This report is NOW’s fifth in 2020 regarding suspect brands whose main sales appear to be on Amazon. Previous reports include: CoQ10, SAMe, Acetyl-l-Carnitine, and Phosphatidyl Serine. In October 2020, NOW purchased two samples of each Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) product listed below on Amazon. We tested each product internally on our HPLC (High-Performance Liquid Chromatography) instrument by the test method known as RP-HPLC with UV detection. We also sent the same lot of each product to Eurofins, which is a recognized and independent quality laboratory, to test by the same method.
Results were actually better than expected compared to prior reports, where average potencies were often below 50% of label claims. For ALA, NOW brand tested at 110% and the other 13 brands combined to average 69% of label claim. Six out of these 13 brands were under 75% potency. All of these products listed were legally unacceptable as cGMP’s (current Good Manufacturing Practices) require minimum 100% potency tested at label claims. Given that many consumers rely on Amazon for dietary supplement purchases, the finding of significant quality concerns in every category we have tested raises profound concerns.
NOW adds significant overages to all supplement products in order to exceed label claims through the listed “Best by” date. For ALA, NOW adds min. 5% overage to always test over 100% of label claim. This is normal for NOW, but not standard practice for many brands. NOW also tests all ALA products in-house for heavy metals, micro (E-coli, Salmonella spp., total bacteria, etc.), and other impurities. This assures that the end product is safe and tested to meet full potency label claims.