LabDoor Launches: Scan a Barcode, Find Out What’s Really in Your Energy Drink
Last week LabDoor, a member of Rock Health’s fourth class of startups, launched a web and mobile app that provides free quality and safety ratings of dietary supplements and energy drinks. With this venture, LabDoor CEO Neil Thanedar aims to bring product reviews and ratings that incorporate real science to consumers hungry for information in this $36 billion market.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, dietary supplements are not technically unregulated by the U.S. government. Because the FDA categorizes them as foods, however, they are subject predominantly to guidelines regarding adulteration and misbranding and must not undergo the rigorous safety and efficacy testing required of drugs. The FDA can take action against a supplement only if it is proven to be unsafe.
So this makes the dietary supplement industry somewhat reminiscent of the Wild Wild West and results in a bevy of problems. Consumers have no idea what they’re really getting when they buy a bottle of St. John’s Wort or Valerian. Articles about contamination or variable amounts of active ingredient in supplements are ubiquitous in both the lay and academic press. Some supplements can really be harmful. In the wake of the Ephedra scare in 2003, JAMA called for dietary supplements to be regulated more like drugs. Today, energy drinks are sending increasing numbers of patients to the emergency room and even being linked to some deaths. Any potentially beneficial and safe supplements out there get lost in the shuffle with those made by charlatans making a quick buck or putting peoples’ lives at risk.
With LabDoor’s new offering, consumers are no longer on their own. LabDoor does its own bench research to reverse-engineer dietary supplements and find out what they really contain. It publishes free reports on its searchable website and app that incorporate data from scientific journals, the government, and its own lab results, all culminating in a LabDoor special-sauce rating and review of over 7,000 popular supplements, with more to come as the company grows. One tantalizing tidbit: Over 70% of supplements tested so far had false label claims.
Want to find out more about your favorite dietary supplements or energy drinks? Scan a barcode or search a name on LabDoor.