February 26, 2016 by  
Filed under Health Blog

As the popularity of Natural Medicine increases so too does the potential for inferior quality products to appear on the market.

Many of the products available in shops, pharmacies and online have been developed to profit shareholders (which can result in adding cheap fillers such as talcum powder) and most have been contract manufactured in China to reduce costs, but unfortunately China has ‘very different’ manufacturing standards compared to Australia.

Australian Natural Medicine companies lead the world in manufacturing nutritional and herbal supplements. In contrast, supplements manufactured in other countries including the US, may not always meet the quality and safety standards expected by Australian practitioners and their patients.

Products manufactured overseas may contain high levels of toxic heavy metals, harmful microbes, pesticides or other dangerous contaminants. Herbal supplements may also be adulterated with unknown ingredients or not even contain the herb on the label – which may put the consumer at serious risk. However, in many cases, what IS on the label can be just as much of a concern.

This is a recent conversation that took place between one of my clients and I during a consultation:

Client: “Sar, my GP recommended I start taking Caltrate but I Googled it to find out what’s in it and I was alarmed by what I found! Can you prescribe a natural calcium supplement for me that doesn’t contain any nasty additives please?”

Me: “Absolutely! I’m glad you’ve asked me about safe and effective mineral supplements”.

I can’t speak specifically about Caltrate but many ‘off the shelf’ nutrient and herbal products contain some really harmful fillers and I’m always concerned when new clients consult me and say that they’ve been taking these products for years. Many of these additives are carcinogenic (potentially cancer causing) but sadly most people aren’t aware of these health risks.

Not only that but the actual vitamins and minerals that are being used in some of these products are usually the cheapest forms possible and have the least bio-availability (so the body doesn’t utilize the nutrients very well anyway).

Most of these products are not comparable to what I can prescribe for my clients. The supplements I prescribe have the highest possible bio-availability and do not contain carcinogenic substances!


Biomedica is 100% owned and run by Australian practitioners (for Australian practitioners) and they are driven by the sole purpose of supporting practitioners in clinical practice by providing the highest possible grade of nutrient and herbal supplements. Biomedica or the other supplement brands I prescribe do not include talcum powder or other harmful fillers in their products and they control the process from formula creation to delivery – they test the products themselves, from raw materials to finished products, so practitioners can prescribe with absolute confidence.

Biomedica have no interest or investment whatsoever in the ever expanding supplement retail sector and for that reason, they are not accountable to any shareholders or foreign investors when making business decisions. Therefore, Biomedica ‘do not’ strive to increase profits for investors by using cost-cutting measures that could reduce the quality and safety of their products.

BioMedica’s supplements are tested extensively throughout production:

• Herbal ingredients are tested before they go into a formula to ensure the correct material is used.
• Nutritional ingredients are tested to ensure correct composition.
• Products are manufactured under stringent Good Manufacturing Practice conditions.
• Finished products are then tested again to confirm that active ingredients have survived the manufacturing process.
• Microbiological tests are performed to ensure safety before release.
• Products are placed on stability trials so that you know what is on the label is in the product.


To give you a better picture of some of the problems with retail supplements, let’s briefly examine a very popular calcium supplement:

‘Popular brand calcium supplement that also contains Vitamin D’

Ingredients: Calcium Carbonate, Pregelatinized Corn Starch, Magnesium Oxide, Maltodextrin, Microcrystalline Cellulose. Contains <2% of: Blue 2 Lake, Cholecalciferol (Vit. D3), Croscarmellose Sodium, Cupric Sulfate, Magnesium Stearate, Manganese Sulfate, Polyethylene Glycol, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Red 40 Lake, Sodium Borate, Talc, Titanium Dioxide, Tocopherols (To Preserve Freshness), Yellow 6 Lake, Zinc Oxide.

Firstly, calcium carbonate is chalk! It is the cheapest form of calcium and the least absorbable calcium compound. In other words, the body doesn’t utilize it very well at all.

Now let’s look at some of the ‘other’ ingredients in this supplement:

Some of them are proven carcinogens and some of them are potential carcinogens (i.e. Could possibly cause cancer but studies may have run out of funding after 2 years so no long-term research has been conducted, etc).

These include Talc (A proven carcinogen. It is not food grade and is added as a cheap filler and anti-caking agent); Titanium Dioxide (A potential carcinogen and proven to induce inflammation in the small intestine); Polyvinyl Alcohol (This isn’t even a food substance so why is it included in ingestible supplements?); Polyethylene Glycol (PG) – This is the active ingredient in ‘anti-freeze’ and is a surfactant and solvent (i.e. Carcinogenic as well as possible brain, liver and kidney abnormalities); Pregelatinized Corn Starch – We will assume it is genetically modified as it doesn’t state otherwise? (Personally I try to avoid GM substances due to research showing tumour growth in rats and mice when fed GM foods over the long-term).

This supplement also contains a number of colours that have known toxicity and many have been banned in Austria, Norway, and other European countries due to their possible side effects. The colours are derivatives of coal tar (bituminous coal) that are continuously tested on animals due to their carcinogenic properties. They have also been shown to cause hyperactivity, restlessness, and attention problems in some children…….

These problems are not isolated to this particular calcium supplement – the problem is that most retail brands of supplements are owned by publicly listed companies that need to ensure maximum profits for their shareholders. The supplement manufacturers I prescribe from are not publicly listed companies and their priority is creating the highest quality products for practitioners to prescribe to their patients. However, even if a manufacturer is not a publicly listed company it still doesn’t guarantee they are providing high-quality products.

The supplements that I prescribe are scientifically and clinically researched and contain only the ‘highest quality ingredients’. To ensure product efficacy and purity, raw materials and products go through rigorous quality testing at each of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) compliant facilities in Australia.

This is in contrast to most natural medicines which have been manufactured in China and shipped to Australia (and sold under the banner of ‘Australian-owned’ companies which can provide consumers with a false sense of safety).

The companies I prescribe from thoroughly test their raw materials and products which undergo hundreds of different tests to ensure quality, safety and efficacy and they would never include harmful substances such as talcum powder to compromise your health!

I’ll leave it up to you to decide what you want to put into your body but personally I would never knowingly take anything that could do me ‘more harm than good’ and I certainly wouldn’t recommend that you do either.

Please consult your Naturopathic Physician for the very best nutrient and herbal supplements available.

Yours In Health,

Sar Rooney BHSc., ND., DC., DASc., GDSc. (Hons), MATMS
Naturopathic Physician, Researcher & Lecturer

Specializing in Anxiety & Depression | Women’s Health | Chronic Fatigue | Hormonal Imbalances | Thyroid Disorders | Digestive Health | Autoimmune Disease | Genetic Polymorphisms (MTHFR & Pyroluria) | Nutritional Medicine | Counselling | Optimal Wellness & Disease Prevention with a Clinical Focus on Identifying & Resolving the Underlying Causes of Symptoms and Disease.

Earth Medicine TM
Web: www.EarthMedicine.com
Email: [email protected]

Appointments are available by phone, skype or in-person at Strathalbyn, SA.

Science-Based Naturopathic Health Care to help you achieve optimal wellness, calm and contented mental health, high vitality and disease prevention with personalised naturopathic health care, specialized clinical pathology testing and high-quality naturopathic medicines. Professional counselling services are also available.

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