Amazon and the Crisis of Counterfeit Supplements Online
Recent years have seen a growing trend of people becoming more health-conscious and turning to natural solutions for their health issues. The internet has made it easier than ever to access information on health and wellness, as well as to buy vitamins and supplements online. Shopping online is often much more convenient and allows for a greater selection of products and the ability to compare ingredients and prices. Supplements bought online are shipped right to your door, saving time and allowing customers to receive their products without ever having to leave their house, which is critical for those customers who are sick, in discomfort, or otherwise have mobility restrictions.
However, buying supplements online from e-commerce giants like Amazon, comes with a high risk of counterfeit products. Amazon, Walmart, and other platforms who rely on third-party sellers for their supplement products have repeatedly been found to allow fake supplements to be sold on their website. These counterfeit supplements contain little to none of the listed ingredients and can even have foreign, potentially toxic ingredients. In 2022, researchers from the University of Mississippi and the Uniformed Services University tested 30 immune-supporting supplements bought on Amazon and found that only 13 actually contained what was claimed on the product’s label and nothing else. In other words, 57% of the tested supplements bought on Amazon were fake. NOW Foods also conducted a survey using HPLC on eleven different CoQ10 supplements sold on Amazon and found that none of them contained what they claimed and most had extremely low or undetectable levels of CoQ10.
While it is impossible to know with 100% accuracy if a supplement is authentic or fake without testing it, there are steps you can take to ensure you are buying and taking only high quality, authentic supplements that contain the active ingredients in their correct doses.
- Never buy supplements from a third-party seller on Amazon, Walmart, or any other e-Commerce giant
- When buying online, always buy your supplements from a local store that purchases from the manufacturer in small orders, which helps ensure fresh and potent products and a short, secure supply chain.
- If a product you normally buy suddenly looks different, has marks or cuts out of the label, broken seals, or was sold very cheaply, there is a good chance that it is a fake
- If you ever suspect a product you bought online is fake, contact the seller for a Certificate of Analysis or other proof of authenticity
If you have any other other questions about supplement authenticity or about our product certifications Contact Us.
Crawford C, Avula B, Lindsey AT, et al. Analysis of Select Dietary Supplement Products Marketed to Support or Boost the Immune System. JAMA Network Open. 2022;5(8):e2226040. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.26040