NOW Tests Other Brand's Phosphatidyl Serine - Finds Serious Issues

August 12, 2020

NOW and Third-Party Testing Reveals Serious Concerns About Phosphatidyl Serine Purchased on Amazon.com

Following NOW’s report earlier this year of CoQ10, Acetyl-l-Carnitine and SAMe supplements with alarming quality and labeling problems sold on Amazon, NOW has identified similar serious failings in the Phosphatidyl Serine (PS) category.

NOW purchased and tested a group of PS products on Amazon, choosing this particular supplement for several key reasons. According to SPINS data, NOW is the leading seller of Phosphatidyl Serine in natural food stores, and they know the product well. NOW staff noticed that their PS sales were declining on Amazon, and investigated. They found that the top selling brands on Amazon were offering prices that averaged 70% below NOW’s already discounted prices. Knowing that the prices looked “too-good-to-be-true”, it made sense to test and verify potencies. Because PS is an expensive supplement, the incentive is high for marketing brands to put extra funds into Amazon-sponsored fees. NOW had previously tested examples in this and other categories and found these semi-private label brands sold exclusively on Amazon to display faulty labeling and be of poor quality. When most quality brands sell 100mg PS as the standard potency, it’s questionable to see high potencies such as 400mg or 500mg.

NOW’s initial analysis of simply reading label information found multiple problems. Phosphatidyl Serine is a complicated supplement, which makes it easier to have confusion. Many of the brands included in this report list a high potency, such as 500mg, on the front label (and Amazon’s keyword) panel, yet the side panel often states that amount per 2 or 3 capsules. Others were more deceptive by adding things such as “Phosphatidyl Serine Complex” in order to show a high potency value, even when the actual potency of PS would only be 20% of that number. Here are some examples:

  • Absonutrix is deceptively labeled as "Phosphatidylserine Complex 500mg"
  • Naturebell is deceptively labeled as "Phosphatidylserine 20% 400mg per 2 Cap serving". Havasu brand also labels this way "Phosphatidyl Serine 20% 100mg"
  • longlifenutri is mislabeled as "Phosphatidylserine 500mg (per 2 caps) (standardized to 20%)"
  • NUSA brand label is unclear how much Phosphatidyl Serine is in each capsule
  • Both Earth Natural brands mislabel listing Phosphatidyl Serine as 500mg on the front, but only 50mg per Cap on the side fine print
  • Correct labeling should be "Phosphatidyl Serine 100mg (from 500mg Sunflower/Soy Lecithin Complex)" if the raw ingredient is 20% PS from Complex, or simply “Phosphatidyl Serine….100mg”

A total of 43 samples were purchased on Amazon, generally three bottles of each brand, and tested to verify results. Three of these were NOW brand and results on these were 100% - 108% of label claims. Of the remaining non-NOW brands, two samples were discarded when results revealed 2.5 times the label potency claim so it was suspected these products were spiked with added Serine in order to fool testing. Two samples passed potency (not included in this report), while 36 samples failed. Of the 36 failures listed below, 17 of these products contained less than 10% of the labeled value.

“That’s a shockingly poor failure rate, but not really a surprise based upon our previous experience testing supplements sold on Amazon,” said Dan Richard, Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing. “Amazon has to find a way to raise the bar on products they sell, especially today with people buying more supplements from Amazon in order to stay healthy.”

The results are reported in the chart below, which NOW tested by HPLC both by their in-house labs and independently at Eurofins Labs (www.eurofinsus.com).

For More Information Contact: Suzanne Shelton 847-922-5454 suzanne@sheltongrouppr.com