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Supplement Standards

Sometimes our bodies need a boost. Whether starting a new workout program, rounding out what you put on your plate or simply balancing the stresses of the day to day, our aisles are stocked with supplement choices, backed by research and care, that adhere to our strict standards — perfect additions to any self-care routine.

Supplements That Meet a Higher Standard We devote time and expertise to research the ingredients that go into the vitamins, minerals, herbs and nutritional powders on our shelves. To decide whether an ingredient is acceptable or not, we start by looking at regulatory information and researching findings from reputable authorities. We also ask the questions: “What is it? What’s its purpose? How is it manufactured? Does it have a long history of use? Does it connect back to Whole Foods Market's Core Values?” Those answers make all the difference. We seek out and have long-standing relationships with trusted brands — many of whom are pioneers in the supplements industry.

Ingredients We Don’t Allow in Our Supplements

Because you’re important to us, we prohibit over 115 ingredients, including hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup and sweeteners such as sucralose, saccharin and aspartame in our supplements. Just like the food we sell in our stores, 40 years of research have gone into the list of ingredients we ban from dietary supplements. Here are a few examples of ingredients we’ve added to our list over the years:

Sweeteners: aspartame, saccharin and more many of the same flavours, colours, preservatives and sweeteners found in food can show up in —and are banned from — supplements we sell too. We’ve banned them in everything from protein powders to lozenges. Since the early days, we’ve banned sweeteners like aspartame and saccharin from both food and supplements.

Krill and Shark Cartilage: Existing on opposite ends of the marine food chain, krill are some of the smallest ocean-dwelling animals, while sharks can be some of the largest. We feel both are too important in our oceans to be used in supplements.

Krill are small crustaceans that serve as the main food source for hundreds of bird, fish and marine mammal species, and can also be used as the main ingredient in some fish oil supplements. In order to keep krill in the sea, we offer fish oil supplements derived from other species of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Shark populations are in decline worldwide. We don’t sell shark-derived dietary supplements in our supplements department. Instead, we offer alternatives like glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate and essential fatty acid supplements (including fish oil and flaxseed oil).