Science

A Guide to Navigating “Clean” Supplements, Multivitamins & Protein Powders

5 min read
Magnifying glass on vitamin capsules.
Magnifying glass on vitamin capsules.

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Clean beauty, clean girl aesthetic, clean labels. Log onto the internet, and it’s clear, “clean” is in. In a world of head-scratching ingredients, people are seeking products that align with their values and keeps safety top of mind.

But what does “clean” mean in the supplement industry?

As an unregulated term, “clean” can crop up as a signal for brands who opt-out of unwanted, unnecessary or in some cases toxic ingredients. Clean can also apply to how a brand addresses testing of contaminants like heavy metals, which are common in plant based protein powders and botanical ingredients or herbal supplements.

At Ritual, when we say clean ingredients — we mean we carefully select ingredients with safety top of mind, avoid unnecessary fillers and ingredients and are committed to best-in-class testing and transparency with certifications to back it up. All of our products are Clean Label Project Certified. We believe that our customers deserve to know exactly what they're putting into their bodies and why.

Unfortunately, our industry has grown 2275% in the market and suffers from a lack of oversight. Consumers would benefit from greater safety standards for supplements and protein powders. Despite major industry growth, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act hasn’t had major updates since 1994 (that’s the year Friends premiered). (2)

Misleading claims run rampant, so it’s important to have a skeptical eye on what’s "clean" and what’s not. By prioritizing transparency and safety, we aim to debunk common misconceptions surrounding “clean” products.

Our Definition of “Clean”

At Ritual, we define “clean” as high-quality ingredients, no unnecessary questionable ingredients, third-party testing, and we prioritize vegan and non-GMO ingredients.

Third-Party Tested

Firstly, all our supplements undergo rigorous third-party testing to ensure that they meet our standards of quality and safety. We share tests each product undergoes on our Certificate of Traceability, we even took it a step further to share the heavy metal test results for our protein powders, a category that is at high risk for contamination. Screening for heavy metals, such as lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium is a priority for supplements.

Unfortunately, some supplements may contain high levels of these metals as documented in various studies and consumer product testing. Contamination can occur during the manufacturing process or the use of botanical and plant based ingredients (heavy metals are naturally occuring, are not added to products intentionally and can contaminate plant based materials). Ritual recognizes the importance of safeguarding against such risks, and it's why our entire line is Clean Label Project Certified.

Certification by reputable third-party organizations further solidifies a brand's credibility and trustworthiness. Ritual also) holds several other certifications, including the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) certification for Essential for Women Multivitamin 18+, highlighting our commitment to meeting stringent quality standards, Non-GMO Verified, and we are a Certified B Corporation.

In essence, third-party testing and certifications help ensure the quality and safety of supplements. Remember, just because a social media influencer (even a really cool one) recommends a supplement, it does not guarantee it is high-quality or tested for safety. Before you put any supplement into your body, check the receipts.

High-Quality Ingredients

At Ritual we carefully select ingredients that have strong scientific evidence for efficacy, but also prioritize clean and sustainable sources. This means screening ingredients for their safety, prioritizing sourcing for high-risk ingredients that reduce concerns around contaminants (our organic regenerative peas from North America for example, used in our vegan protein powder). Our formulations are also free from common allergens such as gluten and soy, as well as unnecessary questionable ingredients, and synthetic colors.

Traceable Ingredients

When it comes to sourcing our ingredients, we go hard. At Ritual, we're proud to declare that 100% of our ingredients are "Made Traceable®", meaning that we publicly share the ingredient source, supplier, and final place of manufacturing.

We believe that consumers deserve to know exactly where their supplement ingredients come from, which is why we meticulously trace labeled ingredients back to their place of manufacturing. This helps you understand each product, provides transparency, and helps protect against environmental and human rights issues. From the supplier to your doorstep, you can trust that our ingredients are sourced responsibly.

Some call it obsessiveness, we call it traceability.

Non-GMO

We know what's not included matters just as much as what is included. This is why we put in the work to ensure all of our ingredients are non-GMO. Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are living organisms that have been artificially modified through genetic engineering. Often, GMOs are engineered to withstand pesticides and other chemicals. The impact of GMOs isn’t entirely known. But we believe that our customers should have full confidence in the composition of their products, for themselves and for the planet. That’s why we opt for non-GMO ingredients.

Clean in Action at Ritual

For expecting mothers, our prenatal multivitamins offer essential nutrients important for supporting both mom and baby's health. We understand the importance of safety during pregnancy, which is why our prenatal formulas are meticulously crafted to exclude unwanted ingredients.*

When it comes to our Essential Protein, we uphold our clean standards by prioritizing plant-based protein sources and avoiding artificial flavors and colors. Our protein powders are crafted using high-quality plant proteins, such as organic peas, and sourced from regeneratively-farmed peas in North America, for individuals looking to support their active lifestyles without compromising quality.

Ritual's commitment to clean supplements is unwavering, with a clear understanding that "clean" extends beyond buzzwords. Our dedication to offering high-quality, clean, and transparent products is evident in every aspect of our formulations, from raw material source to its final place of manufacture, to its function. With Ritual, you'll know where ingredients come from and why they're there, empowering you to make more confident choices to support your everyday health.

Check out all the hard work we put in last year to make an even bigger impact and the goals we’ve set for ourselves for the future in our 2023 Impact Report.

References:

  1. Tchounwou PB, Yedjou CG, Patlolla AK, Sutton DJ. Heavy Metal Toxicity and the Environment. Experientia Supplementum. 2014;101(1):133-164.

  2. Nutrition Business Journal. Market Overview. 2021.

Meet the Author

This article was written by our content specialist.

Neeyaz Zolfaghari

Neeyaz Zolfaghari, Copywriter, Integrative ​Holistic Health ​Practitioner

Neeyaz Zolfaghari is the founder of Unspoken Nutrition, a nutrition and lifestyle brand dedicated to helping others find and create harmony with their daily habits to support their wellbeing and ‘health’. Her journey began over a decade ago, when she was diagnosed with two autoimmune diseases. Knowing what she learned from her upbringing, Neeyaz turned to nutrition as the first pillar of her healing. As her body began to heal on a physical level, she began to learn how our minds, bodies and souls are all innately connected. Now as an Integrative Nutritionist and Patient Advocate, Neeyaz offers the people she works with the support, guidance, and tools they need in order to live a fulfilled life. While Neeyaz initially endeavored to make a difference at the individual level, her vision grew to embrace broader community impacts. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Public Health, serving as a testament to her unwavering commitment to instigate change on a grander scale.

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Neeyaz Zolfaghari

Neeyaz Zolfaghari, Copywriter, Integrative ​Holistic Health ​Practitioner

Neeyaz Zolfaghari is the founder of Unspoken Nutrition, a nutrition and lifestyle brand dedicated to helping others find and create harmony with their daily habits to support their wellbeing and ‘health’. Her journey began over a decade ago, when she was diagnosed with two autoimmune diseases. Knowing what she learned from her upbringing, Neeyaz turned to nutrition as the first pillar of her healing. As her body began to heal on a physical level, she began to learn how our minds, bodies and souls are all innately connected. Now as an Integrative Nutritionist and Patient Advocate, Neeyaz offers the people she works with the support, guidance, and tools they need in order to live a fulfilled life. While Neeyaz initially endeavored to make a difference at the individual level, her vision grew to embrace broader community impacts. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Public Health, serving as a testament to her unwavering commitment to instigate change on a grander scale.

LinkedIn
Lindsay Dahl - Ritual Chief Impact Officer

Lindsay Dahl, Chief Impact Officer

Lindsay Dahl is an accomplished writer, clean living expert, advocacy nerd, and Ritual's Chief Impact Officer. For over 20 years she has been working at the forefront of environmental health campaigns, working to eliminate toxic chemicals in beauty products, household cleaners, furniture, and children's toys. Lindsay has helped pass over two dozen pieces of consumer safety, health, and climate legislation at the state and federal levels. Lindsay has received national recognition for her work on ingredient safety, packaging sustainability, human rights, and climate change.

Lindsay Dahl - Ritual Chief Impact Officer

Lindsay Dahl, Chief Impact Officer

Lindsay Dahl is an accomplished writer, clean living expert, advocacy nerd, and Ritual's Chief Impact Officer. For over 20 years she has been working at the forefront of environmental health campaigns, working to eliminate toxic chemicals in beauty products, household cleaners, furniture, and children's toys. Lindsay has helped pass over two dozen pieces of consumer safety, health, and climate legislation at the state and federal levels. Lindsay has received national recognition for her work on ingredient safety, packaging sustainability, human rights, and climate change.

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