Gathered Reviews of Suppliers and Sources
Disclaimer: Most of this data is sourced from personal experience, Facebook, or Reddit forums. Be wise and don't buy from some "rando".
Absorb Health (Absorb Your Health)
Absorb Health does not seem to be completely trustworthy. They don't seem to have independent (non-manufacturer) Certificates of Analysis for the products they're selling, which is particularly important when you're selling products that were manufactured in China.
Absorb Health is also marketing their "Uridine" product as if it were uridine monophosphate, suggesting there's evidence that it improves cognitive function when supplemented. Which makes it look like they either don't know what they're doing or they're intentionally conflating uridine with uridine monophosphate.
AwakeBrain.com appears to be reliable. They seem to ship the branded pharmaceutical version of many cognitive enhancers as shown on the website.
Bioscience Nutra / Cerebral Health
Bioscience Nutra / Cerebral Health has severe quality control issues. This company also goes by the name Cerebral Health.
** Bioscience Nutraceuticals Review / Cerebral Health Review**
Bioscience Nutraceuticals / Cerebral Health is highly unreliable and potentially dangerous. Bioscience Nutraceuticals / Cerebral Health has repeatedly sold inauthentic products, some of which have sent redditors to the hospital and caused long-term neurological damage. Do NOT risk your health.
Bioscience Nutraceuticals / Cerebral Health may also be selling under the name Johnson Laboratories on ebay. R
From public records it appears Nootrabiolabs and Cerebral Health were connected at one point, it's unclear whether they're still connected. R Their story appears to be that they were in a relationship but went there separate ways 3 years ago.
They have been cited by the FDA for record keeping and procedural issues. R
Blue Brain Boost is not considered reliable at this time. They have been caught astroturfing on longecity and /r/nootropics and they have a history of poor quality control. The known quality control lapses include: sending customers inauthentic nicotinamide riboside and sending customers tianeptine with residue solvents still in the powder.
Bulk Nutrients (Australia)
They ship what they sell, but worryingly they have admitted to having never tested any of their products in over 1 year of doing business. R
I tried Semax (all versions), P21, orexin, IDRA, and Selank from them. I had trouble with the Semax bottle's leaking and the owner, Paul, added $50 credit to my account. Their products seem legit to me.
Cognitive Nutrition has been removed from the reliable supplier list for dishonest marketing on this forum. (Fake testimonials, advertising without stating their affiliation). There also have been reports of threatening customers who try to inquire about the quality of their products.
The consensus is generally not. Many supply chain issues, ignored emails from customers and possible quality control issues. See posts about elevated labs to make up your own mind.
As of January 13th 2013, they still appear to be having quality control issues
As of February 18th 2013, Elevated is still considered unreliable, one case of an order being delayed 4-5 months. R
As of May 2015, Elevated Labs appears to have closed down, though their twitter page is still up.
They have posted fake reviews on reddit and lied about their background to moderators. Currently they do not have any independent testing.
They have been involved in some dishonest marketing practices, so it's not entirely clear.
I've tried MK-677, BH4, glutathione, and ibudilast from them. They seem legit.
Taken from Reddit: (MYASD italics, labdoor not italics)
Just a reminder, we tested the #1 rated Panax ginseng from Labdoor, and it was completely fake. It was not even Panax ginseng, and it was cut with corn starch. It seemed to be American ginseng that was cut down with starch, so if you just tested for the presence of ginsenosides, then you would see some. Even so, Labdoor claimed it contained 12% ginsenosides, when it actually only contained 2%, and they were not the types of ginsenosides you would find in Panax ginseng. I've inquired about their testing methods for other compounds as well, like Magnesium L-threonate, and they were not even using proper methods for the claims they were making. Furthermore, they charge companies to test their products, and use affiliate links on all the pages. They seem to be an elaborate affiliate marketing site masquerading as an independent testing company.
We've answered these questions already. If you have more questions about our methods, feel free to ask them here, or PM/email (firstname.lastname@example.org) me directly.
We provided our ginseng data four months ago. /u/datagram asked you for the lot number or other data on your 2% claim. We never saw your data - please link/share here.
We saw the article you shared on ICP testing for Mg. We'll run both ICP and titration on Mg products in our next testing batch and publish both sets of data.
We've repeatedly explained our business model (like here), so I won't rehash that now.
We strive for 100% data accuracy in a world where that is near impossible to achieve. As we always say, the solution is more data. If you have more data about one of these products, please share it publicly.
For everyone's information - we're building our own lab now, and will start testing out of it in ~6 months. This lets us test faster, cheaper, more frequently, and more transparently. It's hard to get external labs to share methods privately, let alone on a forum like Reddit. We'll let you ask the chemists questions directly. Keep sending us ideas for better methods, and we'll start adding the best ones to our upcoming testing batches.
I know folks want a lot more out of us. We're sprinting there as fast as possible. Stay tuned.
Do you actually have the raw data showing that ginsenoside content? I see you typed the numbers in a comment, but do not see any actual raw data on it.
The batch we tested was GI20150312.
Here is the iodine starch test with the NuSci product on the left, and legitimate Panax ginseng on the right. The dark purple color shows the NuSci product is FULL of starch. You can run the same iodine test on your sample. I am sure the results are going to surprise you.
It's literally fake Panax ginseng, and is listed as your #1 value. That's crazy for a rating site like yours. I mean a small discrepancy here or there is one thing, but a completely fake product being named a #1 value? It's impossible to sell real Panax ginseng for the price they are. However, if you take American ginseng and cut it down with corn starch, then you can actually charge the prices they are.
I am glad you are changing your testing methods for magnesium, but shouldn't you have researched that before you rated them? People turn to sites like yours as informed sources relying on verifiable facts. If you are not using proper analytical methods in your rating systems, then what good are your rating systems? You have Bulk Supplements listed at the top of most of your ratings, but they do no third party analysis of their products stateside, and there are even multiple posts right now about them selling L-theanine with paint smell left in it; indicating left over residual solvents. I get that you can only make ratings on the batches you test, but the methods of those tests are crucial, and I really think you should have an aspect of your ratings for the testing procedures that a company has in place. Otherwise people will just take that rating at face value, and not look into how well the company tests EVERY batch that comes through their doors.
I am not against your business model by any means. I think a site that does rankings, that uses affiliate links alone, can work. I would rather it be completely independent, and use donations or another more creative funding system, but affiliate links can work. However, you MUST do things properly from day one. You can't just wing testing, provide some ratings, then fix your testing methodology down the line. Your rating system has to be based in verifiable scientific fact from the get-go, or your ratings mean nothing. Are you going to take down your magnesium and ginseng ratings till you redo them? Are you just going to let customers believe those ratings have any meaning? I can almost guarantee you people have bought the fake NuSci product using your affiliate links, because you rated them the number one value. So you very likely have influenced people in buying fake products. That's not good for a rating/testing site. Fake/impure products, and the current state of the supplement industry, really pisses me off; which is why I am so direct here regarding these things. It's bad for people's safety, and undermines the trust in the supplement industry as a whole. You get where I am coming from, right? I wanted to like what you are doing, but when I saw NuSci listed as your #1 value, when I knew it was fake, it just really set me off.
Understood. Love the passion. We hate fake products too - that's a big reason why we're here.
Thanks for the NuSci data. We'll start a challenge for this product now. It looks like we tested different batches of this product; your sample is newer. Labdoor will test two additional NuSci samples in this challenge process, one new sample and one retained sample, and publish both sets of data. We're also working to get the original CoA from our external lab. We'll also add identity testing to test the "Panax" source claim. We only analyzed the active ingredient claim (total ginsenosides) in our first analysis.
This reminds me a lot of protein spiking. In 2013, we used the standard Kjeldahl method to test protein supplements. In 2014, after getting a few messages worried about protein spiking, we analyzed every protein supplement via HPLC (amino acid profiling) and Kjeldahl. We found 3 products with major protein spiking, and 7 others with minor spikes (out of 78 total products).
HPLC is over 10x more expensive per sample vs. Kjeldahl. Running it on all 78 protein supplements was extremely expensive, and it cost us the ability to test new products for months. Also, practically speaking, the vast majority of the HPLC tests simply confirmed the Kjeldahl analysis.
We want to stop having to make these kinds of tradeoffs, which is why we're building our own lab where we'll be able to precisely control methods and test (and re-test) products faster. Until then, if anyone has significant evidence about one of the products on our site, send it to us and we'll run a challenge process for that product too.
RE: Magnesium — we're not changing our methods yet. We are going to run both methods together in the next testing batch, just like we did in our second protein analysis.
There's a bigger issue here — yes, titrations are more precise for "analyzing a single, chemically pure compound," but most magnesium supplements contain multiple minerals, preservatives, and/or additives in addition to one or more magnesium compounds. It's not clear titrations would work better for every product.
And how much more precise? "Using classic EDTA titrations... one would expect to consistently achieve Mg assays in the 20.6 – 20.8% range... However, if ICP analysis is employed... one could reliably only expect Mg assays in the 19.7 – 21.7% range."
We'll switch methods if we can get both precision and accuracy from the new method. The solution, like always, is more testing. In this industry, very few methods are "standard", and the ones that are, like Kjeldahl, can be deceived. We'll have to constantly search for new methods, and develop new methods when none are publicly available.
This is a never-ending process. Consumer Reports was founded over 70 years ago and they still update methods and issue corrections.
What I can promise you is that we stress over every data point and constantly strive to get better data. Also, and probably more importantly, when we make mistakes, and we will make mistakes, we promise to be honest and transparent with our work and openly listen to feedback from everyone.
I am happy you are being open about things, and are willing to make changes. I just know how much people take things on face value. So rigorously validating methods before rating things is a must. 99% of consumers are not going to question your ratings. They assume things are scientifically validated. That really puts the onus on you guys to live up to that responsibility. People have to trust your ratings mean something. Trying to win back that trust after losing it is a lot harder than delaying things to ensure you don't lose it in the first place.
Trust me, I know just how expensive, difficult, and time consuming some of this testing can be. Sometimes it costs tens of thousands of dollars to validate just a single testing method for a single compound. It can be insane. We have countless products held back right now because I cannot say without a doubt that our methods are valid, or because the methods we have are not working with the specific analytical equipment we have. I've actually had both magnesium L-threonate and magnesium glycinate held back for almost a year because of the testing method issues. I'd rather not sell it than sell an impure or non-fully-chelated product.
This is also why I specifically mentioned magnesium testing, and why I get frustrated when companies I know are doing zero 3rd party testing are getting high reviews on your site. One could simply mix magnesium oxide with glycine, while not fully chelating it, and ICP would show the same as if it were chelated magnesium glycinate; since it's just measuring the amount of magnesium in the sample. It would also make it much cheaper to produce, which is a question often raised with certain Bulk Supplements products. Some of them just cannot be done properly for the prices they charge. So one questions exactly how they are doing it. Pure fully chelated magnesium glycinate will have about 14% magnesium by weight, with 86% being glycine. A lot of companies even buffer in extra magnesium oxide with pure magnesium glycinate, making it cheaper by weight. ICP is not going to be able to tell the difference between fully chelated products, buffered products, and plain mixed products. This is the crux of the issue for me. People buying magnesium glycinate expect they are actually getting a fully chelated product. However, if nobody is properly testing for that, and are merely testing for the amount of magnesium itself, it leaves a lot of room to cut corners and have products that are nowhere near the bioavailability that people expect. These are the types of things that NEED to be in a rating system like yours. You need to be testing these things to death, with validated and accurate methods.
On the same token, you need to be testing for identity on the natural products you rate. If you are rating Panax ginseng, you need to run HP-TLC to ensure the proper species is used. Panax ginseng is often mislabeled American ginseng, since that's cheaper. Rhodiola rosea is very often actually Rhodiola crenulata, or adulterated with it. All the Chinese kanna (Sceletium tortuosum) on the market currently is actually a plant from a completely different genus, Mesembryanthemum. We have found so many fake things, it's absolutely insane! You also have to consider the plant part used for the extract, or the extraction methods used. All of these things play a MASSIVE role in the effectiveness of the specific natural extract. If you are not testing for these things, and rating products based off limited methods, then things like the NuSci snafu happen.
Identity is just as crucial as purity or heavy metals content in natural plant extracts. Yes it's time consuming and expensive. However, it's crucial to be able to actually give useful ratings to products. People are going to see your rating, and believe it to be absolute truth. You have to know that. So it's your responsibility to live up to that expectation, and ensure consumers are not being taken advantage of by vendors. The market NEEDS someone like that. If not you, somebody needs to step up. It seems by your tone that you are willing to. I implore that you have some hard discussions with your team about your testing methodology, and perhaps push off certain ratings till you are sure your methods are going to be accurate enough to ensure the exact identity and purity of the specific product you rate. I want you to be the company the space needs, because nobody else is even trying at the moment, and it's going to be a long time before I have the bandwidth to attempt it myself. I am happy that you are willing to be open and honest, but the community needs you to be more than that. We need you to be accurate and verifiable as well. If you can't 100% guarantee your methods are going to verify a product to the level needed, just hold back on rating till you can. If more companies just held back on things till they could be absolutely certain, we would not even need things like this in the first place. The industry as a whole probably never will, so we need companies like you to hold themselves to a higher standard.
And taken from LabDoor on Reddit again:
Yes, we need to retest products, and should have a big announcement about our testing roadmap in the next month or two. The goal starting in 2017 is to retest all popular products at least once every year.
Spirulina rankings are an interesting idea. We're going to keep testing as many supplements as possible, one category at a time. I just added Spirulina as an upcoming ranking here: https://labdoor.com/rankings
The ingredient section of our site needs a massive renovation. I'm not sure we'll get to those pages immediately, but definitely expect some movement there this year. We want to find more ways to help people research supplements. Thanks for the feedback and support.
They are being very transparent. Maybe they will improve and keep consistent in the future.
Liftmode definitely has a good reputation for fulfilling orders in a timely manner. There is however some evidence that their quality control may be less than optimal. Their phenylpiracetam has been noted to change colors from batch to batch, which could be a cause for concern. Liftmode claims to test their products in the US, but so far there's no documentation posted to substantiate the claim.
LimitlessLifeNootropics doesn't have a good reputation yet. They seem to have spammed several forums and may have engaged in astroturfing. Reddit admins seem to have banned his account. It's unclear whether Limitless Life Nootropics does any sort of testing on their products and whether they have a sterile packaging environment, given that the owner was featured in "Dark Net S01 E06" saying he sold products out of his kitchen.
Nootrabiolabs / Johnson Laboratories / Smart On Nootropics
Nootrabiolabs has sent out inauthentic products, and there have been multiple reports of people receiving baking powder instead of the nootropic they purchased. We don't have any reason to think they're running an honest safety conscious business.
There are some good signs to suggest Nootrico is a good vendor. They seem to have done proactive testing on some of their products. As with Absorb Health, people are typically referred to Nootrico via questionable sales websites that may give people false expectations.
Someone on Facebook said they had a clean source of NSI-189. So here was my inquiry about the "clean" source. (my text is in italics)
hey where is a good nsi source?
Josh accepted your request.
Nootropicsource.com/anything ... When you hit the error message click where it says ns research lemme know when you get prompted for password
ok whats the pass?
do you have a coa?
this here says it't not a reliable source https://www.reddit.com/r/nootropics/wiki/faq#wiki_is_nootropicsource_a_reliable_supplier.3F
That's because of ceretropic. I use them all the time and so do many others. Ceretropic tested their purity and it came back fine but their so fuxking prissy about other vendors they started to create this fabrication. I have used then for the past year no issues and I havebmet with them personally ... I know their testing measures first hand. Most of our group members use them as well. I saw that too at first and was worried but after giving them a chance they proved me different. Using their nsi phosphate right now and it has changed my life
I feel pleasure in life and happiness. I can share emotions with my girl. All things I cannot fake
Or mark off as placebo
Plus I use their etizolam everyday and that stuff is fire
That's good it worked for you
Are you affiliated with nootropicsouce?
I'm happy, using their NA Semax Amidate as well. And no, I'm trying to work something out for them because after the ceretroojc incident I vouched for them. Our group vetted them and they gave us a discount link and coupon code and I asked for an extra deal for other members like an extra 5% so in case the link gets around at least the 15% will be for our members only. Seth Heiner the admin of the big nootropic group ordered with Me the other day. Right now I only use Nootropicsource, new mind and nootroicsdepot
Obviously this was a marketing scam.
He was also the moderator of the facebook forum.
They have no established reputation. They have negative and positive reviews online. However, the positive reviews are suspect, since they've been caught posting fake reviews.
I'd stay far away from NootropicSource.
New Star Nootropics
New Star Nootropics seems to be a reliable supplier with a high degree of customer satisfaction. They were an early adopter of 3rd party testing. [Threads on New Star Nootropics]
Peak Nootropics does deliver products. PeakNootropics has done 3rd party tests on most of their products in the past. New shipments are inspected by sight and smell and a lot of emphasis is put on their relationship with their supplier. Though PeakNootropics has shown interest in using more rigorous tests on their batches.
PeakNootropics has also been known to spam forums with shill accounts. This spam has tapered off and is no longer a significant issue.
Formerly Health Supplement Wholesalers (HSW) / Your Brain and Body Supplements / Build Own Blend Supplements (BYOB) / Supplement Nexus / NootropicNexus / Supplements4les
PowderCity (formerly Health Supplement Wholesalers) seems to be a reliable supplier. They have many happy customers and have periodically tested their products to maintain good quality control. In the past they did use some dishonest marketing practices, this doesn't appear to be a big issue anymore.
Smart Drugs for Thought
Smart Drugs for Thought a.k.a. "Smart Nutrition for Life" LLC has a long history of deceptive advertising. They periodically create sock-puppet accounts to praise their own business, here and elsewhere. Users have complained that their capsules filling isn't accurate, with some capsules being entirely empty.
SmartPowders is a company with a well-established name. They have done third party tests on some products in the past, but there are many products without CoAs posted. Their continued quality control has been brought into question by one redditor. In 2010 Smart Powders did run into problems with the FDA because they marketed piracetam as a dietary supplement, which is why they no longer carry piracetam.
There have been some recent reports of missing orders and non-responsive customer service, bringing their reliability into question.
TeamLTR / TrueLIFE Research
They make unverifiable claims about being a group of devoted scientists. They make unverifiable claims about doing animal testing. They do not do 3rd party purity testing. They do not provide information on what is in some of their products. They appear to have engaged in astroturfing on this subreddit. Taken together there's good cause for concern with "TrueLife Research", it's recommended to use some sort of chemical verification if you decide to buy something from them.
Note: some test results seem to show many of LTRs products are legitimate, but others seem to be just filler material, despite high expense and wild claims regarding the treatment of serious disorders.
tht.co (Transhuman Technologies)
They used to reliably ship their products. For a while in 2015 they closed up shop, but they reopened in July of 2015. As of the reopening the verdict is still out about product quality and reliability. Discussion
Additionally there are some concerns about the safety of some items they carry. For example, at least one product (NPS) has research indicating it activates pathways important in cancer development, but tht makes no mention of this. Discussion
Note: the clone site transhumantechnologies.com may not be associated with tht.co, check with tht.co before using it.
This list is still growing, as new labs, sources, reviews, etc emerge.