When we began research on this story in June 2015, we spoke with people on all sides of this issue and asked Canadian consumers what they think about vitamins and supplements.
We set out to answer two fundamental questions about supplements: Are you getting what you’re promised on the label? And do you need to take them?
We discovered that while Health Canada sets standards for supplements sold in Canada, it’s up to manufacturers to make sure their products comply. The results of product lab testing are not normally made available to the public. As a result, Canadian consumers often don’t have access to independent information to evaluate vitamins and supplements.
LabDoor is a for-profit company based in San Francisco, California, The company says it brings consumers more information on what’s in vitamins and supplements by making the results of independent testing public.
LabDoor's investors and partners include Rock Health, a San Francisco-based venture fund that invests in health-care research, and the Mayo Clinic. The company has been profiled in the New York Times here and here and also in Forbes.
LabDoor tests products and publishes the results on it website. The data is analyzed by LabDoor and translated into a grade for each product using an algorithm. Purity, ingredient content (label accuracy), nutrition content, freshness, and price have an impact on the ‘grade’ the product receives and how it ranks in comparison to its counterparts.
While LabDoor is a for-profit company, the company is primarily funded by the products sold through LabDoor’s website and by yearly subscriptions for ‘premium’ content.
ABOUT THE LAB
Marketplace selected products from Canadian shelves based on popularity, price, and recommendations from store clerks and pharmacists. Based on LabDoor’s recommendation, we sent the products to an independent, ISO 17025-certified, FDA-approved lab in Michigan. The methods used are government or industry standard methodologies. The lab also does testing for the supplement industry.