Choosing superior and avoiding inferior
With a comprehensive product line that’s grown to more than 1,400 natural products since 1968, a big part of NOW’s success over the years has been our passion for seeking out and securing the best quality raw materials. But we also go to great lengths to avoid ingredients that we feel don’t support our mission of empowering people to lead healthier lives.
Highly skilled purchasing agents make a difference
At NOW we understand that quality products are only possible with quality ingredients, and we’ve always made our choice of ingredients a primary focus of our quality efforts. When it comes to natural products, NOW purchasing agents are highly skilled at finding the best raw materials, and equally skilled at identifying ingredients that are of poor quality, or ingredients that are promoted as natural when in fact they’re adulterated with inferior, synthetic ingredients.
Quality suppliers = quality ingredients
We’ve developed and maintained strong, long-term relations with key suppliers that consistently supply premium quality raw materials. We know this because we work closely with our suppliers, and we randomly audit them to ensure that they’re meeting our lofty standards for natural ingredients – and yours.
Read on to discover more about the ingredients you won’t find in NOW products, and why.
Ingredients we don’t use
The following ingredients are not used in NOW® dietary supplements or sports nutrition products. This list is not exhaustive and is subject to change without notice. It is intended to give an overview of our selectivity when choosing the ingredients we use in our products.
Alcohols: Some synthetic alcohols are produced from petroleum, and many have questionable safety. We use natural grain alcohol (ethanol) in our liquid extracts.
Chlorinated and Brominated Compounds: Chlorinated compounds, even organic chlorinated compounds, aren’t natural; these compounds are toxic and can be very dangerous to humans. PCBs and dioxins are two examples of chlorinated compounds. Sucralose is another chlorinated compound. Brominated vegetable oil is often used to help emulsify oils, like citrus oils. However, it can also lead to unhealthy accumulation of bromine in the body. We refuse to formulate any of our products with chlorinated or brominated compounds.
Excipients: NOW® does not use common mass market excipients. These include excipients such as hydrogenated oil, talc, Crospovidone, and Butylated Hydroxytoluene. While these excipients increase manufacturing efficiency and cost less than natural excipients, products containing them can no longer claim to be natural, and may adversely affect health. We choose to use more natural excipients, which are also suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Heavy Metals: Almost all botanicals contain trace amounts of heavy metals, which are naturally found in both soil and water. Although low levels of heavy metals are not considered to be a health hazard, larger amounts are known to be toxic to humans. NOW® tests all appropriate products to ensure that heavy metal levels are within nationally and globally recognized safe limits.
Hydrogenated Fats and Trans Fats: Hydrogenation is a chemical process where unsaturated fats (such as vegetable oil) are chemically modified to make them solidify better at room temperature. Artificial trans fats are a particular form of these chemically modified fats. These synthetic fats are unhealthy, and are associated with higher risk factors for heart disease, strokes, and diabetes. NOW® does not use either hydrogenated or artificial trans fats in any of our products.
Irradiation: Irradiation is the exposure of an object or substance to radiation. In the food industry, irradiation is used to kill bacteria. However, there are side effects, since radiation can transform the natural components of herbs and botanicals into unnatural molecules. We perform thorough microbiological testing, as well as other sophisticated testing methods that can detect radiation signatures, and we reject any ingredients where gross exposure to radiation is detected.
Microbial Contamination: Many natural ingredients contain naturally occurring low levels of microbes. However, high microbial contamination, and the presence of pathogens and aflatoxins, aren’t natural and are potentially unsafe. Our in-house microbiology laboratory is staffed by trained professionals who perform comprehensive testing for the presence of microbial contamination.
Pesticide Residues: Pesticide screening is one of the many tests we perform on incoming raw materials; we’re able to detect even trace amounts of pesticides. Plant roots are tested because they are particularly susceptible to pesticide contamination. In certain natural products, fumigation and other treatments are required by law.
Other unacceptable ingredients
acesulfame-K (acesulfame potassium)
acetylated esters of mono- and diglycerides
benzoates in food
BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole)
BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene)
brominated vegetable oil (BVO)
calcium disodium EDTA
DATEM (Diacetyl tartaric and fatty acid esters of mono and diglycerides)
dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate (DSS)
disodium calcium EDTA
ethyl vanillin (synthetic)
FD & C colors
disodium guanylate [derivative of guanosine monophosphate (GMP)]
hexa-, hepta- and octa-esters of sucrose
high fructose corn syrup
IMP (disodium inosinate)
lactylated esters of mono- and diglycerides
lead soldered cans
microparticularized whey protein derived fat substitute
monosodium glutamate (MSG)
partially hydrogenated oil
sodium aluminum sulfate
solvent extracted oils, as standalone single-ingredient oils (except grapeseed oil)
sulfites (except in wines, meads and ciders)
TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone)