Answer:

Most dietary supplements sold in the U.S. are manufactured here but their key ingredients generally come from other countries. There is no requirement for labels on supplements to indicate the country of origin of ingredients. What the FDA does require is that labels provide a phone number or address to contact the manufacturer or distributor, but this is not necessarily where the product is made. If a product is manufactured outside the U.S., the name of that country must be indicated on the label.

You can try to ask a manufacturer or distributor for the “country of origin” of ingredients in its product, but it may not be provided. Be aware that manufacturers may change the source of an ingredient over time. Even if you learn that an ingredient is from China -- as many are – ingredient suppliers typically sell more than one version of an ingredient, each differing in quality and cost. It is up to the company making the final product to decide what grade of ingredient to purchase and use.

For us at ConsumerLab.com, the most important question is not where a product or its ingredients originate, but “what’s really in that product?” That is, does the supplement contain the listed ingredient at the claimed amount, without contamination (from lead and other heavy metals, etc.), in an unspoiled condition, and will tablets/caplets properly break apart to release the ingredients? These are issues which affect supplement quality, regardless of the country of origin. (You can read how we test each type of product at How Products Were Evaluated.) We also check that product labeling is clear, and we identify toxicity risks with ingredients in the amounts provided.

So, although it may not be possible to find out the geographic origin of the ingredients in a supplement, you can use our information to find out if a product provides what it claims and what you want.

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5 Comments

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Herb417
January 22, 2015

I recently used a new bottle of a probiotic/digestive formula that I have been using for 3 years from DaVinci . This bottle caused me to have extreme heart palpitations. I stopped using after 6 days.I wonder what contaminate found its way into this particular bottle. I contacted the company and they said they are reformulating this product. This is a dangerous product and I wonder how many others are out there. Perhaps[s this is another example of China's toxic ingredients sent to unsuspecting US companies.

ConsumerLab.com
January 22, 2015

Hi Herb - Although this is not a product which ConsumerLab.com has tested, we looked it up on the Internet after reading your comment. We see that it has been discontinued. Nothing in the ingredients list would suggest it causing palpitations, but it is possible that something could have been amiss. The extent that this has anything to do with China is not apparent.

In any event, as a general rule, it's often best to stick with products which focus on a single type of ingredient. For example, if you want a probiotic, choose a probiotic product (See our Review: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/%20/probiotics/). The same goes with digestive enzymes. Try to keep things simple - it's easier to determine what works for you and what doesn't. We will be publishing a report on Digestive Enzyme Supplements soon.

Jordi410
January 21, 2015

Can you please test some more (popular) multivitamins?

ConsumerLab.com
January 22, 2015

Hi Jordi - Our Multivitamin and Multimineral Supplements Review covers nearly all of the most popular brands identified in our annual survey of readers:
https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/%20/multivitamins/.

However, if there is a particular brand or product you would like to see tested, please let us know!

Mary Ann543
February 12, 2015

I would like to see Nature Made multivitamins, as well as other Nature Made products, tested.

ConsumerLab.com
February 12, 2015

Hi Mary Ann - Thank you for letting us know! There are many Nature Made products included in our reports, which you can find listed here: https://www.consumerlab.com/Search/Nature-Made-Review

Linda20429
July 20, 2020

I agree! I prefer Nature Made products but if the particular vitamin/supplement I’m interested in purchasing is not tested by Consumerlab I chose one that is tested.

Roger405
January 21, 2015

... which leads to the question: Is there evidence that, once CL had published its "what's in a product" tabulations, a product drifts into non-compliance by lowering its quality standards and costs?

ConsumerLab.com
January 23, 2015

Hi Roger - This is one reason that we re-test categories of products every few years (note that we purchase all of the supplements we evaluate - companies cannot send us products, or tell us where, when or how to buy their products). In our experience testing and re-testing supplements for more than 15 years, we've found that, in general, products which are well-made one year continue to be well-made in the years that follow, and products which are poorly made are either quickly corrected, or remain poorly-made in the years to come.

Lali20412
July 19, 2020

Hi, what I find troubling, especially these days, is the fact that " manufacturers may change the source of an ingredient over time. " and that they do not have to disclose this change. I, as a consumer, don't have any way to know what is in the products which is why I am so happy to have ConsumerLab by my side. Yet, if after a review by ConsumerLab a manufacturer changes his supplier, we have no way to know about it and for how long the test results in the review are still valid.
I personally try to consume most of the needed nutrients from local produce and if I can't, to use one ingredient supplements, from known companies and after a review of ConsumerLab. Spices are another worry.
Crazy world.
Stay safe,
Lali.

ConsumerLab.com
July 20, 2020

In an ideal world, we (or some other independent group) would be able to check every lot made of every product. Unfortunately, that's not the case and you are correct that a manufacturer can change the source of its ingredients or raw materials. However, a good manufacturer will follow a protocol for properly checking the quality of its ingredients/raw materials, so there is a good chance that a product that passes our tests one year will continue to do so in the future, and a product that fails one year will continue to fail in the future until the manufacturer improves its protocols. We have observed this over our many years of testing.

Richard20443
July 26, 2020

Thank you for this particular bit of advice. Please continue to assist us in avoiding hurting our health with ingredients like lead that are used in some of the supplements and the large number of companies that were trustworthy in the past often aren't when they sell to financial buyers who try to improve profits by buying less expensive materials.

Lee15594
September 28, 2017

Personally I would not ingest any product of any kind that was from China.

Jacqueline19867
May 11, 2020

TOTALLY AGREE!!!

mike20415
July 19, 2020

Yes thank you. that's probably why they are reluctant to tell us.

Arch20419
July 20, 2020

You won't have a choice.

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