Chondroitin: Next to glucosamine, Chondroitin Sulfate is one of the most popular and effective joint support nutrients on the market. Clinical studies demonstrating Chondroitin’s efficacy have utilized bovine-source Chondroitin. However, Chondroitin from pig and chicken sources is more affordable and more readily available. Many brands don’t even identify their source.
CoQ10: CoQ10 is an antioxidant and a source of cellular energy. There are two forms of CoQ10 – the naturally fermented trans-CoQ10 form and the synthetic cis-form. The trans-form is the form found naturally in the human body, and this is the only form used in NOW products.
L-Amino Acids: There are two forms of most amino acids – the natural form, denoted by an L (L-Tyrosine), or the synthetic form, denoted by a D or DL (D-Tyrosine, DL-Tyrosine). There is evidence that the synthetic forms of amino acids may be toxic and/or less bioavailable, so you won’t find D or DL form amino acids in any NOW product.
Fish Oil Purification: The majority of fish oils used in NOW products are molecularly distilled. Molecular distillation is a physical separation and purification process that removes potentially harmful substances such as heavy metals and PCBs. NOW utilizes molecularly distilled fish oils whenever possible.
Natural Colors and Flavors: NOW does not use artificial colors in any of our products, instead choosing to use only natural colors such as annatto (red), beet (pink/red), carob (brown), and chlorophyll (green), to name a few. Many artificial colors, especially certain synthetic red dyes, are suspected to be toxic.
Natural Sweeteners: We do not use or sell artificial sweeteners such as saccharin, sucralose, and aspartame. Although these sweeteners are freely used and sold in the United States, there are still questions regarding their long-term safety. NOW sells only natural sweeteners such as xylitol, erythritol, Turbinado sugar and our proprietary BetterStevia and these are the only sweeteners used in our products.
Natural Vitamin E: Natural Vitamin E complex is comprised of eight different isomers – four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. Natural-form tocopherols and tocotrienols are denoted by a D, as in d-alpha tocopherol. Synthetic Vitamin E and Vitamin E components are denoted with a DL, as in dl-alpha tocopherol. NOW sells only the natural and nature-identical tocopherol and tocotrienol forms of Vitamin E, even when natural Vitamin E is scarce or synthetic Vitamin E is more affordable.
Organic: Organic products are cultivated and/or processed without the use of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or other chemical substances and are non-GMO. NOW offers a large selection of organic products, and we’re constantly looking to increase our selection. NOW organic products are third-party certified by Quality Assurance International (QAI).
Oxidation: Simply put, oxidation is the interaction of oxygen with other substances. With many natural products, prolonged exposure to oxygen causes degradation and spoilage, such as the effect seen with fruit that’s cut and left out too long. To protect our products and maintain freshness through the Best-By date, we include Ageless anti-oxygen packets in many products to reduce oxidation; and silica-gel packs to eliminate moisture.
If you’re looking for high quality, natural products, there are some ingredients you never want to see on the package label. Natural or not, these ingredients are not good for your health.
Here are some of the ingredients you will never find in a NOW product. And why we’re so careful to do our best thorough research to avoid them:
Alcohols: We use natural grain alcohol (ethanol) in our liquid extracts. Some synthetic alcohols are produced from petroleum, and many have questionable safety.
Aluminum: Aluminum compounds are not used in any of our formulas, and many of our products are tested to ensure the absence of aluminum. Some of our clays and trace mineral formulas naturally contain aluminum, and these products are clearly identified.
Chlorinated and Brominated Compounds: Chlorinated compounds, even organic chlorinated compounds, aren’t natural. In fact, 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.
Ephedra, Bitter Orange, and DMAA: Banned by the FDA in 2004, ephedra refers to an extract of the plant Ephedra sinica, also referred to as ma huang. At NOW we’ve always questioned the safety of ephedra; even when it was legal we never used it in any of our products. In the past few years Bitter Orange has been used by some manufacturers as a substitute for ephedra. Although Bitter Orange appears to be safer than ephedra, we will not use it in any of our products. We also have never used DMAA in any of our products.
Excipients: NOW does not use common mass-market multivitamin excipients. These include excipients such as hydrogenated oil, talc, Crospovidone, Butylated Hydroxytoluene, and Hypromellose. 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.
Fluoride: Sodium Fluoride is used to prevent tooth decay and is added to the majority of our water supply for this reason. However, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests fluoride is unnecessary, excessively used, and potentially harmful. We do not include fluoride in any of our products, including toothpastes and mouthwashes.
Heavy Metals: Almost all botanicals contain trace amounts of heavy metals since these metals are naturally found in both soil and water. Although low levels of heavy metals are generally benign, 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.
Hormones: We do not sell androstenedione, estrogen, testosterone, or DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone). All are considered steroid and/or anabolic steroid supplements, which may have potentially harmful side effects.
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 conduct thorough microbiological tests, as well as use sophisticated tests 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 aflotoxins, aren’t natural and are potentially unsafe.
Parabens: Parabens are synthetic chemicals widely used as preservatives in the personal care industry. Many brands that prominently declare their products to be natural use parabens – making their natural claims untrue. NOW Solutions personal care products are completely paraben-free.
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 some situations, fumigation and other treatments are required by law.
Peak E-Free Tryptophan: NOW has demanding specifications for our L-Tryptophan products. All of our L-Tryptophan products are free of detectable levels of Peak E. Peak E contamination was linked to a disabling autoimmune illness in 1989. NOW audits all its sources of L-Tryptophan and tests every lot for contamination. If any Peak E is found, the lot is rejected.
Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) and Propylene Glycol (PPG): Ethylene and propylene glycols are used as antifreeze. PEG and PPG are derived from antifreeze. NOW does not use any PEG or PPG in our supplements. All of our Personal Care products are PEG- and PPG-free.
Polysorbate: Polysorbate 80 is a PEG derivative used in many formulas to increase bioavailability. This petroleum-derived synthetic ingredient is not used in any of our products. Did you know that many enhanced-delivery CoQ10 formulas contain Polysorbate 80? Our CoQ10 formulas do not contain Polysorbate 80.
Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids: Some natural herbs contain these PA alkaloids which are hepatotoxic (liver toxins). These herbs include comfrey and butterbur. Our butterbur is free of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, and we do not sell comfrey for internal use. Borage Oil is naturally free of PAs, which may naturally occur in other parts of that plant.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): This nasty, irritating synthetic surfactant is widely used as a foaming agent in personal care products such as shampoos and oral products such as toothpaste. NOW does not use SLS.
Titanium Dioxide and Phosphates: These synthetic ingredients are widely used as excipients in supplements. Excipients are ingredients that have no nutritional value, but have been added to improve processing or add color. NOW minimizes the use of these additives. In fact, most of our softgel capsules and CoQ10 softgels are formulated to be free of titanium dioxide - a rarity in the market.