(NaturalNews) I'm absolutely shocked at how many people don't investigate
what's really in the products they swallow. When something is sold as an
herb, vitamin, superfood or supplement, they think it's automatically safe.
And while the natural products industry has a truly remarkable safety record
-- especially in contrast to the
massive number of deaths caused by pharmaceuticals -- it still suffers
from a lot of hidden toxins that are routinely used throughout the
I know this because I've been an investigative journalist and activist in
the natural health industry for over a decade. Natural News is arguably the
most-read natural health news website in the world, reaching millions of
readers a month. I've walked the floors of countless trade shows, conducted
hundreds of interviews and spent tens of thousands of dollars on laboratory
tests to determine what's in these products. On top of that, I'm deep into
organic product formulations and certified organic food production, serving
as the supervisor of a USDA-certified organic food production and packing
When I look around the natural products industry, I see examples of super
honest, high-integrity companies like Nature's Path and Dr. Bronner's. I
also see an alarming number of cheats, crooks and charlatans who are only
involved in the industry to profit from the explosion of interest in health
supplements. In truth, some nutritional
downright dangerous to your health. My role as a journalist and activist is
to help you tell the difference between products that are GOOD for
you vs. products that might actually be toxic. Because ultimately, I want
you to be healthy, vibrant, intelligent and active. I want you to enjoy
life and improve the quality of your life.
Be prepared to be shocked in reading what follows. After reviewing this
list, you will probably throw out quite a few products in your refrigerator
and pantry. Very few people are willing to tell you the truth revealed here,
so some of this may come as a complete shock (see #1 and #2, below).
#1) Maltodextrin (from GM corn)
Let's start out with the big one first: If you pick up a natural product and
the ingredients list says "maltodextrin," chances are very high that the
maltodextrin in the product is derived from Monsanto's GM corn.
Virtually all the maltodextrin used throughout the
industry is genetically modified. Products that are certified USDA organic,
however, are not using GMO maltodextrin.
The non-GMO, non-corn replacement for maltodextrin derived from GM corn is
tapioca maltodextrin, and you'll find tapioca starch / maltodextrin
in many certified organic,
non-GMO products. Corn maltodextrin should be avoided unless it's certified
USDA organic. Look for tapioca maltodextrin instead (or no maltodextrin at
#2) Vitamin C / acorbic acid (from GM corn)
Here's another whopper that's sure to open some eyes: Nearly all the
"vitamin C" sold in vitamins across America right now is derived from GMO
This means that many of the supplements sold at Whole Foods, the vitamins
sold on Amazon.com, the pills at your local pharmacy, and especially the
products at the grocery store are (nearly) all routinely made with
genetically modified vitamin C. It's typically called "ascorbic acid," and
nearly 100% of the ascorbic acid used in the natural products industry is
derived from GMOs.
Sourcing non-GMO vitamin C requires you to go outside the United States.
There is no existing supply chain of certified organic, non-GMO ascorbic
acid available anywhere in America (at least not to my knowledge). You can't
even run batches of non-GMO ascorbic acid production in the USA because all
the facilities are contaminated with residues of GM corn.
Rest assured that all those cheap "vitamin C" pills sold at retail are
derived from genetically modified corn.
Hexane-extracted soy and rice proteins
Nearly 100% of the "natural" soy proteins and rice proteins sold in the USA
are extracted in China using a hexane extraction method. This is true for
brown rice protein superfoods as well as the soy protein used in nearly all
so-called "protein bars."
Hexane is a highly explosive chemical. It is not only extremely hazardous to
the environment, there may also be trace amounts of hexane left remaining in
the resulting protein products. My understanding is that hexane extraction
is not allowed in certified organic proteins, so if you have a choice, go
for certified organic instead of just "natural" (which means nothing
The manufacturer of this product, Adya Clarity, intentionally and
knowingly deceived consumers by mislabeling the product and not
mentioning the 1200ppm of aluminum it contained. The FDA seized some of the
products and ran its own lab tests,
confirming the high aluminum level as well as identifying multiple
Adya Clarity is just one of many so-called "detox" products containing
alarming levels of aluminum and other metals. Ingesting these in order to "detox"
your body may be harmful to your
health. This experience
also proves you can't always trust health products sold through online
webinars, where manufacturers can ignore labeling laws and fabricate
false claims. Buyer beware when it comes to metals in detox products
that claim seemingly magical results.
High levels of lead and arsenic are routinely found in various food,
supplement and herbal products from China. I'm not concerned about 1ppm or
lower, by the way, of heavy metals like lead and mercury. Even aluminum
isn't necessarily a problem when found organically grown inside foods that
test at higher levels such as 150ppm. But when lead, arsenic, mercury and
cadmium get to high saturation levels (or are present in inorganic forms),
it makes the products potentially a source of heavy metals poisoning
Astonishingly, many of the small and medium-sized companies that import and
retail products from China conduct no metals testing whatsoever. I
know this as a fact because I've talked to people doing this.
For the record, everything packed under my own brand name (Health
Ranger Select) and sold at the Natural News Store is independently
tested by us to ensure full product safety and regulatory compliance.
#6) Inorganic minerals in cheap vitamins
Would you eat iron filings and call it nutrition? The majority of people
don't know that most of the cheap vitamins sold today are made with iron
filings. "Scrap metal," almost.
The calcium found in cheap vitamins is often just ground-up seashells, and
magnesium is often sold as cheap magnesium oxide which may be completely
useless to your body's cells. If you're buying mineral supplements, you may
be wasting your money unless the minerals are in the right form: Magnesium
orotate or malate, for example.
When it comes to mineral supplements, you'll often find trace levels of
scary things like barium and lead in liquid supplements, but these are
typically at such low levels (ppb) that they are no real concern. But the
No. 1 best source for all minerals is, not surprisingly, fresh plants. If
you really want to boost your minerals, feed 'em to sprouts or garden
plants, then eat or juice those plants. Your body wants "organic"
minerals from plants, not inorganic minerals from rocks.
The Cornucopia Institute, a highly-effective food activism group that we've
long supported, recently published
a warning about
carrageenan in foods. Cornucopia says carrageenan is linked to
"gastrointestinal inflammation, including higher rates of colon cancer, in
It goes on to report:
Given its effect on gastrointestinal inflammation, Cornucopia urges
anyone suffering from gastrointestinal symptoms (irritable bowel
syndrome/IBS, spastic colon, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic diarrhea,
etc.) to consider completely eliminating carrageenan from the diet to
determine if carrageenan was a factor in causing the symptoms.
Personally, I have never had any problem with carrageenan, and given that
it's derived from seaweed, I also didn't mind the source. I actually consume
quite a lot of carrageenan in Blue Diamond almond milk, which I drink when
I'm too busy to make my own raw almond milk. And I've never had a problem
with it whatsoever. So from my personal experience, I don't see carrageenan
as a worrisome ingredient, but I do understand that some people experience
it differently, and it may be troublesome for people whose digestive systems
are more sensitive than my own.
For the record, I definitely don't consider carrageenan to be anywhere near
as worrisome as, say, aspartame, GMOs or MSG.
Acrylamides are cancer-causing chemicals produced during the cooking of
carbohydrates. Fried snack chips, for example, contain acrylamides. They
don't have to be listed on labels because they are technically not
"ingredients." They are chemicals produced during cooking or frying.
increases kidney cancer risk by 59 percent.
A bag of organic snack chips can have just as many acrylamides as a bag of
conventional snack chips. This is why fried snack chips should be eaten only
sparingly, or never at all. I'm guilty of eating some of these chips myself
from time to time, but I limit the quantity and make sure I'm taking
chlorella or other superfoods
at the same time to counteract the acrylamides.
Interestingly, it turns out that vitamin C blocks acrylamides from
causing damage to your body. But if your vitamin C is from a GMO source (see
above), you may want to rethink that strategy. Natural citrus juice, rose
hips or even camu camu berry
powder is a much better choice of natural, full-spectrum vitamin C.
If you eat fried foods of any kind, make sure you ingest a lot of vitamin C,
astaxanthin and chlorella before and after your meal or snack.
#9) Hidden MSG / yeast extract
Hidden MSG is a huge issue across the natural products industry. Pick up
almost any veggie burger, and you'll find it's made with yeast extract,
a hidden form of MSG (monosodium glutamate).
Yeast extract is unbelievably prevalent in the food industry because it
looks nicer on the label than "MSG." Most people are trained to avoid MSG,
but yeast extract slips by, so food manufacturers put it into canned soups,
dip mixes, snack chips, microwave dinners and especially in vegetarian
products, many of which are so loaded with chemicals and additives that
I won't dare touch them. Just because a food says "vegetarian" doesn't mean
Hidden MSG is also labeled as "autolyzed yeast extract" or "torula yeast" or
even "hydrolyzed vegetable protein."
#10) Fluoride in
Green tea is famous for being contaminated with high levels of fluoride.
This is frustrating, because green tea is phenomenally good for your health.
It has been
proven to lower "bad" cholesterol levels, and it may even help prevent
cancer and neurological disorders. It's probably one of the healthiest
beverages you can ever drink.
The tea plant that produces green tea just happens to uptake a huge amount
of fluoride from the soils. So when there's fluoride present in those soils,
the green tea will have a surprisingly high concentration, sometimes as much
While this fluoride in green tea might not be a health hazard all by itself,
the governments of the world seem insistent on pumping even more
synthetic, chemical fluoride into the water supplies, thereby creating a
high risk for fluorosis. Adding green tea to the fluoride consumption
you might experience from tap water is a recipe for disaster: brittle bones,
discoloration of teeth and even cancer.
The final "dirty
little secret" of the natural products industry
Finally, there's one more secret you need to know about. Most importers,
packers, vendors and retailers of natural products foolishly trust the lab
results provided by the manufacturers and exporters!
So a typical U.S. company that sells, for example,
pomegranate powder on the
internet may never conduct their own tests for lead, mercury, cadmium,
arsenic and aluminum. They will simply take the lab tests provided by the
manufacturer and consider those to be absolute fact!
This is extraordinarily foolish. Growers and exporters routinely lie
about their lab tests in order to pull the wool over the eyes of
importers, formulators and retailers. The lab tests are easily faked or
simply bought off in their home country. Contaminated products can be easily
sold and exported because the FDA doesn't routinely check imported raw
materials for heavy metals contamination.
On the good news side, I do know for a fact that all the higher-end
retailers such as Natural News, Mercola, Gary Null, etc., all routinely
test their raw materials for contaminants. I'm pretty sure Gaia herbs (www.GaiaHerbs.com)
routinely tests all their batches, and I know that VitaCost, before it
changed hands a few years ago, was running their own lab to test raw
materials on-site (for their in-house formulations). But I also know of
smaller retailers who absolutely do not test anything and are far
more interested in moving boxes than knowing what's really in them. I also
know that some operations are claiming to sell "organic" products even
though they do not have any kind of organic certification, and that's an
irresponsible practice that should be rectified. (Look for the USDA organic
logo when you buy "organic" products. If they don't have the lo