It’s easy to buy almost anything over the internet. And considering the price cuts that true “warehouse retailers” can offer, it’s often less expensive to buy products online. But just like you wouldn’t want to get “discount antibiotics” off of an online marketplace (and you can’t, anyway), it’s an equally sketchy market for nutritional supplements and herbs. There are safe ways to buy online, but it mean turning down some seemingly good deals.

Over the last year, investigations of online retailers and scientific studies of their products have revealed the prevalence of counterfeit supplements. The market must be very attractive to counterfeiters: An expensive product with a good reputation can be reasonably well faked with some bottles, a label printer and pills filled with whatever looks most like the original. Even some mainstream supplement manufacturers have been caught selling less-than pure products.

Supplement fakery falls into a few basic categories.Supplements

  • Dilution – Some supplements contain a diluted version of the product they are selling, cut with inert ingredients.
  • Substitution – The herb or compound supposed to be in the pill is from an entirely different plant which is less expensive and more available.
  • Repurposing – The actual product is acquired from the manufacturer (legally or illegally) after it has expired or is discarded for other reasons and re-bottled as “new”.

The best way to get a reliable, safe product is through your doctor’s office, but we recognize that we don’t have everything under the sun, and we don’t always have it in stock. So, other than buying your supplements directly from your doctor’s office, how can you find the recommended supplements elsewhere, possibly at a discount?

1) Only buy from recognizable businesses – if they’re selling on eBay or Amazon, they should also have their own website that also sells items – with industry certifications and a BBB rating.

2) Only buy brands recommended by your doctor. Not all brands are equally committed to product purity. Products that your doctor sells are either only available to doctor’s offices (so beware finding them elsewhere if it says that on the bottle!) or are of equally high quality with rigorous testing. If you wish to purchase another brand’s version of a recommended product, check with your doctor.

3) If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Prices varying by more than 15% from the cost at your doctor’s office or from the manufacturer’s website are more likely to be counterfeit. Honest retailers need honest profit to run their business; shady resellers can offer a greater discount on product that isn’t what it seems.

We understand that the prices of some supplements seem prohibitive, and we don’t mean to dissuade anyone from shopping around. If there is a less expensive way to get what your doctor wants you to have – go for it! But we also want to make sure our patients are using safe and effective products. The price tag for these products includes research, high-quality ingredients and independent third-party testing for purity and contamination. That’s why we use them!

Some further reading:


The article linked above has some of the simplest and best advice for every body (and everybody) on the planet: Exercise.

And remember that exercise comes in many forms! If all you think of is Jane Fonda or Billy Blanks or that merciless gym teacher you once had – and it fills you with dread, boredom or disgust – there is a form of exercise out there that can make you excited to get to it! Or maybe you feel hampered by past injury or present illness – there is still some kind of movement your body will be happy with, and that can make you happier and healthier.

Need some ideas? Give Tilia a call and schedule an appointment with your doctor to go over the ways in which you can get your particular body moving and keep your brain happy about it.

Dr Amy WellsDr. Amy Wells is joining Tilia from her private practice in Wallingford. She is a family practice ND with specialties in chronic illness, chronic fatigue, chronic infections and gastrointestinal issues. She also treats patients with various modalities for physical pain. She is excited to join Tilia and excited to meet you in the office. Dr. Wells is covered under many insurance plans and is currently accepting new patients.

According to a press release from the AANP:

Senate Passes Naturopathic Medicine Week Resolution
The U.S. Senate last night unanimously passed a resolution designating October 7 – October 13 as Naturopathic Medicine Week.

NaturopathicMedicineWeekThe resolution recognizes the value of naturopathic medicine in providing “safe, effective, and affordable health care…” and encourages Americans to learn about the role of naturopathic physicians in preventing chronic and debilitating conditions.

Passage of this resolution is an historic achievement for naturopathic medicine. The Congress has now officially recognized the important role naturopathic medicine plays in effectively addressing the nation’s health care needs as well as in addressing the increasingly severe shortage of primary care physicians.

For the latest information about Naturopathic Medicine Week (NMW), visit the NMW page on AANP’s website.

The resolution (Sen. Res. 221) is not yet available on Congress’ official web site but will be soon.

This is an exciting development for Naturopathic Medicine and a great step toward greater recognition, accreditation and insurance coverage nationwide.

We are pleased to announce that we will soon have Dr. Alicia Cole back in the office following her summer maternity leave with Baby Freya.

She will be available to see patients at Tilia starting the week of September 16th.

Please call the front desk to schedule your follow-up or initial visit with Dr. Cole.

Freya Josephine HorstWe are happy to share the news that Dr. Alicia Cole and husband Josh Horst recently welcomed a new addition to their family.

Freya Josephine Horst arrived almost 2 weeks past her due date at 1:12 pm on July 20th. Weighing a hearty 8 lbs, 8 ozs at birth, Freya is continuing to grow steadily and is keeping her parents busy with her active nature.

Dr. Cole will be on maternity leave until mid-September and looks forward to her return to Tilia at that time.

The easy answer is: Not really.

We heard the recent news stories, too. While we were mulling over the best way to address this issue for our patients and their families, we received the following press release from Thorne Research.This represents our position on this new information, as well, and does so with excellent clarity.


As you may be aware, an article published in the July 2013 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests there is an association between elevated plasma omega-3 fatty acid levels and a heightened risk of prostate cancer.

This study must be interpreted with a significant degree of caution for a variety of reasons:

  • The data came from what is referred to as a retrospective, nested, case-control study. The data was extracted from another, much larger, previously conducted trial that was not originally intended to examine the relationship between omega-3 fatty acid levels and prostate cancer.  In other words, the original study was not designed to determine any of the conclusions reached in the analysis contained in the article.
  • The study’s results conflict with the results from other studies that do suggest that omega-3 fatty acids offer a protective benefit against prostate cancer; and these other studies were, in fact, designed to analyze that very outcome. (See link) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3629172/
  • Identifying one particular physiologic marker in a group of individuals with a given condition – in this case, an elevated omega-3 level in men with prostate cancer – does not prove causation, especially when that marker can be influenced by diet or behavior and is only measured at a single point in time.
  • It is also hugely important to realize that the authors of this study did not assess any of the participants’ dietary intake of fatty fish or omega-3 nutritional supplements – the study’s conclusions are based wholly on the results of a single blood test.
  • The omega-3 index, which measures both EPA and DHA within red blood cells, is a much more accurate indicator of long-term omega-3 intake and tissue status than is the plasma omega-3 level, which is subject to significant day-to-day variability.
  • A number of confounding risk factors might have influenced the purported outcomes in the study, despite attempts by the investigators to account for them:
  1. 53 percent of the subjects with prostate cancer were smokers.
  2. 64 percent of the cancer subjects regularly consumed alcohol.
  3. 30 percent of the cancer subjects had at least one first-degree relative with prostate cancer.
  4. 80 percent of the cancer subjects were overweight or obese.
  • Considering the extensive body of literature that supports the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids, there is no credible biological mechanism, nor is one suggested in the article, that would explain why these essential fatty acids might increase tumorigenesis.

Summary:  Given the inconsistent data attributable to omega-3 fatty acids and prostate cancer, and acknowledging the broad range of health benefits that are almost universally accorded to omega-3 fatty acid consumption, it would be premature to stop eating fish or to discontinue taking omega-3 nutritional supplements on the basis of this study.

In Health,

Robert Rountree, MD

Chief Medical Officer

Thorne Research, Inc.


We welcome you to contact your doctor with any reservations or concerns you have about your supplementation or health regimens – at any time! Call our office to schedule a consult to re-evaluate your current wellness plan with your doctor. And if you aren’t yet a patient at Tilia Natural Health, we welcome the opportunity to help you feel and live your best – give us a call.