Consumption of natural health supplements is at an all-time high, and the industry is growing rapidly. It has been reported that up to 1 in 3 westerners take some kind of complementary or alternative health product on a regular basis. With so many products on the market, all varying in price and claims, it’s difficult to know which ones to trust with your good health. Here, we explain some common symbols and references you may find on the packaging of your health supplements, in order to help you choose the best quality natural health supplements for you.
GMP – this is one of the most important logos to look for on you healthcare products. Products made according to GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) have been manufactured in a safe, hygienic facility with approved ingredients and quantities of ingredients. Many countries use the WHO guide for GMP standards or have adopted their own version based on this. GMP adherence standardises manufacturing processes so you get a high quality, safe and reliable product every time.
Chloraphamenicol-Free - Chloraphamenicol is an antibiotic drug used to treat serious diseases where other drugs have failed. As with most pharmaceutical products, there are a range of adverse reactions to this drug, and it should not be consumed without medical advice. In addition, over-use of antibiotics disrupts active flora in the gut and builds resistance to antibiotics, so they are less effective when actually needed, making it harder to fight real illness. For these reasons, chloramphenicol should not be found in over the counter medicines - including your natural or complementary medicines.
GMO Free - Genetically Modified Organisms are live products, that have been genetically altered in a non-natural manner. While some claim GM foods to have greater nutritional value and better price, others challenge that the long term health, safety and environmental effects are unknown. For health products, particularly natural health supplements, GMO free is considered a safer, more natural and environmentally stable choice.
BSE-free – Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) is the scientific name for Mad Cow Disease, a fatal disease affecting cattle. There is strong evidence to suggest that meat or products produced from BSE affected animals can trigger a rare, fatal and incurable human disease called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). To protect the livestock industry, countries such as Australia & New Zealand maintain strict BSE-free policy; a health and safety measure that extends to your Australian-Made natural health products.
No artificial colours and preservatives – Natural health supplements should be exactly that – natural. Artificial colours and preservatives are associated with many food intolerances, allergies, behavioural and mood disorders/ disturbances. If you care enough about your health to consume health supplements, you should care enough to choose those free from artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.
Safety Tested for Heavy Metals – There is growing concern about the levels of heavy metals detected in our water supplies as a result of pollution. Mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic and zinc have been found in rising levels in the fish we consume. While these metals are required by the body, large amounts can disrupt physiological processes, brain, circulatory and nervous system function. The popularity of fish-based supplements such as Omega 3, Squalene and Glucosamine make testing such products for heavy metals essential. ‘Safe’ levels vary internationally, so always choose a high quality product from a brand you can trust.
Free from wheat, salt, corn, yeast and gluten - Wheat, yeast, corn and gluten are common allergens for many individuals, with gluten can be of particular danger to those with coeliac disease. Salt consumption is common of course, however consumption is best kept at a minimum for most, especially those with heart conditions or illness. When selecting healthcare products, the better quality products are free of such allergens, making them more easily digested, better tolerated and overall healthier for consumers.
Australian Made – The green and gold kangaroo logo representing Australian Made products is recognised locally and internationally as one of value, trust and ethical practice. Its use is restricted to licensed manufacturers who have agreed to comply with the strict AMAG Code of Practice. Compliance with the code makes businesses more accountable and their practices more transparent. It requires a commitment to uphold conditions for record keeping, provision of information, compliance testing, monitoring of products and adherence to complaints resolution practices. The display of the Australian Made logo on any product affords a high level of respect in Australia and around the world and symbolises quality you can trust.
AUST L – This is a registration code, normally followed by a number, to indicate that the product is listed with the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration. The code is always displayed on the front panel of vitamin supplements. Listed healthcare supplements have been approved for health standards, manufacturing processes, product safety, and appropriate claims, labelling and advertising. The approval process for ‘Listed ‘products is a paper-based process as the key ingredients have been evaluated as ‘low-risk.’ Random and planned checks and audits are conducted to ensure these products continue adhering to this high quality and safety standards.
AUST R – Another registration code from the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration, AUST-R refers ‘Registered’ products. Again, these healthcare products have been approved for health standards, manufacturing processes, product safety, and appropriate claims, labelling and advertising, however, testing and monitoring is more rigorous, as the ingredients are deemed to be of higher risk. Registered products are also tested for efficacy of claims. Such products include all prescription medicines and many over-the-counter medicines for specific conditions. ‘Registered’ normally does not apply to complementary medicines.
“This statement has not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease." – US manufacturers of natural health supplements including herbal remedies, vitamins and minerals are required to include this statement on packaging if the product claims to address a nutrient deficiency or is linked to the improvement of body function or overall health. The statement is required as a safety precaution to inform consumers because the FDA does not have a standardised pre-marketing procedure for evaluating and monitoring such products.
Resources/ Further information :
Herbs of Gold
Bioflavonoids enhance the activity of Vitamin C - commonly used to increase immune health and prevent colds and flus.