The Nation's Health + [vitamin D]

Response from Nature Made

Here's the response from Nature Made when I emailed them about my concern that there appears to be no vitamin D in their vitamin D gelcaps.

It is the usually CYA corporate-speak that says nothing. The grammatical errors make it clear that this was a "canned" response.

Date: April 9, 2010
From: Marissa Reyes, Consumer Affairs Department
Subject: Reference #346236

Dear House, MD:

We recently received your e-mail regarding Nature Made products. We regret to
hear that the quality standards of our company. [?]

Our company is called Pharmavite, and we manufacture Nature Made nutritional
supplements. We have been in business since 1971. We are committed to quality
control, and have very high quality standards. Our Quality Control personnel
sample and test all raw materials as they enter our plant, and again assay the
finished product, before final packaging.

Dietary Supplements are regulated under the FDA through DSHEA (Dietary
Supplement Health & Education Act of 1994). The United States Pharmacopoeia
(USP) establishes standards for the composition of drugs and nutritional
supplements. This voluntary non governmental organization was set up in 1820
and has officially been recognized by federal law since 1906. Standards
established by USP for products are legally enforceable by the FDA. At
Pharmavite we participate in the USP Dietary Supplement Verification Program
(DSVP). Many of our products have earned the DSVP seal and additional products
are currently being evaluated. Our DSVP certified products will have the DSVP
seal on the product label.

Our Nature Made Vitamin D 400 IU tablets have been reviewed by the USP and bears
the DSVP symbol on the label. Although the USP has not reviewed all of the
Nature Made Vitamin D supplements, all of our products go through the same
rigorous quality testing at Pharmavite. The products which have earned the seal
help us to demonstrate the high quality of our products.

We would like to look into the product(s) your patients have been using. If you
could provide the UPC and lot numbers of the product(s), we will be happy to
review our records. In addition, if you would like us to test the product(s)
that you currently have, we will be pleased to send a prepaid postage mailer so
you may return the product(s) to us so that our Quality Control Department can
examine it. Please let us know if you would like us to send you the prepaid
postage mailer.

We thank you for contacting us and hope that you will continue to use and enjoy
Nature Made products with complete confidence.

Sincerely,
Marissa Reyes
Consumer Affairs Coordinator
Pharmavite, LLC
MR:346236-10

Patients who come to the office do not provide me with the bottles nor lot numbers. In past, when I've gone to the trouble of doing this (with other companies, not Nature Made), it has come to nothing helpful. The information gets passed on to the company and we hear nothing and never learn if there was a problem, or receive some more corporate-speak letter saying everything was fine. This is obviously a liability-avoidance tactic: Admitting that something was wrong would open them up to legal risk. So, frankly, I can't be bothered.

So we are left with the unsatisfying experience of relying on street-level experiences.

For now, my advice: Avoid Nature Made vitamin D. Too many people have had blood tests demonstrating that they are not obtaining any vitamin D.

By the way, the Nature Made brand of fish oil is among the very few problem brands of fish oil we've encountered. Fish oil should be only mildly fish in smell and generally should not cause stomach upset and excessive belching if properly purified. Nature Made is excessively fishy when you smell it, suggesting oxidation. We've had repeated (dozens) of patients who have experienced difficulties with this brand. Rather than dealing with the frustrating gobbledy-gook of this company, just avoid their products.