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 like the American Botanical Council and American Herbal Products Association. 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 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 100 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 flavors, colors, 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 in our Seafood department and 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).
Below is the complete list of commonly used ingredients we’ve uncommonly banned.
Apricot kernel extract
BHA (Butylated hydroxyanisole)
BHT (Butylated hydroxytoluene)
Caffeine, extended release
Calcium disodium EDTA
Cannabis sativa seed extract/oil
Chromium hydroxide green
Deer antler velvet
Disodium calcium EDTA
Disodium Dihydrogen EDTA
DMSO (Dimethyl sulfoxide)
Ethyl vanillin (synthetic)
FD&C Blue No. 1
FD&C Blue No. 2
FD&C Green No. 3
FD&C Red No. 3
FD&C Red No. 40
FD&C Yellow No. 5
FD&C Yellow No. 6
Food grade hydrogen peroxide
HCG homeopathic remedies
Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
Ma huang (Ephedra)
Partially hydrogenated oils
Shark liver oil
Sodium acid sulfate
TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone)
Testosterone homeopathic remedies
White kidney bean extract
Note to product suppliers: This list is intended for our shoppers; it’s not for use in formulating products. Creating a product with no unacceptable ingredients does not guarantee that we will sell it.
Brands That More Than Make the Grade
These featured supplement brands share our passion for supplements that raise the bar.
365 by Whole Foods Market Supplements & Whole Foods Market Supplements
For all of the reasons above, we’re proud to offer supplements from our very own brands. We stand behind our 365 by Whole Foods Market and Whole Food Market brand vitamins, minerals and dietary supplements. Our team carefully selects our suppliers, visits their facilities and reviews the processes and procedures they follow to verify the quality and integrity of our products. Whole Foods Market brand takes it to the next level with premium, innovative and unique formulas.
Supplements made with real food: The team at Megafood purchases over 700,000 pounds of fresh produce annually. They share our obsession with quality, closely collaborating with trusted farmers.
A wide range of nutrient formulas combine high-quality vitamins and minerals, herbal extracts, tonic mushrooms, collagen-rich bone broth, liver from cattle, wild fish roe and more. Rooted in principles from Ayurveda and traditional Chinese herbalism and supported by modern science, Ancient Nutrition complies with Good Manufacturing Practices. That means products are tested for heavy metals and harmful microbes.