10 Ingredients to Avoid When Looking for Clean Dietary Supplements

Tue, Mar 09, 21

We all know that what we put in our body matters. We need to eat healthy. Only consume organic, ethical, fat-free, sugar-free superfoods.

But what does any of that really mean?

“Healthy” has become an opinion, and it’s starting to feel like anyone can put a label stating that a product is a healthy food even if it only provides one small benefit. These benefits do not always outweigh the detriments.

The terms raw, clean, heart-healthy, and all-natural are used to cover all manner of food issues. This is especially true of the term “clean”.

Did you know that there is no FDA or USDA definition of a clean label?

Consumers deserve more. Consumers deserve to know exactly what is in the food they eat and the supplements they take.

The International Center for Integrative Systems felt the same way. In 2014 they decided to do something about it. They created a standard for products claiming to use clean ingredients, and companies had to work to get that C.L.E.A.N. certification.

C.L.E.A.N. stands for: conscious, live, ethical, active, and nourishing.

Let’s look at the term “clean” as it pertains to dietary supplements. In order to be placed in this category, supplements must be safe to use, organic, bioavailable (something the body can actually absorb), and nutritious (as determined by ANDI: the aggregate nutrient density index).

There are some ingredients, and therefore some supplements, that will never fit into these categories. If your goal is clean living, then the following ingredients should be avoided at all costs:

1. GMOs

Genetically modified ingredients are more common than you may think—even in dietary supplements. For example, vitamin C (a.k.a. ascorbic acid) is often derived from GMO corn. It does not have to be labeled because the material is so refined that the genetically modified material is not able to be detected through testing.

However, the source is there, and it could result in some unappealing consequences.

You may be wondering: Why are GMOs so bad?

The idea of having a product that is essentially man made and designed to withstand herbicides (which means traces of the chemicals may end up inside the food) is not very appealing for many. It was designed to feed the masses and help farmers get the most out of their crops, but at what cost?

In animal trials of some product, GMOs have been shown to have a hand in issues like infertility, poor immunity, accelerated aging, and more. Conveniently, there have been no studies done with humans.

You have a say in the matter. Avoid this issue and let companies know what you think of genetically modified ingredients by choosing products that are certified GMO-free.

2. Animal Byproducts

It should be easy to avoid animal products and byproducts in supplements, but this simply isn’t the case. Companies will not come out and say that their product is non-vegan. You have to know what to look for.

Common ingredients like gelatin, lanolin, and carmine all come from animals.

It is true that you can commit to clean living without being vegan.

However, given the choice between a product that relies on animal products and byproducts and one that does not, most clean-eaters would choose the one that does not. No one wants a side of sheep’s wool with their vitamin D3.

3. Parabens

If you are interested in the health and beauty industry, you’ve probably heard the terms “parabens” and “paraben free” frequently. But what is a paraben?

Parabens are preservatives used in makeup and supplements. A popular choice of paraben is methylparaben. Health-conscious individuals are concerned about this additive because most versions of this preservative are synthetic.

There has also been some evidence to suggest that methylparaben could cause an increased chance of skin and allergic reactions.

4. Allergens

Allergens such as soy, nuts, dairy, and gluten can be found in many dietary supplements. It is important to look at the ingredients list and make sure that your daily dose of iron, calcium, fish oil, etc. doesn’t contain any surprises that may cause discomfort or anaphylaxis.

Your best bet is to look for a product that has been tested as allergen-free.

5. Glyphosate

Glyphosate is also known by its brand name as the Monsanto pesticide, Roundup. Genetically-modified plants are designed to be resistant to glyphosate, which may sound like a good thing. Wouldn’t it be great to spray a field or garden and only get rid of the weeds?

But where do the chemicals go? The answer is into the ground, into the water, and into the plants we consume.

Considering up to 75% of the processed food we see on store shelves comes from genetically engineered material, there is a good chance some supplements have been affected by pesticides. It means that the supplements that are supposed to help keep you healthy may actually contain traces of dangerous chemicals.

Look for a product that is certified glyphosate-free.

6. Synthetics

Organic supplements are the way to go (we think). As we stated before, supplements are often created using genetically modified ingredients. We’ve talked about what this adds to the supplement, but what does it take away from the supplement?

For example, synthetic vitamin C (made from GMO corn) is missing some important helpers that occur in the natural world, like bioflavonoids.

Bioflavonoids help consumers get the most out of their vitamin C. It is important for the absorption of vitamin C for use in the body. These are commonly found in citrus fruits and in all-natural dietary supplements, but they’re missing from the synthetic versions.

7. Dyes

Food dyes are a controversial subject. The FDA has approved many artificial dyes for human consumption, but there has been evidence that certain food dye can affect health and behavior. This is particularly apparent in studies involving hyperactivity in children. The FDA themselves, in an analysis of over 35 studies, found that some kids with ADHD could be particularly sensitive to dyes.

Considering that food dye serves no purpose other than to make a supplement look more appealing, it doesn’t seem worth the risk. Since clean eating requires ingredients to be nutritious, this ingredient just doesn’t fit in.

We encourage consumers to check the label, as the use of food dye must be disclosed.

8. Fillers

A popular filler is dicalcium phosphate. This is used to fill out capsulated supplements, but the substance doesn’t provide any health benefits. This type of calcium is not well-absorbed by the body, it is not all-natural, and its main use is to make the supplement more aesthetically pleasing.

Again, when the goal is to only ingest ingredients our bodies can use, these fillers just don’t make the cut.

9. Magnesium Stearate

This ingredient is extremely beneficial… to supplement manufacturers. It is not very helpful to consumers. This additive is used to keep the manufacturing process flowing by ensuring the product doesn’t clog the machines.

However, no long-term studies have been performed on the effects of this additive in humans, and some believe it may have a negative effect on cells and the immune system.

10. Titanium Dioxide

This ingredient is used to make supplements look pure by enhancing the whiteness of the product. It is unnecessary and has no impact on the actual effectiveness of a supplement, so why is it there?

Most importantly, it is considered to be a possible carcinogen in Europe and Canada.

We believe it’s better to err on the side of caution with this one.

Making the Healthiest Choice

When choosing a dietary supplement, always look for one that contains clean ingredients. If you’re reading this, you care about your health, and you are likely familiar with nutrition labels. The list of ingredients is divided into two parts: active ingredients and other ingredients.

“Other ingredients” is where you’ll find many of these unnecessary additives mentioned.

It is best to find a supplement with clean ingredients. If you can find one that has been C.L.E.A.N. certified by ICIS that’s even better. With the federal government yet to come up with a satisfactory definition of “clean” someone needed to devise a system, and we are glad they did.

You can look for other reassurances, as well, such as a product that is certified vegan, GMO, allergen, glyphosate, and paraben-free.

So-B contains three ingredients: lysine, camu camu, and zinc citrate. So-B is designed to support lip health as well as overall health, and our company is proud to be C.L.E.A.N. certified. We have also been the recipient of numerous other certifications and test results that prove we put customers first.

Lysine is an amino acid required by the human body that must be obtained from the diet. Camu camu is an Amazonian fruit known for its high vitamin C content.

Zinc citrate is the second-most abundant trace mineral in the human body.

Designing a supplement without these harmful or potentially-harmful additives and synthetics was important to our founder, who uses the product every day.

He recognized that finding a clean supplement would be important to his customers, as well.

If you’d like to learn more about our clean (really!) product and how it can help you, please visit our shop page.

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