Ask Gerda: How do you rate nutritional supplements and wellness products?


woman with dropper bottle

Gerda Andemann

Gerda Andemann, our Senior Director of Science and Research, has a BA in Nutrition from UC Berkeley, a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from MIT, and a passion for picking cherries from our health store. She spends much of her time interpreting research – both established and emerging. You’ll find some of her deep dives into health conditions in our growing library of articles called goop PhD. You can send your own questions to Gerda at [email protected]

Dear goop, I am a little wary about buying supplements and other health products because I don’t know how to know if they are well made. What should I know, and how do you rate the products in goop? – Madison

Hi Madison. You can look for some red flags, I’ll explain that in a bit, but it’s not easy to check out wellness products.

I have a long history with supplements and looking at wellness claims, but even for me, it can be a difficult and lengthy process to determine if a product is likely to be effective and safe. When I was a kid, my dad sold Nutrilite, one of the first “natural” brands of nutritional supplements. Then when I was a college student studying nutrition, I learned to beware of supplementation. (At this point, my parents accused me of being brainwashed by the establishment.) I’ve since come to the conclusion that supplements can be life-changing, but they must be chosen carefully.

For a while after college, I worked as a laboratory scientist. And in my second career, I was a nutrition educator. My clients had a lot of questions about supplements, and they wanted me to recommend certain products. Determining the amounts of nutrients was simple, but evaluating brands was not.

Before coming to goop, in 2018, I spent seven years in the nutritional supplement industry, researching and developing products. This inside information helped a lot. Contrary to what you may have heard, Nutritional supplements And the wellness devices Regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. However, the FDA does not have the resources to ensure that all manufacturers follow the regulations. Some are not.

If there is an advertisement or label that says a product is effective or organic, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) require evidence to support the claim. For example, consumer products labeled “organic” must be USDA certified, which does not allow the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. If a product is said to affect the body, there needs to be scientific research to support the claim. Unfortunately, products regularly appear on the market that are promoted with unfounded claims. Regulators may not take action for years, if at all. At goop, we don’t claim supplements are effective, organic, or anything else unless we have proof.

The scientists on our wellness team make sure that claims about the brand-name and third-party supplements we sell are backed by scientific research or, in some cases, ancient medical traditions. Goop’s Director of Science and Research Jennifer Kovacs Nolan, Ph.D., spends most of her workday researching research. To give you an idea of ​​her line of reasoning, I asked her about a few of the products she helped rate from different categories: “The products we carry from Wooden Spoon Herbs are carefully formulated with traditionally used botanicals and are certified organic,” he explains. “The Peppermint Sugar Control 14-Day Sugar Reset from Sweetkick is powered by Clinical study on the product as well as data on the main ingredient, gymnemic acid.”

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  2. Sweet Cake 14 Days to Reset Sugar

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  3. vFit Intimate Wellness Solution

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The vFit device is another good example. It uses heat, red light, and vibration to stimulate blood flow and promote pelvic floor health. We say this because Clinical study Shown benefits for bladder health and sexual function. The brand has worked with the FDA to vFit class as a health device.

Health product evaluation: claims

  1. Do the allegations sound too good to be true?

  2. Does the product claim to treat cancer or cause sudden weight loss?

  3. Has the company proven that they don’t care about adhering to FDA guidelines and that they don’t care to mislead you?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then this is a red flag.

If the claims sound good, the next thing to look at is the ingredient list. Are there chemicals you don’t know about? There is a good chance that it will be Environmental Working Group He has information about their safety. And as part of our goop screening process, we take care of that for you. We screen for things like endocrine disruptors, like phthalates, parabens, and other potentially harmful ingredients. We also screen for artificial colours, flavors and sweeteners.

Health Products Rating: Ingredients

  1. See if you recognize the names of the ingredients. (Note: some chemicals are completely safe, so the uncommon name isn’t necessarily cause for concern, but perhaps just a simple investigation.)

  2. Products may contain compounds associated with potentially harmful effects on health or the environment. EWG It is one of the sources you can check for information about ingredients.

goop scans all products for a long and ever-evolving list of unwanted ingredients.

The evaluation process becomes more complicated when it comes time to determine whether a product contains the active ingredients listed on the label and does not contain harmful contaminants. If manufactured using current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) As defined by the FDA, it should be fine. The supplements we make and the supplements we sell from other brands are manufactured in facilities that use CGMP. Many go to great lengths and seek CGMP certification by an external auditor, including, for example, Gaia, and the manufacturing facility used by The Nue Co.

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  2. Company Nue Co VITAMIN D SPRAY

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  3. Gaia Herbs Daily Support for Adrenal Health

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However, compatibility with CGMP requires extensive expensive testing to check for the presence of active ingredients and the absence of heavy metals and harmful microbes. It may take years for the Food and Drug Administration to catch up with non-compliant manufacturers. “We screen test results for heavy metals — lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic — and bacterial contamination to make sure the products are safe,” Kovacs-Nolan says.

Health product evaluation: quality control

  1. The focus of quality control is on determining whether a product contains the required ingredients and whether it contains harmful contaminants.

  2. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires CGMP to be used when manufacturing dietary supplements. CGMP requires testing for identity (is this ingredient what the manufacturer says?), purity (is this ingredient as strong as it’s supposed to be?), and contamination (is this ingredient free of adulterants, naturally occurring or otherwise?), among others. other parameters.

  3. A manufacturer’s implementation of CGMP can be validated by certification from an independent auditor, such as NSF or USP.

An important part of CGMP is clearly labeling when an allergen such as peanuts is present. All five goop vitamin protocols are made without common allergens such as wheat, soy, eggs, dairy, nuts and peanuts. and they
gluten free.

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This article is for informational purposes only. It is not and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. To the extent this article presents the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the opinions expressed are those of the said expert and do not necessarily represent those of goop.

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