Essential Ingredients

How Ritual Defines High-Quality Ingredients

7 min read

We’re committed to formulating high-quality multivitamins with nutrients in absorbable forms. But you might be wondering: What exactly does that mean? How does Ritual define quality? What are the processes used to find them?

Here to answer a few commonly asked questions is our founding scientist and Research & Technical Fellow, Luke Bucci, PhD, CCN, CNS.

How We Define High Quality Ingredients

Let’s start by getting the lay of the land. What are the key practices that mark a good supplier?

Most supplement companies buy their ingredients from suppliers around the world and then mix them together into products. That means the suppliers are largely responsible for a safe, high-quality product. The primary minimum requirements for a quality ingredient are identity, purity, potency and safety: the ingredient has to be what it says it is, in the purity it says it is, in a useable form that complies with regulations for microbial and heavy metal regulations and guidelines.

Those are key governmental agencies’ minimum requirements for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for ingredients. But ideal suppliers are those that deliver documentation that meets the requirements you want, with a history of honesty, integrity and fulfillment.

You’ve been in the industry for a long time. How has your approach to sourcing ingredients changed, between other supplement companies where you’ve worked previously and now?

For Ritual’s products, we were able to work around constraints that I had come up against in the past, so I could focus on finding branded ingredients that were exactly what we wanted—in turn, helping to define Ritual's rigorous standards. Our stringent requirements narrowed the field to a select few suppliers that shared our approach and values—making for beautiful, functional partnerships.

How does Ritual define quality ingredients? If you could describe the Ritual stamp-of-approval, what would it be?

Ritual has stringent requirements, and we execute these in a number of ways.

Our ingredients have transparency. We always ask our suppliers for flowcharts on exactly how their product was made, and we always make sure our suppliers have technical personnel available to answer questions and provide the information we request.

We include molecular forms of nutrients that are found in our cells and healthy foods. The B vitamin Folate is an excellent example. You’ll often see Folic Acid (a synthetic form) in supplements instead of methyltetrahydrofolate (an active form of folate). This can be problematic, as up to one-third of women are not able to efficiently utilize Folic Acid due to a genetic variation. Ritual doesn’t use Folic Acid; instead, we chose to use the cell identical form, 6S-5-Methyltetrahydrofolate (MTHF).*

We always use vegan-friendly, non-animal ingredients. We avoid ingredients derived from genetically engineered (GMO) plants and animals.

Ritual products are manufactured in accordance with the FDA's current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs). We also use 3rd party labs help us ensure the quality and safety of our products.*

We prefer branded ingredients because of the attention to detail that’s been given to them. This means more agreements and sometimes licensing. And we need to know the supplier will be around for a long time so we can get what we want when we want. We also define quality as trust, built from a relationship with each supplier.

Once you’ve identified your suppliers, how do the ingredients make their way into the multivitamins?

Our manufacturers order the nutrients we have chosen and specify, according to our formulation. Once the ingredients reach our co-manufacturers, they are tested to ensure identity, purity, potency and safety, all with strict specifications that need to be passed to move ahead with production. Only then do our co-manufacturers begin to combine the ingredients and move forward with production.

As consumers, what should we be looking for on a label?

First of all, look for a way to contact the supplement company for questions or complaints. Next, look for an expiration or “best used by” date. There should also be a lot number or unique identifier somewhere on the bottle or packaging. Look at “other ingredients” (the fine print) and be wary of shady ingredients.

Along those same lines, if we want to research an ingredient, what are the most important benchmarks?

Know the terminology. Precision counts. Be very, very careful about web searches—many sites are more visible because they want to sell you something. Instead of relying on hearsay, be sure to check out the real scientific literature. Google Scholar is a great way to search for that, and PubMed archives a large number of credible studies. Dig deep enough to see a consensus or identify good points or problem areas. Even these fine resources are not the ultimate authority—they miss a lot of salient info, and even have their own biases that may miss the big picture. Once you’ve done your homework, you can ask a company an informed question about their position.

We understand that process isn’t easy, and that’s why we’ve spent time making sure you can use our website to see our nutrient forms, dosages, supplier information, and the content we’ve created to explain them all. We've already read and interpreted a lot of science, and our own conclusions are thoroughly fact-based and objective; we want to show our work and let you be the (informed) judge.*

Share

Meet our Expert

This article features advice from our science team.

Dr. Luke Bucci

Dr. Luke Bucci, Ph.D, CCN, CNS, Research and Technical Fellow

Dr. Luke Bucci received a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Texas and has over thirty years of experience in the nutrition industry, encompassing all aspects of scientific applications. He has brought blockbuster products to market, written books, patents and numerous articles, and developed certification programs for clinical nutritionists.

Dr. Luke Bucci

Dr. Luke Bucci, Ph.D, CCN, CNS, Research and Technical Fellow

Dr. Luke Bucci received a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Texas and has over thirty years of experience in the nutrition industry, encompassing all aspects of scientific applications. He has brought blockbuster products to market, written books, patents and numerous articles, and developed certification programs for clinical nutritionists.