All Supplements Are Not Alike

I use Swisse Krill that proves to be quite beneficial for my joints - this particular product is imported from the USA with full labelling of krill and its EPA/DHA as required in the USA. I then tried an Aussie product on sale that was only labelled with the krill amount - within two days my joints were hurting - doubled the dose and generally OK again. Back to the Swisse single dose and the joints continued good.

After a run around with the TGA regarding why full labelling is not required in Australia, I understand that our product and labelling requirements for supplements (and what else?) are as minimum as they can get. Krill and other natural products are subject to variation; there is a definition for each called a monograph, and if the product meets the monograph (minimum standard to be called [krill oil]) it gets their tick.

Regarding the EPA/DHA the amount in each gel can be a difference of more than double. Some of our brands will respond to the question, and others will ignore or obfuscate. The difference seems to be in the processing where some is more efficacious for whatever reason. Eg all 1000mg krill gels are not alike. The TGA appears happy to require the consumer to take care of themselves regarding what they are buying, perhaps even having their own at-home labs for analysis.

Australia should have a requirement for health/supplement manufacturers to provide labelling indicative of product quality, not just genre. So far it has not been an interesting topic for anyone I approached. Curious.


Didn’t Swisse get prosecuted for not having the listed ingredients? I would try a brand like Blackmores or Natures Own.

I believe the Swisse problem you reference was dodgy advertising claims, not the ingredients. FWIW Swisse is now owned by Biostime, Hong Kong.

I referenced Swisse Krill because I have a good experience with it and based on the labelled EPA/DHA and importation from the USA, it appears to be rebranded Neptune EKO although there is no direct evidence of that.

If they don’t put EPA/DHA on the label I get suspicious although Blackmores did answer someone’s question about it on their web, and their product looks OK. One company I approached replied with very ordinary EPA/DHA numbers while claiming “as natural products they are all alike” - but evidence is they are not all alike - while some companies just ignored the question. YMMV.

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As a Natural Medicine Practitioner I can attest to the fact that not all supplements are created equal. Additionally, I find great concern in the fact that people are self-medicating with Natural Health Supplements. Without the proper knowledge about possible interactions, and appropriate dosage, consumers can quite easily be either ripped off as the ingredients are of such a poor quality that they have little effect, or worse - they end up overdosing on a supplement ingredient (for example Silica), that can have serious side effects if the daily dosage is exceeded on a regular basis.

As for brands of choice easily available to consumers, I prefer Blackmores, Oriental Botanicals, and Ethical Nutrients. That said, if a consumer has a specific issue that needs addressing, he/she should really make an appointment with a fully qualified Naturopath or Nutritionist so that an assessment can be made, and appropriate supplementation given.

Finally, if you do see a Naturopath or Nutritionist, you are quite within your rights to request to see a copy of the following:

  1. Their credentials (anything less than an Advanced Diploma will mean they are not fully qualified - many practitioners are now moving to Bachelors Degrees as well).

  2. Their association membership details (a practitioner can not get association membership without providing the association with a certified copy of their credentials. being an association member also holds the practitioner to a higher standard).

  3. A copy of their insurance as a practitioner to ensure that should problems occur, you have a legal avenue to pursue. (that said, whilst there are over 10,000 deaths each year attributed to main stream medicine, there has only been 1 death in the last 10 years attributed to natural medicine).

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I would like Choice to do a test on top supplements as they I have found with one in particular they are not all viable. Or work well. Usually cheaper not as good but then to be expected. But not always take Redwin products Vitamin E cream did the job on rough skin when more expensive didnt. And only $4.
But mainly I have found for joint pain only original Sea Tone Or Mobicosa bit more expensive actually work for me and Sea Tone is lower dose so need to take more daily. Tried other brands from NZ with higher dosage simply dont work pain is back within couple of days
And since I am awaiting a knee replacement surgery and pain shocking when tried other products but bearable with Sea Tone, says it all. If it gets bad just a take a couple extra at bedtime and by morning fixed. Helps all joints arthritis is series more so than just old age - young woman met recently 20 and has it too.

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Personally i believe it’s just a money raising for these companies,and would never buy any of the products.If your missing something in your diet,eat the correct foods and not take a tablet.If you have aches and pains don’t take a supplement use a different form of pain relief

Blackmores no longer sells Krill. I have tried to ask them and got no reply. SO I buy online through Mercola. should be compared with others, such as

Ignore the prices since huge discounts (about 50%) are common. I could be wrong, but as I noted, the EPA/DHA numbers seem to reflect the comparative potential benefit of any particular product. Pay particular attention to the numbers, noting the number of capsules included per serving.

Buzz3 you are entitled to your opinion. However, when the methods you suggest have not helped and doctors say they have nothing to help either, people turn to supplements. And, as surprising as it seems to you, they work, especially when prescribed by a qualified naturopath or other complementary therapies practictioner.

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Neither are all cars, shirts, bananas or anything else you buy “alike”. As with any purchase it is a matter of “buyer beware”.
That said, if you shop at a reputable vitamin shop you have a good chance of finding someone who is interested in helping resolve your issue rather than selling you the most expensive bottle. Many also have in-house nutritionists who can be helpful, for a fee.
In relation to your knee problem, if it is a matter of inflammation, as distinct from bone deterioration, two excellent anti-inflammatory supplements are magnesium (also good for preventing night cramps) and turmeric (often mispronounced as tumeric). The latter is especially good, and especially when taken in conjunction with black pepper - you can buy tablets which include both.
I’ve tried many lotions for an inflamed cartilage pad in my knees, but have found nothing to beat METSAL. The best way to buy it is in 500g tubs for $20.

@Johnn31 Only now seen your post. I tried Metsal, skin didn’t like it at all. Yet I can use and have used Mentholatum Deep Heat for many years with great results.

Knee left and hip left were injured in a road accident many years back, and now seemingly it has come home to roost. Or so I’m told. So a bit more than inflammation.
Usual long story re long waiting lists for surgery and then even when taken out private health, again a waiting period now over.

But good news was Choice helped me get a good rate for it in their recent campaign.

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Re liniments, I guess it’s horses for courses. Re your injury related arthritis, I believe that most osteoarthritis in old age is related to injuries experienced in earlier years.

Mine is for sure - goes back to Army service. Told it would likely happen and has.

60 Minutes will have a segment on dodgy health supple,emts tonight.

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All supplements should be independantly tested to verify labelling. TGA does this with drugs; why can anyone put supplements on the market without verification? Some years ago Choice tested and found Blackmores Echinacea had only 1% of what the label claimed!! More like contamonated by Echinacea!

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I wasn’t aware of that. Where would I find information about this drug testing?

I asked TGA; they explained thet their charter was limited to theraputic drugs only. I guess there are an endless number of lotions, portions and snake oils on offer for the gulible public!

Regulation extends to complimentary medicines. The following may assist further understanding,

From the TGA home page accessible from the same link it’s also possible to follow the requirements for product approvals of all classes of medical products.

My lay persons take is the TGA is not in the business of routinely testing any of the products it regulates. Routine testing and assurance of any regulated product is the responsibility of the manufacturer/importer.

The marketing and advertising of therapeutic goods, including complementary medicines, is to be conducted in a manner that promotes the quality use of the product, is socially responsible and does not mislead or deceive the consumer.

Purchasing complementary medicines over the Internet

Products available on international websites are not regulated by the TGA. The TGA advises that consumers do not order medicines, including dietary supplements and herbal preparations, over the Internet unless you know exactly what is in the preparation and have checked the legal requirements for importation and use in Australia. For more information refer to: Buying medicines and medical devices over the Internet.

So you have correspondence from them saying they test all therapeutic drugs? Could you share (anonymised if you prefer)?

This explanation from the TGA explains which medicines are assessed and monitored. In some cases the assessment means they contain only approved ingredients in other cases the ingredients are assessed before market. It doesn’t say the TGA does any testing, based on that all these assessments could be desk top evaluations using available data rather than any local laboratory testing.

If anybody has any data on any actual drug testing conducted by the TGA say on.

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I am unable to find the correspondence from TGA - it was quite awhile ago and I periodically delete old emails to free up my inbox!
Haven’t looked recently but maybe the TGA explains its charter on its website?