Vitamin D, E, C, A– in today’s world it seems like there is a vitamin for every sickness, malady or mild inconvenience one might face in life. In fact, a large majority of people take a least one type of vitamin weekly. So where do they get them from and how do they know which one?
IN 2019, the vitamin industry was valued at 123 billion dollars with 77% of the market share going to Amazon. With this market valuation expected to rise by 108 billion in the next six years it can lead to competition with these big companies.
Competition increases the opportunity for knockoffs or fraudulent products within the marketplace. This is extremely dangerous in the vitamin market because these are ingestible chemicals that could potentially do serious harm to a human life.
We are already seeing these fraudulent postings on Amazon and this raises concern for the consumers of vitamins and supplements. In fact many of the products sold on Amazon are either mislabeled or in the wrong category.
The most common supplement to be mislabeled at 82% is body building supplements. Followed by the 69% of CBD products, 52% of dietary supplements, 49% of single and multivitamin mislabeling, and the 44% of botanical supplement botchery, the saturation of misinformation in the supplement market is alarmingly high.
One of the most common dangers of mislabeled supplements is that they contain far higher doses of their key active ingredient. This could result in a vitamin overdose and significant organ damage. They may even include unspecified ingredients which could pose the risk of an accidental allergic reaction. Mislabeled supplements also typically lack at least one ingredient than their branded counterparts.
Mislabeling is not a new occurrence amongst Amazon supplement listings. Amazon has repeatedly endorsed products that have fake reviews and fraudulent FDA approvals. Yet they are still touted as “Amazon’s Choice” and are most commonly referred to customers.
The ethical considerations of balancing the bottom line with health products is one that has not been fully considered when it comes to the distribution of health supplements from Amazon. Yes, Amazon does need to make a profit but should that come at the expense of the uneducated consumer? That is something we have yet to settle on a moral answer for.
We do know that going forward any contemplation of buying a health supplement from any distributor should be cautiously examined. The consumer can no longer trust the judgement of the distributor and need to do our own research as consumers.
When shopping for supplements we need to ensure that our products have FDA approval. It would be even better and provide more confidence if they have a designation certificate of authentication as well. USP and NSF seals can give the consumer almost complete certainty that a product is real and not fraudulent.
We should never compromise when it comes to our health. Doing our research on supplements will make sure that we do not become victims to the faulty products.
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