46% Fail NOW Foods Testing

46% Fail NOW Foods Testing


NOW Foods has published a new round of third-party lab testing, finding that only 46% of creatine gummies tested passed lab tests for creatine.[1]

NOW Foods Creatine Gummy Testing

NOW Foods has published a new round of third-party lab testing, finding that only 46% of creatine gummies tested passed lab tests for creatine.[1]

While the claim that the supplement industry is “unregulated” is certainly misleading – after all, the laws on the books regarding manufacturing quality are clear, concise, and enforced – the state of marketing, quality control, and enforcement in the industry leaves a lot to be desired.

The most pressing concern is the FDA’s selective enforcement of these regulations, which leaves a lot of room for poor manufacturing practices to proceed for too long of a time. This leads to a loss of confidence in the industry as a whole, without mentioning the very real risks posed to consumers.

One organization has seemingly taken it upon themselves to shine a light on dubious contract manufacturing practices: NOW Foods. Several months back, in conjunction with Alkemist Labs, NOW Foods ran quality testing on 33 berberine products purchased from Amazon. How many passed (contained at least 90% potency)? Three.[2]

Well… here we go again:

NOW Foods Tests Creatine Gummies, and Most Fail

One product category that has exploded in popularity in recent years is creatine gummies. Creatine is, after all, one of the most researched and efficacious athletic enhancement supplements on the market, and brands around the world are continually looking for new creatine formats, with creatine gummies being a front runner.

As always, though, popularity breeds greed, and with it, a propensity to cut corners — especially in terms of long-term stability testing. A month ago, our very own Ben Kane gave voice to a concern shared by a growing number of personalities in the industry over the purity of creatine gummy products. In his LinkedIn post,[3] Ben solicited help to test different gummies on the market.

Lo-and-behold, NOW answered the call:

“Creatine” Gummy Madness

For this round of testing, NOW surveyed a spectrum of 13 different creatine gummy products. NOW purchased and testing products acquired from Amazon or directly from the brands in question, and utilized high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to test the creatine content of each product against their label claims.[1]

13 brands, only 46% passed[1]

Like the berberine tests, the creatine gummy results were not quite conducive to confidence building:

NOW Foods Berberine Testing

NOW Foods bought 33 different berberine supplements on Amazon and had them 3rd-party tested… and 30 of them failed, with 7 having less than 1% berberine! In this article, we consider some solutions to this problem.

  • Only 6 brands (Bear Balance, Bod, Effective Nutra, Iron Labs Nutrition, Peach Perfect, and Zhou) of the 13 tested met their label claims.[1]
  • The remaining 7 brands allegedly did not meet their label claims.

All told, only 46% of tested brands passed the test.

Converting to creatinine?

Even more worrisome, the brands that did not meet their label claims were tested for creatinine, a creatine metabolite formed when creatine is broken down.

Several products contained significant amounts of the metabolite. In particular, Beast Bites, Create, and Con-Cret had large amounts of creatinine present, suggesting the possibility that the creatine included in the products was converted into creatinine over time.[1]

An indictment of the creatine gummy format?

When creatine gummies first began hitting the market, they were a smash success. After all, the only way we had known creatine for decades was in the form of a flavorless powder. Adding some gelatin and flavoring to the mix helped to spice up our daily intake of one of the behemoth ingredients of athletic supplementation.

There are valid concerns, however, that the format is fundamentally flawed. Water is utilized to make gummies, and mixing creatine with water leads to the conversion to creatinine. This fact alone makes it clear that different, more accurate and longer-term testing methods need to be developed for the creatine gummy format.

Consider the tablets?

Another form factor that has recently taken off are creatine chews, which are dry, chewable flavored tablets. Two brands that PricePlow has covered are Animal Creatine Chews and MuscleTech Creatine Chews (warning: affiliate links inside). We’re far less concerned with conversion to creatinine since water is not an ingredient in these chews.

What does the future look like for quality assurance?

At the end of the day, there are two primary stakeholders in this industry: producers and consumers.

NOW Foods Creatine Gummy Testing

Despite a regulatory landscape that is a far cry from the lawless land some in the media attempt to portray, there are clearly gaps that need to be filled. In an industry of ingestible products, it is critical that frameworks be developed that protect consumers – and by extension, producers.

Regulatory agencies need to stay up to date with the latest science in order to institute rigorous and evenly-applied testing standards. Consumers and industry leaders, likewise, need to hold disingenuous actors accountable in the court of public opinion.

More testing and education required

Additionally, this one simply could be a matter of education. It’s very likely that creatine gummies do pass lab tests right after their creation. However, the gummies may break down over time, which brings up the need for longer-term stability testing against the expiration dates.

Given that some gummies passed the test, there does seem to be a way to do this – it just may take some innovation on the manufacturing end with a different form of gelatin, or a more resistant, encapsulated creatine ingredient.

Hopefully, with the work NOW Foods and others are doing, we can forge a path to a safer and more sustainable industry landscape that benefits all stakeholders.

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