By | Supplements


You may be putting your health at risk by buying counterfeit nutritional supplements from third-party sellers on the Internet.

Word is out that Amazon .com is selling counterfeit nutritional supplements to unsuspecting customers.  As reported by, third-party sellers have hijacked Amazon in three big ways by:

Selling counterfeit dietary supplements under the guise of brand name manufacturers’ products. These fraudulent companies repeatedly and successfully sell numerous fake nutritional products. How? By unlawfully copying product labels and placing them on fake products and using the copyrighted or patented names and of popular supplement companies and their products to market their counterfeit formulas.

Receiving a high user rating from Amazon for its fake products.

These counterfeit operations exploit the customer’s trust when Amazon unknowingly assigns their products high star ratings. Customers assume these fake products are rated on use. But in fact, Amazon has a policy of assigning the same high-star rating to ALLproducts it believes are identical to any original manufacturer’s products that have received a high-star rating from actual users.

Getting original manufacturers banned from You see, Amazon’s anti-counterfeiting policy states that they will terminate a company’s selling privileges on Amazon if they determine their products were illegally manufactured. So, any anonymous seller can report a legitimate manufacturer for selling their own products as counterfeit. As one reputable supplement manufacturer revealed, “…an unknown seller reported us to Amazon for selling [our own] counterfeit products … and Amazon banned us.”

Amazon has finally been exposed for being unable to distinguish between the original products of legitimate manufacturers and the fake products of counterfeit manufacturers. To be clear, Amazon. com does not appear to be responsible for the counterfeit sales. However, it’s a wake-up call to consumers regarding Amazon’s inability-and even unwillingness-to police this fraudulent activity of perhaps thousands of third-party sellers of nutritional supplements on their site.

No surprise here, considering Amazon takes a cut of every sale on its  website…regardless of whether the product is genuine or counterfeit!

While this kind of dishonesty hurts manufacturers, consumers like you pay a heavy price as well. How?  By facing greater health risks by consuming unknown content in supplement formulas, wasting your money buying costly inferior and counterfeit products, and putting up with confusion over the value of nutritional products.

And, yes, professional-quality therapeutic supplements and medical foods may or may not cost more than those of second-rate nutritional companies.    But remember, no matter how little you pay for an inferior, counterfeit or fake product, a supplement that doesn’t work is the most expensive supplement you can buy.


By | Supplements

Beware of Buying Supplements on the Internet!

Buyer Beware!  If patients want to buy their products on Amazon, EBay, or any other “discount” vitamin internet sites, they should know that they are taking this risk.  Any purchases of professional therapeutic supplements and medical foods purchased thru these venues is a “black market” purchase. Knockoff products labeled with copied original labels are sold at discount prices, and there is no way for you to know if the product is expired, how old the product is, how it has been stored, if even if the ingredients in the bottle are the same as from the original manufacturer.

An American Revelation: Nutritional Supplements – Not All Are Created Equally

As appeared in the May/June 2015 issue of Natural Nutmeg Magazine:

In 2015, the New York State Attorney General issued cease and desist letters to GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart, requiring them to pull store-brand nutritional supplements from their shelves (specifically herbals), based on the results of DNA testing of the ingredients. The products tested included Echinacea, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, saw palmetto, St. John’s Wort and Valerian.

Shopping for supplements can be an overwhelming experience. Every grocery store, box store and chain has aisles of supplements, herbs and vitamins overflowing from their shelves. How do you pick what you need? Many people feel comfortable with familiar company brands, generic store brands, or names they’ve heard on TV ads. Price is also a factor in buying decisions. This is why so many consumers assumed that they could trust their neighborhood Target or pharmacy. But unless you have a specific recommendation from a health care provider, it becomes a game of luck to pick a supplement that will be useful.

When purchasing a supplement, there are three properties to check for: purity, potency and third-party quality testing.


Good quality supplements don’t have dyes, fillers, glues, artificial sugars, and hydrogenated oils. Some manufactures add these ingredients to keep production costs down, but unfortunately they can be a source of allergies for people. Most people are trying avoid these fillers in their diet—they certainly don’t want to find them in a supplement they’re consuming to improve their overall health.


We expect that the supplement we’re purchasing will actually help the health condition that we’re looking to improve. Many supplement companies have found that marketing campaigns are much cheaper than using good quality ingredients. Manufacturers may use forms of the nutrient that are old, inactive or poorly absorbable, in efforts to make a cheaper product. The most common tactic among less-savory brands is to use a low dose of a particular nutrient per capsule. Sometimes the dose is so low that if you added up the total milligrams in the whole bottle, you still would not get what you actually need.

Third Party Quality Testing

Product testing conducted by an outside, reliable source can ensure the quality of the product and also the consistency of ethical manufacturing practices. Supplements should be tested to for heavy metals, pesticides and the bioavailability of the herb, vitamin or supplement.

How to Purchase Professional Quality Therapeutic Supplements and Medical Foods

Where you purchase your supplements is important. Recent reports have shown that many websites sell counterfeit products with labels that appear to be authentic, but with a different product.

A patient of mine recently refilled a supplement online after having purchased the original product from our office. She noticed that while the original product was a capsule with a white powder, the one she bought online was a capsule with black “gook” in it. This is very dangerous—never take a supplement if you don’t know for certain where it came from.

Even large sites like Amazon are not supplement companies; they simply list items on their site and orders are sent all over the world to be filled and sent to the customer. You truly have no way of knowing where the supplements came from. Most legitimate supplement vendors do not sell through these websites.

Another factor to be aware of is that some retailors do not store heat-sensitive supplements at appropriate temperatures, so the product becomes inactive.

The safest way to ensure that you are taking a quality product is to have specific recommendations from a trusted healthcare provider such as your Naturopathic Physician. It is best to seek advice from an ND who specializes in using natural therapies as medicine, as they have the most up-to-date information about which supplements are worth your time and money. Your Naturopathic Doctor can recommend the best supplements, herbs or vitamins that will be designed for your unique health concerns, saving you from wasting money on products that aren’t appropriate.

What’s the American Revelation? The American Revelation is a series of articles about the various ways that patients and consumers are becoming part of the healthcare solution, by first becoming aware of the existing problems. In our history books, the original American Revolution was the result of a series of social, political, and intellectual transformations in society, government and ways of thinking. Today, these same concepts reflect the changes, growth, and evolution of health care.


By | Supplements

This is a recent letter to me, dated 2/26/2106, from one of my professional supplement vendors, trying to keep counterfeited copies of their products off the internet, in order to protect consumers.

“Dear Valued Customer,

Designs for Health, one of our valued GOLD Emerson Quality Program partners firmly believes that the healthcare practitioner plays a pivotal role in maximizing the therapeutic benefit of nutritional supplements in the overall treatment and maintenance of patient health. In addition to their dedication to quality, innovation and product formulations, they remain critically concerned with how Designs For Health products are sold to the end consumer, your patients.

In an effort to manage this concern, beginning March 4th, in support of Designs for Health, Emerson will require all Healthcare Practitioner customers (both new and existing) to sign a new RxDFHend Pricing Agreement. The agreement stipulates that Designs for Health products cannot be sold on third-party-facilitated online retail websites or online auction websites (including but not limited to Amazon and EBay). Healthcare Practitioners will be allowed to continue to sell products at full retail price to their patients from websites owned and operated by the Healthcare Practitioner.

Designs For Health remains committed to eliminating the sale of their products through unauthorized online marketers. The new RxDFHend agreement is a stronger step in prevention and support of the hard work you have dedicated to educating your patients on their products.”


By | Supplements

Order all your therapeutic supplements and medical foods from our Virtual Dispensary, and feel confident that you are getting the genuine product, every time!

To All My Patients and their Families, Friends and Loved Ones:

You may not be aware of the recent discoveries of counterfeit, fake and duplicated supplements found on internet sites like Amazon and other online, third-party “vitamin shops”, and also in well-known sellers of commercial quality supplements such as GNC, drugstores and super sellers like Walmart.

A patient of mine recently refilled a supplement online after having purchased the original product from our office. She noticed that while the original product was a capsule with a white powder, the one she bought online was a capsule with black “gunk” in it. This is very dangerous—never take a supplement if you don’t know for certain where it came from.

Please take the time to read the 3 articles below, as they can greatly influence your health and wellness.

My mission is to provide the best naturopathic healthcare and professional therapeutic treatment to each patient in the process of regaining optimal health and wellness. With this intent, I prescribe only the highest quality professional therapeutic supplements and medical foods, direct from the manufacturers.

To make it easy for patients to re-order their professional therapeutic supplements and medical foods, I have created an online virtual dispensary just for you, to purchase all the professional quality therapeutic supplements and medical foods I have prescribed for for you.

This way I know that you are getting the correct product every time!

To Your Health,

Dr. Helene Pulnik, ND