NOW testing program shows alarming quality failures of berberine products online

The disclosure comes from the latest phase of the company’s product policing program, which exposed confusing poor results related to potency, labeling, contamination, adulteration and heavy metal level issues in more than 150 products that tested so far since 2017. In the case of berberines, the test flagged alarming quality failures in a selection of brands acquired last month from both retail giants.

We buy two bottles of each product from 33 brands, including NOW, which are sold on both Amazon and, said Dan Richard, vice president of global sales and marketing at NOW Health Group. It was clear even before the test that many brands were fraudulently mislabeling the potency on the front label panel and many others had suspiciously high claims.

NOW says it chose to focus efforts on lesser-known brands sold almost exclusively on these platforms because health food store or practitioner brands are less suspect.

Cashing in on the berberine hype

Berberinea yellow-colored alkaloid compound found in plants such as goldenseal, barberry and Oregon grape associated with blood sugar, cholesterol, cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory benefits rose to rapid popularity on social media earlier this year as a natural sub in for the weight loss drug Ozempic.

According to market research firm SPINS, there was a spike in chatter in January that reached true virality on TikTok in May (as #naturesOzempic) and mainstream media in June. At the time, NOW told NutraIngredients-USAAnd its berberine sales increased 623% before running out of stock.

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