Monday, December 31, 2007

Sham: Chinese Supplements a Worldwide Concern

News sites are reporting an FDA investigation into dietary supplements that are marketed to provide male sexual enhancement. It has been discovered that a number of these contain undeclared erectile dysfunction drugs, which may be putting users at risk. The Food and Drug Administration has indicated these impure products are sold by a company called "Shangai Distributor Inc." out of Puerto Rico.

The agency advised consumers to stay away from supplements sold under the names Super Shangai, Strong Testis, Shangai Ultra, Shangai Ultra X, Lady Shangai and Shangai Regular. Product testing indicates that some of these so-called supplements contain Viagra's active ingredient, sildenafil, or a compound with a chemical structure that mimics sildenafil.

These news reports bring up a larger problem, that of severely compromised botanical products that come from China in packages that don't always state the country of origin. A Chinese dietary supplement can have an American or Euro company's name on the box and not say anything about the location of the original compound. The Vitamin C manufacturer Emergen-C, for example, is just one company that produces a popular product made for the vitamin supplement market here in the USA, out of Chinese-produced compounds. There are many, many other companies that produce their products in China or who buy Chinese herbs to be repackaged in Western countries.

Right now China is going through huge upheaval in its systems for quality control and may end up on the right side of the problem in the next year or two. Beyond the quality control issue, however, lies a bigger problem. Chinese manufacturers must deal with the huge problems of contamination that result from groundwater and air pollution. Plants absorb anything and everything from their environment, and until China cleans up its growing environmental problems, this will affect the world of dietary supplement customers.


No comments: