ALBANY, New York -- If you are trying to be healthy and even taking herbal supplements to get on the right track, then you might want to think twice, especially if you are buying them at GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart.
The New York State Attorney General`s office claims testing shows that some of those store-brand supplements did not contain the herbs at all, and many included potential allergens not shown on the ingredient list.
Some of the products in question are gingko biloba, St. John`s wort, valerian root and garlic.
"Some of the product did not have any active ingredient, instead they had rice and beans which I can go to a Cajun restaurant and eat much cheaper, and most disturbing is, some product has wheat as you know, if a person a gluten allergy, wheat will cause a severe allergic reaction," explained Amitava Dasgupta, Ph.D., at UTHealth Medical School.
The New York A.G.`s office filed cease and desist letters demanding the stores stop selling some of the supplements.
In response, Target and Walgreens have agreed to pull the products from their shelves while an investigation continues.
Walmart says they will conduct their own testing but in the meantime, have stopped selling the products only in New York. GNC didn`t respond.
"As you will not take a medicine without a prescription, you should follow the same caution with herbal products. Talk to a qualified person before you take anything," added Dasgupta.
Just remember, herbal supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and don`t follow the same standards as prescription drugs. So,maybe give it a second thought before you pop those pills!