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If you have been following Sassy Holistics for a long time, you likely already know that I am not a big fan of synthetic, isolated nutrients. This means that I don’t personally use or recommend about 90% of the items you would find in a vitamin or health food store’s supplement section. Nearly all of them are synthetic, lab made, and filled with TONS of fillers and preservatives. Have you ever asked who owns your favorite supplement companies?
“BUT BUT, our soils are depleted, we can’t get all our nutrients from food! We NEED supplements in high doses!” I’m sorry, but no. This is not how our bodies work, and I think after you read all of this you will see that this is another ploy to keep you buying from companies that care absolutely nothing about your health and wellness.
“Well, I’d rather use synthetic supplements instead of pharma drugs!” OK, yes so would I. However, a LOT of these supplement companies ARE pharma companies. And using supplements in synthetic isolated forms is just like using medications- you are trying to fit a symptom with a pill, and once again, this is not how our bodies work.
I never thought to make this post before and I hope that it helps to make more sense why I will not support any of these big name brands. As I think of other brands to look into, I’ll update this too.
From this article called The Link Between Big Pharma and the Supplement Industry: ” “Increasingly, Big Pharma and Big Herba are indistinguishable,” claims Parramore. “The very same mega-companies with gigantic chemical labs that make drugs are cooking up vitamin and herbal supplements labeled with sunny terms like ‘natural’ and ‘wholesome.’ Pfizer, Unilever, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline and other big pharmaceutical firms make or sell supplements.” While she does acknowledge there are a few small companies still in the mix, Parramore says they represent a tiny amount of the total sales in the $23 billion-a-year supplement business.”
So, Who Owns The Most Popular Supplement Companies?
Here are some of the biggest names that you’ll see in stores. I’m sure some of this might be a bit shocking or frustrating!
Garden of Life
Years ago, we heard about this sell-out when Nestle bought Garden of Life. Nestle is one of the WORST companies out there- child slavery and water exploitation are at the top of the list of problems, but read this article to read more.
Putting “Dr” in a supplement brand name is great marketing, I’ll give them that. But Dr’s Best is a little TOO close to pharma than they’d likely tell you. It’s not even on their own website (unless it’s hidden well in some find print). In 2016 they sold their company to a Chinese pharma and biotech company.
Smarty Pants Vitamins
This popular brand for kids supplements is owned by Unilever. Unilever owns other toxic brands like Dove, Hellmann’s Magnum ice cream, Suave, and Vasoline. Everything that Unilever owns is something that no crunchy person would be using themselves– so I would have a very hard time trusting any supplement company under them. Plus, Smart Pants is all synthetic and lab made as well.
This popular brand of collagen has been EVERYWHERE lately. My local Whole Foods just started carrying a lot of their products, and now I understand why it’s so popular. They are also owned by Nestle! Shocker. I was never drawn to Vital Proteins personally, and now I am so glad that I never supported them.
New Chapter is a very popular supplement company that prides itself on being non-GMO and for using sustainable quality ingredients. They were bought out in 2012 by Proctor and Gamble, a company linked to Monsanto themselves. No thanks!
Pharmavite is another biotech and pharma company- they own MegaFoods, Nature Made, and Innate Response.
Looking for more?
I wanted to highlight some of the biggest brands that I know people use, especially ones that you are most likely to see in stores now, but there are MANY other companies that are owned by pharma associated companies, or just companies that most try to avoid. This site has a big list towards the bottom that shows what companies own other nutritional companies like Nature Made and Nature’s Bounty, which are also popular brands you’ll find in health stores.
So if your goal is to not support pharma, but you’re using any of these brands- well, I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news! This is why I am so incredibly picky about what brands I support. I don’t claim to be perfect at all with anything either- I think we all need to do our best in the end. I know that when Garden of Life sold out some of my friends and clients said they would still buy them because they were affordable- and sometimes that is what things come down to.
I have a very short list of companies that I use and love. You can check this page for the ones I am actually an affiliate with (I only go with companies that I personally use myself!). This post outlines how to tell if a supplement is synthetic or not. And this is one of the best posts on my site- how to use whole food nutrition to heal, and how to get the most out of your diet (hint: it’s not about using high doses of isolated nutrients!)
Companies that are Private (and haven’t sold out!)
These are the main companies I personally use and trust:
Herb Pharm, Nordic Naturals, Gaia Herbs, Perfect Supplements, Mountain Rose Herbs, Earthley, Bioray, Herbalist & Alchemist