After a Steinbach woman sounded the alarm about a popular health supplement causing severe damage to her health, many people are wondering how to ensure the supplements they take are actually safe and helpful. 

Leane Janz from Good n’ Natural in Steinbach, Man., says that in order to sell a supplement in Canada, it is required that Health Canada first approve that product. 

Every product sold in Canada has an NPN, which stands for Natural Product Number. 

Janz says this means the manufacturer must prove that what they claim is in the bottle lines up with what is actually in the bottle, and in the correct doses and quantities. 

“And it goes a step further. If that product makes a health claim on it, there has to be scientific research to prove that claim.” 

These rules are in place for the safety of Canadians and they prevent poor-quality products from being circulated in the country. 

Janz says if you are concerned about the quality of your supplements, the smartest thing to do is buy from a Canadian retailer or manufacturer, as there are a lot of unregulated products outside of Canada. 

“If you want to get a quality product that you can trust it's going to do what it says it's going to do, and what's in there is actually in there, you want to buy a product with an NPN, and that is listed on every bottle that you buy in Canada.” 

Canadian retailers and manufacturers are only allowed to sell supplements with an NPN. 

Janz warns that while supplements without NPNs can’t be sold by Canadians, they can be bought by Canadians. 

“The only thing that's unregulated is if you decide to purchase an online product from another country, that is not regulated. So buyers beware that you're trusting what they say is in the bottle actually is, because we don't know what other country’s standards are.” 

She reiterates that using Canadian products, or products with an NPN, is your best bet if you want to take a high-quality product that is what it says it is. 

Every natural product in Canada is required to have an NPN. This includes all supplements, vitamins, minerals, and herbal remedies. 

Janz says that Canada has some of the strictest regulations and rigorous testing across the globe. 

“It makes it harder to have a big selection in Canada, because that requires a lot more money to do all the scientific research to get the license and the claim for each product, but you can be assured that we sell some of the best products in the world.” 

With files from Corny Rempel