There are supplements, and then there are supplements.Ten years ago, you could fill your e-commerce shopping cart with a payload of health and wellness formulations and a few fancy-sounding nootropics, and feel that you were on the righteous path to a better, healthier body and a sharper, keener mind.

The downside to this simplistic and somewhat pedestrian approach to optimizing your nutrition was, to our understanding at the time, the potential for either an overdose (e.g., too much of a “good thing,” where taking more did not actually turn out to be better), or the possibility of some side effect due to an adverse interaction with some prescription medication that you might have been taking. But other than that, you probably thought that all supplements having the same chemical name or list of ingredients were created equal. But, as it turns out, you were not entirely correct. [This article, “Clean Supplements: 5 Keys To Better Health,” was originally published in HealthXWire]

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 Clean Supplements versus Clean Food

There is an important distinction to be made between clean supplements (the subject of this article) and clean food (the subject of a plentitude of Panera and other restaurant and prepped-meal delivery service advertisements). Clean food, which has been popularized recently as being some sort of panacea for generally improved health, is mostly about limiting our diets to whole foods which are as close to their natural-grown state as possible, while avoiding foods that have been overly-prepared (such as fast foods) or that have been processed.

In the more orthodox or extreme cases, this also may require refraining from gluten, grain and dairy products, as well as in avoiding most types of meats, in something similar to a vegan diet. There are supposedly benefits associated with maintaining a diet comprised of only clean foods, and there might indeed be advantages to this type of discipline. Most of the evidence regarding the efficacy of this type of diet is anecdotal, but it seems to make some sort of sense, and it “feels” right.

Clean supplements, on the other hand, are supplements that have been sourced and manufactured (“formulated” might be a better term) in accordance with certain essential protocols and principles. These include being absolutely and certifiably organic, vegan, non-GMO, sustainably sourced, and hypoallergenic. 

If the supplement that you are choosing to take meets these five criteria, it is probably clean, and it is better for you than other supplements competing for your attention in the marketplace. If you\\\\\\\’ve chosen a clean supplement, you can be proud of yourself (although it might have cost you a bit more, as clean supplements are more expensive to produce), and if you haven\\\\\\\’t, you might want to consider choosing a clean supplement when it becomes time for a refill, or if you are beginning a supplementation regimen.   

Our increasingly toxic environment

We live in an increasingly toxic environment, due to a combination of factors, most of which are ostensibly within the realm of humankind\\\\\\\’s control. These threats to a clean and viable environment for healthy living include the excretion of industrial pollutants into the air, sea and soil; the increasingly common presence of poisonous fertilizers and food additives; the use of hormones and chemicals to ripen crops and fatten livestock; and the rise of genetic engineering in the form of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), to name several. 

It would almost seem that most of what we are ingesting comes from laboratory to table instead of from farm to table, and many of the “ingredients” contained in these modified and manipulated foods and supplements have been shown to play some role in triggering illnesses (primarily neurological, immunological and digestive) and even in making us more prone to cancer. The era of the industrialized republic has brought with it a whole host of byproducts that have rendered the environment unclean and impure. Most of the supplements in the marketplace that we routinely purchase and swallow or apply are not up to a realistic standard of cleanliness and purity.

An increasing number of supplement companies have become cognizant of these issues and have taken them seriously enough to institute a higher standard of sourcing and preparation in their products. One company, Yemaya Organic, a premier seller of naturally harvested sea moss and sea moss-based supplement products is not only obsessive about the benefits of plant-based supplementation and nutrition, but their processes, from harvesting, to sun-drying, to packaging are exemplary in terms of their adherence to clean protocols.

Yemaya has seen dramatic growth in terms of both annual sales and market share during the past five years, and there is every reason to believe that this growth will continue, especially as interest in sea moss and clean supplements continues to grow.   

The perils of processing

Processing of foods (and by extension, the processing of supplements) poses a double threat to all of us as consumers. It eliminates or “washes out” many of the healthful nutrients and much of the hormetic benefits provided by nature, while it simultaneously introduces toxins and carcinogens into our dining or swallowing experience. Processing is very widespread due to the industrialization and the advantageous economics associated with the mass production and packaging of foods and food-related products, and there is no end to this in sight. 

Farming itself is now dominated in the United States by a surprisingly small number of large agricultural conglomerates. Smaller organic farms are more of a boutique novelty than a mainstream staple, and this trend looks as if it is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. Despite the increasing popularity of whole food diets and variants on the whole food theme, the sheer economics of “corporate farming” translates to higher prices for whole foods and wholesome alternatives to highly-processed, low-nutrition dietary and supplement choices.

The rise of sensitivities and allergies

Allergies and sensitivities to environmental irritants and foods are on the rise for several reasons, including the increase in pollution, changes in our eating habits and diets, and the wholesale reduction in our exposure to microbes.

This last cause is fascinating: because we live in a world where sterility, cleanliness, and hygiene are so prevalent, our children only get limited exposure to microbes. Because of this, their immune systems never have the opportunity (this sounds like a privilege) to develop the natural physiological mechanisms to defend against these potential allergens. As in any resistance or strength-building exercise, our immune systems and defenses only grow stronger if they have had exposure to some childhood adversity. Unchallenged, our natural defenses against allergens can be overwhelmed when there is an unanticipated assault. 

Be the causes as they may, increased sensitivity to allergens is a reality which must be contended with by all of us, children and adults.

Clean is clearly better

Because of all of these changes in our environment and the resultant changes in our physiology, it becomes incumbent upon us to make better, smarter choices in what we ingest, whether food or supplement. This requires more vigilance and selectivity on our part as consumers. Here are some of the things to look for in choosing better, cleaner supplements, both nutritional and nootropic.   

They are organic

Being organic is not a subjective classification – it is an actual certification by the USDA that the product we are purchasing has been harvested and processed (to the extent that it has been processed) in accordance with fairly strict rules governing the way it is handled and comes to us from soil to plant to store. These rules include crop standards, livestock standards, and handling standards. For a product to be considered and certified organic, it must contain no less than 95% organic content.

The purpose behind this standard is to ensure that consumers are getting product that is free of known carcinogens and other toxins or environmental pollutants. By extension, supplements that are sourced and handled in conformity with the USDA guidelines are also organic.

Of course, there are some special exceptions in the case of synthetic supplements which are born in the laboratory and not harvested on the farm or foraged in the wilds, but since the vast majority of supplements that we take have organic origins, these synthetics do not present a serious consideration. Going a bit further, if a synthetic compound constitutes less than 5% of a supplement formulation, the formulation qualifies overwhelmingly as being organic. And being organic means that naturally-occurring benefits are left in while harmful contaminants are left out. It also means, somewhat sadly, that we’ll have to pay a bit more in order to obtain this superior level of quality.

They are vegan (somewhat)

Vegan diets are very much in fashion at the time of this writing, but vegan diets can take many forms, some considerably more extreme than others. The efficacy and safety of hard-core ascetic vegan dieting is being questioned by many healthcare professionals and authorities, but the less drastic forms of this type of diet program are generally accepted as being healthful, especially among cardiologists and specialists dealing with the problems of overweight and obesity. At its ideological core, vegan dieting is born out of a respect for animal life (and all life) and out of a broader interest in preserving spiritual harmony and ecological balance in our world.

Generally speaking, the vegan diet in its simplest form requires adherence to a menu comprised of grains, fruits, berries, nuts and vegetables, and which does not include animal products, or animal-derived products (such as eggs and dairy). The advantages of the diet include such benefits as improved coronary and cardiological health, longer average lifespan and others, primarily attributable to a reduction in the intake of animal fats and excessive amounts of animal protein.

While some vegans follow a very strict dietary regimen, many choose a more moderate approach and consume eggs and other animal-derived products, such as dairy. This element of moderation keeps these vegan dieters from running an increased risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies and depression (from a lack of Omegas 3 and 9). 

In terms of supplements, vegan ingredients are generally thought to meet a higher standard of cleanliness and purity than non-vegan sourced nutrients, and they are preferred.

They are non-GMO

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are all around us, and they have become more of the supermarket norm than products which have not been scientifically enhanced through genetic engineering. And nutritional or nootropic formulations that incorporate GMO ingredients are categorically excluded from consideration as clean supplements.

GMOs are created to increase agricultural yields, and to enhance the expression of a particularly desirable physiological trait, such as bright, juicy yellow kernels on ears of corn (corn is, incidentally one of the most genetically-altered staples on the dinner tables of America), plumper chickens (possibly a case of breast augmentation gone awry) or whiter, larger potatoes for baking.

Recombinant DNA technology, interspecies genetic infusion and cloning are three of the mechanisms employed in creating these special hybrids. These GMOs are frequently referred to as frankenfoods (named after Dr. Viktor Frankenstein’s infamous component-cannibalized monster), and are eschewed by food and nutrition purists who believe that the consumption of GMOs and GMO-derived ingredients can somehow be hazardous to our health. 

While GMOs in consumable goods are generally considered to be safe, at least from the standpoint of those governmental agencies that are involved in the business of regulating these things, there ae three very real problematic possibilities associated with the consumption of GMOs and GMO-derived foods and supplements, including transferred antibiotic resistance, allergenicity and unknown toxicity.

In the interest of playing it safe, clean supplements do not contain GMOs or GMO-derived ingredients.    

They are hypoallergenic

Because of the ever-increasing prevalence of food and other allergies in our contemporary world, where so many people are allergic to gluten, dairy products, nuts, shellfish, and other seemingly benign agents, clean nutritional and nootropic supplements are free of most, if not all, ingredients which are known allergens. In addition, these products are processed, packaged and otherwise handled in ways which insure that the ingredients and the packaging have not come into contact with known allergens. This is eminently sensible in that any good which could be accomplished through supplementation would be offset by the disruptive potential of an allergic reaction to a trifling or microscopic amount of an allergen.

They are sustainably sourced

The notion of sustainability, while not something that directly affects the quality of what we ingest when we are taking a nutritional or nootropic supplement, affects the quality of life, the future of the ecological balance of nature, and the future availability of resources which might otherwise be depleted if not grown and harvested sustainably. The United Nations defines sustainability, in so many words, as the ability to provide for the needs of the present population without compromising the ability of future generations to provide for their own needs

This is a noble objective, and people of vision and compassion understand that resources, if not properly provided for, replenished, and safeguarded, are indeed exhaustible. Clean supplements are sustainably sourced, and a growing number of supplement providers like Yemaya Organic are taking our responsibility to future generations to heart.

Better health for us… and for our planet

In purchasing and using only clean nutritional and nootropic supplements, we are doing what is safest and healthiest for us, by far, in our pursuit of living our best possible lives and in realizing our greatest physical and mental potential. In advocating the exclusive use of clean formulations from ethically sensitive companies, we are doing something that will pay dividends not only to ourselves, but to future generations and to our planet.

For Further Information:

Following are some helpful informational resources pertaining to information in this article. Please note that some of these reference websites are sponsored by for-profit organizations and businesses, so their perspective regarding certain aspects of the material as presented may not be entirely objective. Neither the author of this article nor the publisher have any affiliation with or financial interest in any of such for-profit organizations or businesses. 

About Organic Foods –

Mayo Clinic Healthy Eating With Organic Food

About Vegan Foods And Diets –

About Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) – 

What is a GMO?

About Sustainability And Sustainable Sourcing –

About Allergies And Allergens –


Important Note: The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as health or medical advice, nor is it intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease or health condition. Before embarking on any diet or program of nutritional supplementation, it is advisable to consult your healthcare professional in order to determine its safety and probable efficacy in terms of your individual state of health. 


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