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November 1, 2018

By Kristina Amelong, CCT, CNC

Beware Counterfeit Nutritional Supplements on Amazon!

It is well-known that many consumers turn to online retail behemoth Amazon for cheaper alternatives on many types of products that they traditionally would have bought at local brick-and-mortar stores. In addition to lower prices and enticing shipping deals, the simple convenience of items being delivered to one's doorstep is often a driving factor in a consumer deciding to shop from Amazon.

Perhaps understandably, but very unfortunately, this ever-increasing inclination to visit Amazon for much of one's shopping needs extends to nutritional supplements, which have become a riskier arena for consumers. Numerous investigations by consumer advocacy groups over the years have revealed that unauthorized third-party resellers on Amazon have been able to sell counterfeit versions of many top-selling supplements. We should not be surprised that counterfeiters are able to profit by exploiting Amazon's trust factor to sell fake products (supplements and so much more) to unsuspecting Amazon customers, because the reality is that it's very difficult for Amazon to adequately police the tens of thousands of third-party sellers who sell products through the site. Some counterfeiters are of course caught and shut down, but many others continue to operate through stealth and deceptive strategies. In chameleon-like fashion, many counterfeiters exploit Amazon's e-commerce infrastructure by shifting from one seller name to another. If one seller account gets shut down, a counterfeiter may have several other accounts to fall back on, often maintaining overall visibility on Amazon through these shifting accounts. Typically at least some of a counterfeiter's Amazon accounts may be created as "throwaway" accounts to ensure that the deception survives over the longer term.

Counterfeit supplements typically include inert fillers rather than the active ingredients that appear on the label. In many cases, products not containing what the label indicates can obviously present dangers to consumers, who may be unknowingly ingesting substances that they are allergic to, or could seriously harm them in other ways. Not all ingredient substitutions by counterfeiters are inert!

Counterfeiting has also been discovered in nutritional product lines for pets. Nutramax Laboratories, a pet supplement specialist, states that "the counterfeit products we have examined to date were essentially made of a starchy filler compound that is often used in pills, capsules, and other ingestible products... Pets are not receiving any of the needed health benefits of authentic Nutramax products. For these reasons, we are treating these counterfeit products as a threat to pets' safety and well-being."

The wellness protocols I have developed and present on the Optimal Health Network website, and recommend through my personal health consultations with clients, include a wide array of quality supplements for both humans and their pets. We take extensive measures to assess the reputation and safety standards of our supplement vendors, and all nutritional supplements sold through our website are guaranteed authentic and accurate as labeled.

One of our long-time vendors, Ortho Molecular, partners exclusively with health care providers and has been working diligently in recent years to get illegal online sellers of its products off of Amazon and other retail sites. It is a battle that Ortho Molecular fights every day as part of its dedication to ensuring and nurturing the safest channel for bringing its products to consumers: via formal dialogue between health practitioners and their patients, within a context of an individualized health assessment and the dispensing of products via an established practitioner/vendor relationship.

OHN strongly believes in doctor/patient interaction as a basis for implementing health and wellness protocols and always encourages its customers to make product purchases based on consultation with a family doctor or other medical professional. Furthermore, as a certified colon hydrotherapist and nutritional consultant, I welcome one-on-one health consultations with my clients via a secure online intake form and appointment booking system. Through these consultations and follow-up dispensing of products via phone purchase or OHN's website, I strive to ensure that my clients are receiving the appropriate individual support they need, and with clinically proven products that are accurate as labeled. While clients can sometimes find cheaper prices for my prescribed products on Amazon, this is potentially a dangerous gamble given the many documented instances of product counterfeiting by third-party resellers. Buyer beware!


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