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The Source: Supplements Caused Serious Public Health Issues, Says New Documentary


Nutritional supplements are a muli-billion dollar industry, with a single supplement - fish oil - raking in $1.3 billion a year. Half of the country takes supplements and study after study is coming out showing that the lax regulation of the industry means many aren't getting what they pay for. In more than a third of cases, people taking multivitamins are wasting their money because they had no clear health benefit.  

But what if what you bought isn't even in the bottle. A study at the University of Guelph in Ontario found that more than half of the tested bottles didn't contain what was advertised. "Was what was being advertised actually in the bottle?   They found 60 percent of the time, it wasn't," says Canadian Broadcasting Corporation investigative journalist Gillian Findlay.

The results have caused growing concern over the role of the Food and Drug Administration in this loosely regulated industry. But the concern can be about what is in the bottle as well. The CBC and The New York Times teamed up on a FRONTLINE documentary airing tonight to expose how some of these supplements are causing real harm.

"Supplements and Safety" airs tonight on KLRN Public Television at 10 PM.


  • Gillian Findlay, CBC Investigative Reporter
Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive