Over three years (2/21/2008 to 2/20/2011), I bought for $3838.82 of Custom Capsule products -- for my father, my mother, my sister, my grandmother, two friends, and myself. That's more than $1250/year. After my last order, however, a few inconsistencies in the descriptions of some ingredients drove me to email five questions.
It took me several emails and international phone calls to finally get some answers ... in June, so four months later. Two of those answers were to the point, another missed it completely, another contradicted the ingredient's description on the website, and the last one was that their providers were too secretive and wouldn't let them know (which I did find slightly worrying).
So I wasn't very much satisfied by the answers to three out of my five questions. Nate told me then that my questions took time and research to be answered (I'll copy them down below and let you judge) and that my issue was one of their priorities (... of course). Since then, no news, and no answer to my emails. Since June. After having sent my questions in February.
Here are my remaining questions:
- GREEN TEA EXTRACT (50% CATECHINS) => The Custom Capsule website states that their green tea extract has 50% catechins (i.e. about 25% EGCG). In an email, I was told it had 50% EGCG. The potency difference is big: simple to double. But when I asked which piece of information was correct, the one on the website or the one in the email, I was told that my questions took time and research to be answered. And that was the end of it.
- CAPSAICIN / CAPSAICIN (95% CAPSAICINOIDS) => That's the only question that may require a real looking into, even though this "looking into" should already have occurred without my probing. Custom Capsule sells two capsaicin ingredients with very different texture and pricing. Capsaicin is extracted from chili peppers: while there are different kinds of chili peppers, each with very different amounts of capsaicin, any pure capsaicin powder should be pretty much the same as another. Here, though, one has ten times the "fluffiness" (the capsule space it occupies) of the other. That's a huge difference, and one that shouldn't have gone unnoticed. Moreover, one capsaicin product is written "capsaicin (95% capsaicinoids)" -- which makes no sense at all, since capsaicin is a capsaiconoid. So a capsaiconoid product can have 95% capsaicin, but capsaicin can only be 100% capsaiconoid. Similarly, they sell a "curcumin (95% curcuminoids)" even though curcumin is a curcuminoid. So my guess is that they sell a powder that is 95% pure capsaicinoids (capsaicin and derivatives) and a powder that is 95% pure curcuminoids (curcumin and derivatives); but when it comes to stuff I put in my body, I'd rather not have to guess.
A few other supplements I was interested in would also benefit from being more clearly defined:
- SAW PALMETTO BERRIES => The dosage recommendation for their saw palmetto berry powder is misleading. The typical dose (i.e. the dose used in the scientific experiments) is 320 mg, yes, but of an 85-95% fatty acids extract. Custom Capsule sells a non-standardized extract (about 18% fatty acids, as was confirmed to me in an email). Of course, I'm not requesting an 85-95% extract, as I very well know it exists only as an oil. But I truly believe that Custom Capsule should remove the "Dosage Recommendations: Typical Dose 320mg" from their website, as it doesn't apply to the ingredient they're selling. It is a rather straightforward ethical issue. To be even clearer: I don't believe it is Custom Capsule's duty or responsibility to provide their customers with dosage recommendations at all; we can and should do our own research regarding what we put inside our bodies; but if they choose to give dosage recommendations, then those should be accurate for the ingredient they're selling, not for a different if related ingredient. Coffee isn't caffeine, yohimbe isn't yohimbine, and saw palmetto berry powder isn't an 85-95% fatty acids extract.
- BLACK TEA (PE 60%) => 60% of what? Catechins? EGCG?
- ASHWANGANDHA PE 2.5% => It should be ASHWAGANDHA, but more importantly: 2.5% of what? Withanaloids, I presume, but it isn't stated.
- FENUGREEK PE 50% => 50% of what? Furostanol saponins, I presume, but here again, it isn't stated.
- LICORICE EXTRACT 22% => 22% of what? Glycyrrhizin?
- LICORICE ROOT EXTRACT => What's the difference with the "LICORICE EXTRACT 22%" mentioned above?
- ASTRAGALUS EXTRACT => Is it standardized to 0.4% 4-hydroxy-3-methoxy isoflavone 7-sug?