NOW (Bloomingdale, Il) continued its award-winning industry self-policing program of testing unfamiliar brands found on Amazon, and the cheating continues, the company stated. The program, begun in 2017, tests high value products sold by unheard of brands on Amazon at both internal and external labs, and evaluates the results compared to label claims.
NOW reexamined eight brands of CoQ10 to see if those that were identified as low potency in testing done in 2020 had improved and found the same serious problems remain for seven out of eight brands tested. Additionally, NOW found brands cheating by misrepresenting potencies through deceptive labeling tricks.
NOW said it purchased three samples of each product below and tested by HPLC both internally at NOW’s state-of-the-art labs and externally at the highly regarded Eurofins labs. It is apparent by looking at lot numbers and bottle types that the same manufacturer is supplying multiple brands with the same fraudulent products (see Florida brands in the chart below), according to NOW.
- Clear Formulas, aSquared, Foxy Doc and Healthy Way brands all mislabel their product as “400 mg/6%” potency. This is deceptive when the front panel says “400 mg” potency and the Amazon title says “CoQ10 400 mg Max Strength.” The customer gets less than 24 mg CoQ10 per capsule.
- NOW previously tested a variety of CoQ10 brands on Amazon in 2017, 2018 & 2020 with similar failing results. aSquared, Healthy Way, NasaBe’Ahava and We Like Vitamins were all under 35 percent potency in 2020 as well.
- Seven out of eight brands tested had less than 30 percent of the potency claimed
- Three of the eight brands claimed to be in vegetarian capsules, but testing both at NOW and at Eurofins confirmed gelatin was used. The failing brands are Clear Formulas, Healthy Way and Sundhed.
NOW chose to test a larger group of quercetin supplements. The reason NOW chose quercetin is demand increased greatly during COVID-19, and raw material costs jumped significantly. NOW said that if brands were to cheat with potency, a product like Quercetin might be more likely to include less Quercetin than is on the label. Additionally, Quercetin dihydrate 95 [percent] is the raw ingredient used in supplements and some brands claim “400 mg quercetin,” while others may claim “420 mg” quercetin dihydrate” and the potency is identical. Some brands label as “quercetin dihydrate” to show a higher label claim, although this is not normal.
Quality brands input at least 10 percent overage Quercetin dihydrate in order to compensate for Quercetin dihydrate being 95 percent quercetin, NOW stated. This assures customers that full potency label claims are met. Unfortunately, many brands do not do this and below shows what NOW found with internal testing and, again, by Eurofins.
- Two brands labeled quercetin deceptively by stating “18 percent potency,” the same trick as done with CoQ10.
- NasaBe’Ahava brand is a repeat violator, labeling quercetin as “Each capsule contains 500 mg quercetin dihydrate (20% potency).”
- Cadane brand, made in India, mislabels as 100 mg quercetin 10:1 extract, equivalent to 1,000 mg. Testing showed this brand to be one of the very worst for potency results with only 4 percent of claim.
- 20 out of 24 brands tested below 90 percent label potency and 14 out of 24 brands actually tested with less than 50 percent of labeled potency.
- Two out of 24 brands tested revealed lower cost gelatin capsules were used when the labels declared vegetarian/cellulose. Doublewood Supplements and NasaBe’Ahava both contain gelatin.
“NOW has reported these findings to Amazon directly, as we did previously, but the problem products continue to be sold, and often as a “Sponsored” (paid marketing) featured products,” said Dan Richard, NOW’s vice president of global sales and marketing. “NOW plans to send a copy of this report to Amazon, Natural Products Association trade group, U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission. Low potency brands do harm to consumers everywhere, as well as to honest businesses that make and sell quality products. ”
For more information, visit www.nowfoods.com.