What’s Really in Your Supplements?

Last Update: May 24, 2024

Are you a supplements skeptic? We don’t blame you. They’re supposed to make you feel better and live healthier—but when it comes to regulating vitamins and supplements, the rules are all over the map.

Although the FDA is officially responsible for regulating supplement quality, according to a 2015 article published in the American Journal of Public Health, “supplements need not be evaluated for efficacy, and only limited data on safety are required for new supplement ingredients.” And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to supplement regulation issues.

This lack of regulation allows for the manufacturing and marketing of supplements that may not be effective, and some that may even cause harm to your health. The article goes on to explain that “dietary supplements may be adulterated with dangerous compounds, be contaminated, fail to contain the purported active ingredient, or contain unknown doses of the ingredients stated on the label.” A separate study of herbal supplements from 2013 found many contained contaminants and fillers that weren’t listed on the label, and that could potentially cause allergic reactions.

Our Goal: Curate a Collection of Supplements Members Can Trust

To remedy this lack of quality and transparency, Thrive Market set out to curate a selection of safe and effective supplements that our members can trust. To do this, our team scrupulously vets each of our supplement partners to ensure they share our commitment to traceable sourcing and rigorous testing for potency and purity. Only then do we stock the brand’s products on our digital shelves.

To further provide our members with superior quality supplements, we’ve developed our own exclusive line: wellmade by Thrive Market. By taking vitamin and supplement production into our own hands, we’re able to ethically source the highest-quality, sustainable ingredients from around the globe, including organic black elderberries from Austria and wild-caught, sustainably harvested menhaden fish from the Atlantic.

Whether we make or carry them, all the supplements sold on Thrive Market are tested for potency and purity. This means that the information you’re seeing on the label and on our website is accurate and representative of what’s inside the bottle. They’re also free of unnecessary ingredients, unlisted ingredients, and synthetic fillers.

A Deeper Dive Into Sourcing & Quality Standards

When it comes to the ingredients in the food you eat, we know you care deeply about the overall quality of those ingredients, where they come from, and how they are grown.

We believe in putting the same amount of thought and care into researching what’s in your supplements. That’s because the ingredients in supplements are directly tied to the product’s safety, effectiveness, and earth-friendliness.

Want to learn more about the specific ingredients used in the supplements featured on Read on to take a closer look at five popular supplements and the sustainably sourced, premium ingredients that go into them. As always, make sure to read the product labels to determine whether each product is right for your needs.

Elderberries from Austria

Covered in forests, orchards, and vineyards, the mountainous Styrian region of Austria provides the optimum altitude and mineral-rich soil to grow the Sambucus nigra, a shrub that bears black elderberry fruit. We partner with a co-op of organic family-owned farms in Styria to source the premium Haschberg variety of elderberries to use in our wellmade Organic Elderberry Syrup.

While many elderberry supplements are sweetened with cane sugar, the naturally tart flavor of our syrup is balanced by just a touch of coconut sugar, making it a great option for those following a paleo diet. This deliciously sweet-tart syrup provides antioxidant support and may help strengthen your immune system.

Turmeric from Indonesia & Nicaragua

The Indian system of holistic medicine known as Ayurveda has long valued turmeric as one of nature’s most powerful healers. Gaia Herbs combines three types of turmeric extract with black pepper to create its Turmeric Supreme Extra Strength capsules, which help to support a healthy inflammatory response. Like all of Gaia’s products, each batch of Turmeric Supreme is screened for pesticides and heavy metals.

Gaia’s Indonesian turmeric partner is a woman-owned and operated processing facility. The facility works with farmers who cultivate turmeric under a canopy of native hardwood trees using a sustainable agroforestry model. The Indonesian turmeric is cut by hand and dried in the sun on traditional drying patios. Gaia’s second partner, located in Nicaragua, diversifies their turmeric plantings with coffee to create a more bountiful and regenerative farming ecosystem.

Thrive Market Gaia Herbs turmeric root sourcing

Menhaden from the North Atlantic

Our wellmade by Thrive Market Fish Oil is made from wild-caught Atlantic menhaden fish, sustainably harvested from North Carolina to New Jersey. The oil is produced by a single North Atlantic fishery that works with boat captains and federal agencies to regulate the Atlantic menhaden populations and protect the species from overfishing. Our fishery partner uses technology to minimize bycatch, or the unintentional capture of marine species such as dolphins, turtles, and sea birds during fishing.

Each batch of wellmade by Thrive Market Fish Oil is molecularly distilled to remove impurities like mercury and PCBs (aka toxic industrial compounds that can build up in the fatty tissues of fish). From boat to bottle, our fish oil is consistently tested for freshness, potency, and purity. With every serving you get 1,370 milligrams of omega-3s in the natural triglyceride form that support brain, heart, and vision function. Bonus: We add natural lemon flavor so there’s no fishy aftertaste.

Hemp Extract from Colorado

Everyone—including you, your dog, and your grandma—likely enjoys the benefits of CBD. But do you know if the CBD products you’re using are safe and responsibly produced?

In 2012, seven brothers in Colorado started the hemp company Charlotte’s Web, which has since evolved into the industry’s most recognizable CBD brand. The Stanley brothers still oversee the planting, harvesting, and processing of the hemp plant on family farms across the US, including their own farm in Eastern Colorado. As of June 2019, 53 percent of the company’s total hemp acres planted (approximately 457 acres) were designated for USDA organic certification, with additional organic expansion planned in subsequent years.

Charlotte’s Web Sleep Gummies combine extract from these USA-grown hemp plants with melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep, to help you get a quality night’s rest. And there won’t be any unwelcome surprises with these gummies, considering they come with a Certificate of Analysis (CoA) from a third-party source that verifies exactly how much of each cannabinoid is included in the product.

Charlotte's Web Hemp Extract sourcing

DNA-Tested Probiotics

Many of you have turned to probiotics to improve your gut health, but it’s important to know that not all probiotics are created equal, and that some aren’t delivering the diverse supply of live organisms you might expect. As a consumer, it’s important to make sure that the probiotic strains (and CFUs) listed on the label match what’s actually in the product.

New Chapter’s probiotic supplements are clinically studied and DNA tested for identity and consistency. That means you get the exact same strains and amount of gut-soothing prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics every time you purchase a bottle. Because of this regularity in dosage, the good bacteria (aka probiotics) are more likely to grow and flourish in the gut.

All of New Chapter’s products are made from organic and non-GMO ingredients sustainably cultivated around the globe. The company sources its organic turmeric from the fields of India, wild-caught salmon from the waters of Alaska, and red marine algae from Iceland’s pristine coastline. And as a Certified B Corp, New Chapter uses its business resources to help solve social and environmental problems in the international communities it partners with.

To make sure you’re getting supplements that live up to their claims, always ask questions. Any trustworthy, reliable retailer—including Thrive Market—will be happy to provide you with information on the vitamins and supplements that they sell. Get in touch with one of our Thrive Market product specialists and ask away.

Disclaimer: Information and statements regarding products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Results vary person to person, and there is no guarantee of specific results. Thrive Market assumes no liability for inaccuracies or misstatements about products. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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