Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
What’s Really in Your Fish Oil? Labdoor’s Market-Based Approach to Taming the Supplement Industry.

What’s Really in Your Fish Oil? Labdoor’s Market-Based Approach to Taming the Supplement Industry.


I have got four belly blasting supplements
you can add to your diet- -many benefits of magnesium and how to get
more magnesium rich food- -If you’ve been following my newsletter, you’ve
heard me talk about probiotic- Supplements like vitamins, herbs and protein
powders comprise 36 billion dollars in annual US retail sales. And it’s almost completely unregulated. We have developed the ultimate male vitality
supplement with eight concentrated super herbs. An open marketplace has facilitated experimentation, but it’s also allowed products to flourish
like Herbalife, which some claim is a pyramid scheme that
doesn’t help users lose weight. Allegations that the company denies. Now under investigation by the FBI and the
Federal Trade Commission. Neal Thanedar set out to bring accountability
to the market without quashing it’s dynamism. You don’t know what you’re taking. There could be a fish oil capsule that’s 10%
omega 3s, there could be one that’s 90% omega 3s. There could be what we found which is thatabout a third of the capsules that are actually on the shelf are rancid. I think what Labdoor does provides kind of
this nice balance between some sort of regulatory function but at the same time, it’s a free market,
right? We’re, you can, like anyone can sell a product, if you do something wrong we’ll catch you,
or like we’ll do our best to catch you. But we’re not blocking the products from the
market. We’re not setting up a ten year process to
get to market. Six years ago he co-founded Labdoor with the goal of bringing more transparency
to the supplements industry. The company has received funding from several
prominent angel investors and venture capitalists including Mark Cuban and Y Combinator. Are there any results that have really surprised
you either in terms of ‘wow this has exactly what
it says and is pretty effective’ or falling way short of what it’s promise
is? Yeah so there’s certain categories, if you
look at like a vitamin D or magnesium or kind of these simple ingredients, like
creatine, you’ll find that the vast majority of products
will be very good, you know, so it might be 70, 80, 90% of the market is
clean. And then there’s other categories like Garcinia
Cambogia is something that Doctor Oz had been really
pushing heavily and when we tested in 2017 we found that 70%
of the products didn’t have the active ingredients up to the label. The company buys the products right off the
shelves and then posts the test results for free on its website. It makes money when people click through to
purchase an item. People might think that there’s a conflict
of interest there if you are testing these products but also
in a way marketing them. How do you justify that? Well often find is that it’s not the most
popular product that wins categories it’s not the thing that the big brand names
that you might have heard of often is like a B or a C grade on our site. The real top A grade products tend to be something
that people haven’t ever heard of before. So it’s the protein powder from England, it’s
the fish oil from Belgium. These companies in some cases have never even
sold in the US and once we find them, we start testing, they
actually find a market in the US to actually start selling. Fish oil doesn’t sound that far from snake
oil. What did you go in thinking about supplements and have you changed the way you thought about
dietary supplements? I think I probably went through three phases
of my life so like when I was in high school and I was
playing sports it was like I would take the protein powders
and the creatines and whatever I just wanted to, I would buy whatever was
the most popular right or whatever like my friend recommended, right,
and that’s the classic thing that people start with. and then, you know, I went to college and
I started researching the science behind it and I was just hit me and I kind of went the
other way and I was like I don’t want to take anything because I, like I don’t know what’s in these
products, right? And then once we started testing these products,
you can definitely find, like we found protein powders that say they had,
they claimed 25 grams of protein per scoop and they had 5 or 10 grams. And someone took the worst product every single
day, they would actually absolutely get sick, right? And if they took the worst fish oil that had
10% or less Omega 3s it wouldn’t be that effective, right? And so this idea of we can find out what’s
safe and effective just by testing the products and if we can do that then if you only took
the best products then you would actually see an effect. And so I think the supplement has a lot of
great players and a lot of bad players, right? And our job is to kind of be the referee and
kind of separate the two. Labdoor once tested male libido supplements
marketed by Infowars founder Alex Jones. Though taking them is unlikely to increase
libido, they probably also won’t do much harm the
company found. Both sides got what they wanted out of that
story, like Alex Jones was really excited that it was
all pure and I think the other side of the media was
very, kind of frustrated by the, kind of, the extreme claims that were being made
about what might actually happen with your health. For us, like, we do the testing, we tell you
what actually happened and then you can read that very different
ways. Thanedar plans to create a decentralized network
of laboratories called TEST. Consumers would no longer have to trust a
single third party, including Labdoor or the FDA. Instead, through a decentralized database
known as a blockchain participants, including the supplement manufacturers
themselves could actually place bets using tokens issued
by TEST as to whether a product would pass muster. In a classic certification, someone, like
the company would pay for a certification and we would, like anyone would deliver it. And I think that, that centralization can
cause kind of some bias when you’re directly paying the people who
give you a rating with like a credit rating agency, you have
a lot of risk. We want to use this token as that curation
mechanism for this registry so that we can basically have an open, decentralized
way for one, any lab can come in and if they’re
registered, if they pass the testing, they can actually, they can contribute, they can actually make money as a testing lab for this registry. And so it doesn’t just have to be us, anyone
can do testing. And so I think it becomes a self selection
mechanism where the best companies, the best products
will actually rise to the top by just the factor of this kind of curation
this prediction system and the idea of, kind of, the best companies
kind of self select into the market. And Thanedar says his vision of a market solution
to consumer safety concerns isn’t limited to supplements. Labdoor has it’s sights set on another giant
market: marijuana. It’s a market that has basically come out
of nowhere and there’s a lot of testing to be done, there’s
a lot of inconsistencies. Here in California, now with recreational
legalization there’s actually mandatory testing and there’s
a whole system of labs so how does your vision fit into that? I think the biggest thing for that is convincing
people to test publicly. Don’t, like there’s a hundred things on the
shelf you don’t want to know the 10 things that
fail, you want to know the number one best thing, right? Like, if there was like a spotlight that like,
was like this was the number one best product and you could just take it off and walk out
the store that would be magical, right? And the kind of experience we’re trying to
make is like take those hundred products and like
put the spotlight on the one best product. And that’s, more than just saying hey it passed
government, like the minimum government regulations, it’s like the best product just buy this and
you’ll be happy. And that’s the thing that we’re really trying
to get to.

66 comments on “What’s Really in Your Fish Oil? Labdoor’s Market-Based Approach to Taming the Supplement Industry.

  1. If you regulate it and allow government to control the market, you WILL make it much, MUCH worse. Please research government regulated GMO's and glyphosate, the 2nd biggest cause of cancer, the first being sugar, which is regulated by……..oh yeah, the government.

  2. I think that the free market is definitely a good source of self-regulation. The ESRB is a good sign of this. However, I wouldn't say it is good in all cases. Essential oils are notorious for their "grading" schemes. Oils are often labeled as "certified clinical/therapeutic grade" even though there is no real third party certification.

  3. Why would anyone buy a supplement of any sort? If you have a normal diet, which basically everyone in the world has, then you don't need to supplement anything.

    Only truly deprived people need supplements and they aren't the ones buying these nonsense products.

  4. "The free market represents the social application of an objective theory of values. Since values are to be discovered by man’s mind, men must be free to discover them — to think, to study, to translate their knowledge into physical form, to offer their products for trade, to judge them, and to choose, be it material goods or ideas, a loaf of bread or a philosophical treatise. Since values are established contextually, every man must judge for himself, in the context of his own knowledge, goals, and interests. Since values are determined by the nature of reality, it is reality that serves as men’s ultimate arbiter: if a man’s judgment is right, the rewards are his; if it is wrong, he is his only victim." ~ Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 24

  5. Scam, blockchains dont work like that. They dont interface with the physical world. You can see hes just following bubbles trying to bait investors because he has bounced from the supplements scam to crypto now to weed. TSK TSK

  6. I liked it until the very end. If product B has 90% of the important ingredient that product A does at half the price, I'll buy B even though it isn't the best.

  7. Labdoor? Seriously? CBC used them and thanks to viewer backlash they got the products retested by other labs. Labdoor was wrong and CBC released another special apologizing to its viewers for using Labdoor data ( search "Supplements: What happened with our investigation (CBC Marketplace)" ).Labdoor is incompetent and likely trying to exaggerate for attention.

  8. Infowars don't lie they have the best products that actually have what they say , he is a fighter of truth and if this guy makes money off selling stuff his reason don't deny he could be bribed

  9. There is a big problem apparently with melatonin supplements. Two pistachios provide the same melatonin dose as advertised on the supplements so… solved that problem. Looky there, no gubmint required.

  10. Fun Fact: Neil’s father just ran for Michigan’s Governor claiming to be the most progressive candidate in the race.

  11. This is how you do it. Educate consumers to make their own choices, not crying to big brother every time you get a tummyache.

  12. Supplements Saved my health some did nothing through my supplement journey but the ones that did. Life changing.

    Helped my chronic heartburn, and Gout.

    In the end Amazon reviews were better than my doctors when it came to self medication. Also i'm most likely not going to die from a milk thistle side effect.

  13. Libertarian logic: “if enough people die from this unregulated pile of poisonous shit then word of mouth will put them out if business, it’s the magic of the market!!”

  14. This is good example of how prediction markets can be relied upon to generate (potentially very large) information sets (market data) that are, simply on the basis of structure, prevented from arising in government settings where the supply of regulators is, by comparison, limited in number to those allowed by that body's budget.

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