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Validating your Dietary Supplements for Heavy Metals, etc (Magnesium Chloride, Potassium Chloride, etc)

I’ve gotten tired of paying premium prices for things like magnesium chloride (MgCl), potassium chloride (KCl).

For example, a favored brand of mine for MgCl has been ReMag—great product but quite expensive. You are buying MgCl dissolved in water with ReMag. Ignore the “picometer” marketing silliness! Magnesium cations and chloride anions dissolved in water are, well, dissolved and therefore atomic in size.

A big problem with lots of supplements is the potential presence of heavy metals like lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), and cadmium (Cd). Many if not most vendors do not provide any lab analysis whatsoever, so you could be ingesting heavy metals unknowingly. Heavy metal contamination is a very common problem, hardly unusual.

To some extent you do have to trust the vendor to be honest with the COA (certificate of analysis), preferably from an independent test lab. But a vendor that provides nothing to validate the product at all and simply says “trust us”... is not really to be trusted.

ConsumerLab.com is a great source of testing info, but they do not provide the details of the lab analysis; only pass/fail.

For reference, the acceptable cutoff for lead in drinking water is 0.005mg/L = 5mcg/L, or 5000ng/L. Which IMO is way too high if it is “dangerous” at 5001 ng/L. But how much lead you get matters as a total; I for example might drink 1.5L/hour on a long bike ride. So “per liters” is a stupidly useless metric for purposes of health harm as it assumes some standard intake.

Food is affected too

You also have to be realistic: many if not most foods have some level of contamination (from the soil), and it can vary batch-to-batch.

Cacao is a great example where cadium levels can vary 20-fold or more from minimal to definitely a concern. And typically you have no way to know.

Avoid buying anything grown in China unless it is tested/certified every batch. China has vast tracts of land polluted with heavy metals by industrial activity. And if grown there, follow the money: it’s being sold because it is the cheapest way to procure it, vs here in the USA (or whatever your country is). That doesn’t mean it’s bad, but it should at least raise a concern.

Example

Recently I contacted several vendors asking for their data sheets.

See also: Revised EU lead levels in food.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/reg/2021/1323/oj

Nutricost

I wrote asking for the datasheet for their Nutricost Potassium Chloride Powder @AMAZON. It took a few days, but they delivered the data sheet.

Translating micrograms/serving to nanograms/serving (1000 * mcg), we get these numbers:

    Arsenic (As): 40 ng/serving cutoff 10000
Cadmium (Cd): 5 ng/serving cutoff 4100
       Lead (Pb): 61 ng/serving cutoff 500
  Mercury (Hg): 4 ng/serving cutoff 10000

These are extremely low contamination numbers, far lower than other products I’ve come across. In particular, the lead content at .061 mcg appears to be 33X lower than the 2 mch of the Heiltropfen Lab stuff below.

Lab Analysis for Nutricost Potassium Chloride Powder

Heiltropfen Lab LLP

I wrote asking Heiltropfen Lab LLP the datasheet for Heiltropfen Lab Magnesium Hexahydrate @AMAZON.

I received specifications quoting lead (Pb) content as 2ppm = 2000ppb (parts per billion) for the solid crystalline MgClr hexahydrate crystals. That’s 2 mcg (micrograms) per serving.

That amount is 322X higher than an alternative product.

The lead content of this product is unacceptably high at 4X the California limit of 0.5 mcg for pregnant/lactating women for just a single serving.

Specifications for Heiltropfen Lab Magnesium Chloride Hexahydrate
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