Ask Gerda: How Do You Evaluate Supplements and Wellness Products?


Gerda Endemann

Gerda Endemann, our senior director of science and research, has a BS in nutrition from UC Berkeley, a doctorate in nutritional biochemistry from MIT, and a passion for cherry picking from our wellness store. He spends much of his time interpreting research – both established and emerging. You’ll find some of his deep dives into health conditions in our growing library of articles called goop PhD. You can send your questions to Gerda at [email protected]

Dear goop, they are a little difficult to buy supplements and other wellness products because I don’t know how to know if they are well made. What should I know, and how do you rate products on the goop? “Madison.”

Hi, Madison. You can look for some red flags, and elaborate on that in a bit, but it’s not easy to vet wellness products.

I have a long history with supplements and looking at wellness claims, but even for me, it can be a difficult and lengthy process to decide if a product is likely to be effective and safe. When I was a child, my father sold Nutrilite, one of the first brands of “natural” supplements. Then, when I was a student studying nutrition, I was taught to watch carefully from supplements. (At this point, my father accused me of brainwashing him from the establishment.) I came to the conclusion that supplements can be life-changing, but they must be carefully selected.

For a while after high school, I worked as a lab scientist. And for my second career, I was a nutrition educator. My customers had many questions about the supplements, and they wanted to recommend me specific products. Specifying amount of nutrients was simple, but assessing brands was not.

Before coming to goop, in 2018, I spent seven years in the dietary supplements industry, working for research and product development. And that internal information helped a lot. Contrary to what you may have heard, dietary supplements and wellness devices are regulated by the FDA. However, the FDA does not have the resources to ensure that all manufacturers follow the regulations. And some are not.

If an ad or label says a product is effective or organic, the FDA and FTC require that there be evidence that the claim is true. For example, consumable products labeled as “organic” must be certified by the USDA, which does not allow the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. If a product is said to affect the body, there should be scientific research to support the claim. Unfortunately, the products are regularly presented on the market which are promoted with unfounded claims. Regulatory agencies may not act for years, if ever. In goop, we don’t say that supplements are effective, organic, or anything else, unless we have evidence.

The scientists on our wellness team ensure that the claims about the goop and third-party brand supplements we sell are justified by scientific research or, in some cases, by ancient medical traditions. goop science and research director Jennifer Kovacs-Nolan, PhD, spends most of her working day digging into research. To give you an idea of ​​her line of thinking, I asked her about a few of the products she helped evaluate from the different categories: “The products we carry from Spoon Wood Herbs are formulated with thought in mind. botanicals used traditionally and are certified organic, ”she said. explains. “And the Sugar Control Teas in Sweetkick’s 14-day Sugar Reset are backed by a clinical study on the product and also data on the key ingredient, gymnastic acid ”.


  1. Spoon Wooden Herbs PINK COLORED GLASSES

    Spoon Wood Herbs
    ROSA
    GLASS

    goop, $ 36

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  2. Sweetkick 14-DAY RESET SUGAR

    Sweetkick
    14 DAY SUGAR RESET
    goop, $ 46

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  3. vFit VFIT INTIMATE WELLNESS SOLUTION

    vFit
    VFIT INTIMATE
    WELLNESS SOLUTION

    goop, $ 495

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The vFit device is another good example. It uses heat, red light and vibration to stimulate blood flow and promote pelvic floor health. Let’s say why a clinical study has shown benefits for a healthy bladder and sexual function. And the brand has worked with the FDA to classify the vFit as a wellness device.

EVALUATION OF WELLNESS PRODUCTS: CLAIMS

  1. Do the claims seem too good to be true?

  2. Does the product claim to cure cancer or cause sudden weight loss?

  3. Has the company shown that it doesn’t care to follow FDA guidelines and that it’s not interested in cheating?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it’s a red flag.

If the claims seem good, the next thing to look for is the list of ingredients. Are there any chemicals you don’t recognize? There is a good chance that u Environmental working group has information on their safety. And as part of our goop vetting process, we take care of this for you. We plan for things like endocrine disruptors, such as phthalates and parabens and other potentially harmful ingredients. We also design for artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners.

EVALUATION OF WELLNESS PRODUCTS: INGREDIENTS

  1. See if you recognize the names of ingredients. (Note: Some chemicals are perfectly safe, so an unknown name is not necessarily a cause for alarm, but only perhaps a small investigation.)

  2. The products may contain compounds related to potentially harmful effects on health or the environment. AND EWG it is a source that you can check for information on ingredients.

goop screens all products for a long ever evolving list of unwanted ingredients.

The evaluation process becomes more complex when it comes to determining whether a product contains the active ingredients listed on the label and does not contain harmful contaminants. If it is manufactured using current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) as defined by the FDA, must be good. The supplements we make and the supplements we sell from other brands are manufactured in structures that use CGMP. Many go above and beyond and seek CGMP certification from a third-party auditor, including, for example, Gaia, and the factory used by The Nue Co.


  1. U Nue Co.  LEATHER FILTER

    U Nue Co.
    LEATHER FILTER
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  2. U Nue Co.  VITAMIN D SPRAY

    U Nue Co.
    VITAMIN D SPRAY
    goop, $ 25

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  3. Gaia Herbs DAILY ADRENAL HEALTH SUPPORT

    Gaia Herbs
    DIARY ADRENAL HEALTH SUPPORT
    goop, $ 31

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However, complying with CGMP requires extensive costly testing to verify the presence of active ingredients and the absence of heavy metals and harmful microbes. It may take years for the FDA to find producers who are not compliant. “We’re testing the results for heavy metals — lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic — and for bacterial contamination to make sure the products are safe,” says Kovacs-Nolan.

EVALUATION OF WELLNESS PRODUCTS: QUALITY CONTROL

  1. The focus on quality control determines whether the product contains the desired ingredients and whether it contains harmful contaminants.

  2. The FDA requires that CGMP be used when manufacturing food supplements. CGMP requires identity testing (is this ingredient what the manufacturer says it is?), Purity (is this ingredient as strong as it is supposed to be?), And contamination (is this ingredient free of adulterants, natural or otherwise? ), among other parameters.

  3. The implementation of a CGMP manufacturer can be validated by certification by an independent auditor, such as NSF or USP.

An important part of CGMP is clearly labeling when allergens such as peanuts are present. All five Goop vitamin protocols are made without the common allergens of wheat, soy, egg, dairy, tree nuts and peanuts. And they are
gluten free.


  1. goop Wellness GENESIS OF HIGH SCHOOL

    goop Wellness
    LICENSE GENESIS
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  2. goop Wellness WHY AM I EFFECTIVE AS WELL?

    goop Wellness
    WHY AM I SO TIRED?
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  3. goop WELLNESS TO MOTHER CARED

    goop Wellness
    THE MOTHER CHARGE
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  4. goop Wellness MADAME OVARY

    goop Wellness
    MADAME OVARIU
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  5. goop Wellness BALLS IN THE AIR

    goop Wellness
    BALLS IN THE AIR
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This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should never be invoked for specific medical advice. To the extent that this article presents the advice of doctors or physicians, the views expressed are the views of the expert cited and do not necessarily represent the views of goop.



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