We spend a lot of money on research and development and on quality, much more than most people will think. Having spent the money, it seems sensible to explain why we do it.
Over the years I have had reason to lab test other companies products (because of illegal use of our trademarks, some of our customers were misled). A significant percentage of the results (about half) revealed interesting findings. One New Zealand company’s resveratrol supplement actually contained zero resveratrol. Another Res-V Knockoff product we tested did not contain either the amount of resveratrol claimed, or another very expensive ingredient – curcumin (from Turmeric).
It irritated me no end that not only were they deliberately ripping off About Health’s intellectual property (trademarks) in order to mislead people into thinking there was an association with About Health, but also ripping off the customer who was not getting what they paid for.
I had a reason to do these tests, there were legal disputes involved but at the end of the day its not my job to police the industry, its my job to ensure our products are as good as they could be.
Here our list of (mostly) unique steps About Health takes to ensure quality.
1.Made in New Zealand– We make everything here in NZ. If companies don’t list the country of the manufacturer, it’s almost certainly not made here and likely to be made in China. One of the competitor’s products I mentioned above was made in China, and I have lab tests indicating the amounts of key ingredients were well below the advertised amount. It’s such a cutthroat price driven business over there that a supplier can make 15% margin simply by docking 15% of the most expensive ingredients. Dodgy suppliers get away with it because lab testing is complex and expensive; they know most small importers won’t do it.
2.Lab Testing– we run a system that’s fairly unique. There are ‘certificates of analysis’ from our raw ingredients suppliers through to finished product. We then do something different, rather than take anyone’s word for it; we send random samples of the finished product off to a registered New Zealand lab for selected tests. We have done a range of tests over the years, but our Res-V Ultimate formula is tested for heavy metals and resveratrol content, and Lester’s Oil for mercury levels.
3.Selection of Suppliers– Most companies get a range of quotes from manufacturers, and then choose the cheapest one. The manufacturers go to their preferred ingredient suppliers and choose the cheapest one to maximize their margin. We don’t, we took a long time in selecting our manufacturer, they are pharmaceutical grade and able to make products for the very stringent Australian market as well. Even manufacturers from the United States and Europe do not meet those standards. We actually go further still, we specify the supplier of the raw ingredients as well. Dr. Laurence Eyres recently visited our concentrated fish oil supplier in the United Kingdom. Our approach is expensive, but we know very well that two products labeled the same should be the same – but are often not.
4.Storage– You will have seen bottles of oils stored under display lights in pharmacies, supermarkets and health stores. Light destroys oils, and it gets through the white plastic bottles which causes the oils to oxidize (go off). When Dr. Laurence Eyres conducted the fish oil review for Consumer magazine, he found many of the oils had already turned rancid. We store our bottles in darkness until they are shipped to our customers; they are never stored under lights.
5.Tested on Animals(…human animals that is 😉 ). This is a really big deal for Lester’s Oil. A big secret until last week, we have been carrying out human research on Lester’s Oil in association with Nutragenomics at a major NZ University. Nutragenomics is collaboration between Ag Research, Plant and Food Research and Auckland University. Funding for the study was provided by About Health and the Ministry of Science and Innovation. There is much generic research out there for the ingredients we use in our products, but our formulas contain unique combinations of ingredients that we believe work very well together. The results of phase one have proved that in just four weeks of using Lester’s Oil at the standard dose at least three key inflammatory markers were improved, these are HDL (good cholesterol), C Reactive Protein and Triglycerides. This puts Lester’s Oil well beyond what other companies can claim about their products, especially combination products.
This study was a double blind, randomized, placebo controlled – with crossover. If you understand research, you will know that is pretty much the gold standard.
There are other things we do as well, such as stability testing during product development, but I’m sure you get the idea, we pay attention to quality. We can’t control what other companies do or don’t do, but we can only control our own quality and ensure we make the best products available. Thanks for your trust in buying our products, it’s not something we take lightly.
Daniel King, MSc (hons)