorite supplement, (Arthgold recall) published January 6, 2016

7 ConsumerLab, article: FDA Finds Problems at 62% of Supplement Manufacturing Sites in U.S. and Abroad (Fiscal Year 2016), Recalls and Warnings Post, March 17, 2917; requires login   
8 Post: Settlement announcement, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Release, Supplement Sellers Settle FTC, State of Maine False Advertising Charges, November 30, 2017  

9 Shaklee News, Post:  How Well do You Understand the Shaklee Difference? News and Events webpage.  Accessed June 25, 2018

Proving Our Products are Effective. The Shaklee Corporation has been committed to science since its inception by its founder, Forrest C. Shaklee, in 1956. It is one thing to say products are good; it is another to prove they are effective. Shaklee has a continued commitment to understanding human health through scientific studies. For more About Us information and science links, click here for details.

Arthritis Products 3 safe natural products scientifically designed to fight pain and reduce dependency on pharmaceutical medicines. Each unique for rapid relief and joint health …. Click here for details

Natural Supplements. Glucosamine, boswellia, GLA, Lecithin, Vit-E and the best omega-3 fish oil are among dietary supplements that provide alternative treatment to painkilling drugs for arthritis with minimal side effects. Click here for more information

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