A recent (February 3, 2015) Washington Post article announced that GNC, Target, Wal-Mart, and Walgreens were accused of selling adulterated 'herbals.'  This article referred to a Canadian study of 44 bottles of popular supplements sold by 12 companies.  They found that many were not what they claimed to be, and that pills labeled as popular herbs were often diluted - or replaced entirely - by cheap fillers like soybean, wheat and rice.  This could represent a danger for people with allergies, e.g. to gluten. Some supplements contained herbs other than the herb allegedly being sold, which, obviously, could also be dangerous. 

It's not my intention to trash other herbal products, but articles like these emphasize the need to let you know about the excellence of Nature's Sunshine Products, and the measures Nature's Sunshine takes to ensure their products are everything they claim to be.
   Nature's Sunshine - Quality by Design

The lengths to which Nature's Sunshine Products (NSP) goes to ensure the consistent high quality of their products are second to none in the dietary supplement industry.

Raw materials:
Whereas many other companies do not make their own products, giving them no control over their quality or consistency of quality, NSP carries out every step itself in the production of its products, and begins with ensuring that they use only the best raw materials.  Suppliers undergo an audition, and what sets the NSP audit apart from other companies is that they go to the suppliers' facilities to conduct the audition;  they do not rely on the company's polished presentation in NSP's offices, or their fancy brochure or website. 

A basic requirement is that the company provides hot water and soap in the employees' washrooms (men and women), and they find a surprising number of companies do not do this, even in the US.  One of these companies in the US had no hot water hooked up in its facility, so not only could the employees not wash their hands properly, but their equipment could not be thoroughly cleaned.  NSP does not deal with such a company.

The material is pretested to ensure it is safe and of the highest quality.  This includes every lot of every material NSP purchases.  The tests are extensive, and include tests for cleanliness of the material, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and several substances such as molds, the fungus, aflatoxin (a cause of liver cancer), PCBs, and solvent residues such as methanol, ethanol, and acetone, and even plain old dirt.  Some companies don't properly clean the raw materials they sell.  Some companies perform 'skip lot testing' whereas NSP tests every lot, every shipment of every material.  Skip lot testing means a company tests only a specified intervals, e.g. once a month, once a year.

Everything that does not meet NSP's standards is rejected - - - and undoubtedly sold to other companies with less stringent requirements.  Suppliers are audited on a regular basis, on a rotational basis with about 40 to 50 audits being conducted per year, all over the world.

NSP rejects only about 2% of the raw material it receives; this percentage used to be much higher.  NSP credits the low rejection rate to the fact that they work closely with the companies that supply them.  This is important because when you, the consumer, orders a product, you want it right away.  If a product is not available because of the rejection of a material and the time it takes to replace that with a good quality alternative, you, the consumer, are not going to be a happy customer.

Testing of materials:
NSP has 4 PhD scientists dedicated to developing better methods to test materials.  NSP always purchases the latest equipment for testing.  For example, 20 years ago, they could test parts per million for heavy metals.  Fifteen years ago, they purchased equipment that could test parts per billion.  Eight years ago, they acquired the ability to test parts per trillion - to give you an idea of what this means, that's equivalent to one drop of water in 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools!  This is just one example; NSP is always raising the bar on its testing, continually improving and keeping up to date.

NSP pays extra for its suppliers to properly clean the materials that NSP is purchasing; many other companies do not do this.

Mixing of products:
Thorough mixing of products is essential to ensure that the amount of each substance in each product meets the 'label claim' - the amount of each ingredient claimed on the label.  Otherwise, there would be the danger of some ingredients being too high in one part of a batch, and to low in another part.  Improper mixing can be one of the reasons other companies' products do not meet label claim.  Thorough testing is done at this stage too.

Testing of finished products:

NSP guarantees that every can, or bottle will meet the label claim.  All finished products are tested. NSP has also tested many products made by other companies, and this cannot always be said of these products.
   The Nature's Sunshine Facility:

NSP invests heavily in state-of-the-art technology and cutting edge testing equipment to maintain its position as the quality leader.  With departments of Quality Assurance, Health Sciences, Research and Development, and Manufacturing, there are many areas in need of such equipment.  NSP's four Quality Assurance labs - herb, vitamin, mineral and microbiologic testing - are outfitted with the latest technology has to offer.  Each lab contains millions of dollars' worth of equipment and is constantly being upgraded whenever new, pertinent technology becomes available.  For instance, at one time they didn't have the capability to measure Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC), so they purchased the necessary testing equipment.

Staff has been recognized by the scientific community through publication of their work and collaboration with university researchers.

The NSP facility in Utah is independently certified for dietary supplements by NSF International (originally named National Sanitation Foundation), an internationally recognized certification company.  NSP has also been licensed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) which is the Australian equivalent to the FDA, and in its most recent audit was granted TGA's highest rating.  NSP also came through a recent FDA audit with a clean slate, no 'deficiencies' were found.

Product development:
NSP doesn't just make the same products as every other dietary supplement company.  It is always coming out with new products.  For example, last year Zerenity (available directly from our office) became available (see October and December 2014 newsletters).
This was developed by Dr. Matt Tripp of NSP, who researched the ingredients included in Zerenity, and ensured that there was a solid scientific basis for including each ingredient.  In addition, the formulation was thoroughly tested before it was released.

Other recently introduced products include Nature's Sunshine's All Natural Pain Relief (!/All-Natural-Pain-Relief/p/29358459/category=1546929), and Smart Meal, a protein powder (available directly from our office).

NSP's guarantee:
NSP guarantees its products 100% for potency, purity and safety, and is committed to continuing its highest quality measures into the future.

   In Summary:

To begin with, NSP audits its suppliers more thoroughly than other companies, the main difference being that they go to the facility and conduct an audit there; they don't just take the word of a spokesperson, or rely on the companies' websites or pamphlets.

Next, they test all lots (not just a sample) of all materials they order, and reject (send back) any lots that do not meet their standards.  They test each lot of each formula to ensure both its quality (they check for many possible contaminants) and strength.  They test repeatedly during the production of products to ensure no contamination is taking place through their manufacturing process.  They then test the finished or packaged version of each lot of each product, i.e. pills, powder, liquid.

Testing is done at 6 different stages:

  • R&D sample
  • Vendor audit
  • Raw materials
  • Mixed formulas
  • Finished products, and
  • Retention samples.
In all, they use more than 300 separate tests to determine the quality, purity and potency of their materials and products.  Some tests are simple, others are complex.  Many tests require state-or-the-art machinery and technology.  Some tests are used to identify materials.  Others are used to quantify active components and confirm label claims.  Still others verify that harmful substances are not present.

For additional information, please email; or call Ramilas Healing Arts Clinic at 613.829.0427 for an appointment.  Please continue letting friends and family know about this newsletter.  Also on our website, please see back issues of this newsletter, additional information about products, order products, and see information about our Clinic.

  1. Kaplan S. GNC, Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreens accused of selling adulterated 'herbals.' The Washington Post, February 3, 2015.
  2.  O'Connor A. Herbal supplements are often not what they seem. The New York Times, November 3, 2013.
  3. Quality by Design. Nature's Sunshine Products of Canada Ltd.
  4. Hammons L. Quality by Design.  Presentation at Nature's Sunshine's Annual Health Conference, Ottawa: October 18, 2014.
  5. Aflatoxin. Wikipedia
  6. Tripp M. Zerenity Product Introduction.  Presentation at Nature's Sunshine's Annual Health Conference, Ottawa: October 17, 2014.
The suggestions and recommendations in this newsletter are not intended to be prescriptive or diagnostic. The information is accurate and up to date to our knowledge, but we are not responsible for any errors in our sources of information.

These newsletters will help you make better choices for better health. The choices that you make today can either have a positive or negative impact on your overall health. Begin by choosing better. It is a step toward longevity.


Ramila Padiachy
Ramila's Healing Arts Clinic