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4 factors for supplement safety: inside FullWell's standards

4 factors for supplement safety: inside FullWell's standards

I am often asked what sets FullWell’s prenatal supplements apart from all of the other brands on the market, and while that’s an easy answer, it’s not exactly a short one! That’s why I wanted to take a moment to discuss the finer points of what makes our prenatal one of the safest, most effective products you can put your trust behind.


I created FullWell to provide my clients in my clinical practice at Boston Functional Nutrition with a supplement I could truly, 100% get behind. Nothing that was available checked all of my boxes, so I rolled up my sleeves and set to work to make an evidence-based, effective, and high-quality supplement myself. After almost two decades of education, research, and hands-on practice, and with the support of scores of expert practitioners, I was able to make that supplement available to not only my clients, but the rest of the world.

My approach was a bit unconventional for the time.

When I began formulating FullWell, I chose to not only look at the whole person I was making it for - that is, taking into account the context of their environment and individualized health factors - I was intent on meticulously monitoring the entire production process. So many supplements can cause more harm than good, largely because somewhere along the production line, something falls short. I was adamant that FullWell would not only be of the highest quality possible, that it would also be as safe as it was effective once the bottle hit the hands of its consumers.

Any health care practitioner worth their salt is concerned with the safety of the supplements they prescribe.

And after any supplement formula is considered good-to-go, there are four major safety factors we look at before recommending our clients and patients invest their time and money in a supplement.

So what are these four major safety factors?

We research:

1. QUALITY | In what forms are the nutrients utilized and how bioavailable are they? Is the ingredient what it says it is? Is it pure? Is there any possibility of contamination? How are we sure that each serving meets the label claim consistently? It is extremely difficult to ensure that you get what the label says you will get in each serving, and the hurdles become more numerous when considering more and more ingredients of various sizes and weights.

2. SOURCING | Where are the nutrients and other ingredients coming from? 

3. MANUFACTURING | How are our ingredients blended together to create the end result? What is the process they undergo during production, and is it the safest it can be?

4. TESTING | Even after painstaking research and due diligence with regards to quality, sourcing, and manufacturing, has the final product been tested by an objective, independent third party and cleared for consumption? 

I want everything that I ask my clients to put into their bodies to be safe, but as you can imagine, when it comes to a client in any stage of pregnancy (trying to conceive, pregnant, or breastfeeding), I am also acutely aware of the health of baby. So let’s break these four factors down just a bit further so you really understand where I’m coming from.

QUALITY

If you have read any of my other posts on individual nutrients (or better yet, download my Nutrient Matrix to have on hand for quick reference!), you know that I am absolutely confident in my research of what parents need to set themselves up for success throughout their pregnancy and postpartum. 

  • Purity is paramount. In 2015, The New York State Attorney General’s Office removed store brand supplements from the shelves of supplement retailers like GNC, Walmart, Walgreens, and Target after they were found to be packed with fraudulent — and in some cases hazardous — ingredients (like asparagus powder and house plants). Many of the supplements didn't even contain what they said it contained at all! Can you believe it?!
  • It’s common for supplements to throw in incongruous ingredients for marketing purposes. In an age where we are all so easily swayed by marketing campaigns, it might seem like a decent idea to buy something that “also helps with inflammation” or “serves as a sleep aid”. But when it comes to quantity, FullWell is packed with so many critical nutrients that even if I weren’t extremely against any unnecessary additions, there simply wouldn’t be room for them. I concluded that an 8 capsule per day serving is what it takes to get the job done. That dosage is not for the faint of heart, which is why I am skeptical of other prenatals with such small doses, especially if they contain other ingredients: it is simply physically impossible to fit that amount of nutrients into a couple of tiny capsules. 
  • When it comes to effectiveness, it was never simply about identifying the right nutrients and their proper dosages - it comes down to the form of the nutrient. Each vitamin and mineral needed to be in the most bioavailable form to be providing the biggest benefit (vitamin A and B vitamins are a great example of this). The chemical form of each and every ingredient in FullWell was researched, sought out, examined, and approved before being included.
  • Finally, the specific way in which I formulate and manufacture - even down to the delivery system being capsules versus powders, which are WAY harder to achieve consistent nutrient levels - ensures each serving is giving you exactly what we state on the label. This is NOT an industry standard practice, but we insist on doing it this way because it is the right thing to do.

SOURCING

  • We work exclusively with high quality ingredient suppliers who share our commitment to quality and safety. If they are not able to provide proper validation of the raw product, I pass, sometimes at the cost of production. I have never once been afraid of throwing a wrench in the entire operation to stop it if something isn’t right. After all, the reason I created FullWell in the first place was to ensure quality and safety throughout the entire supply chain. I’m uninterested in less-than-ideal sourcing, even if it’s at my own expense.

MANUFACTURING

  • Trust is the basis of ALL of our sourcing. We build deep, long-standing relationships with all of our manufacturers.
  • What’s more, FullWell is manufactured in the United States in a FDA registered facility under the Good Manufacturing Processes (cGMP), which means that our supplements are free of cross contamination risk. All of the facilities we utilize have achieved the highest certification and recognition for quality and safety in the industry with UI certifications.

TESTING

FullWell performs in-house testing at our GMP and FDA certified facility and then verifies those results via a 3rd party lab for every single batch to confirm ingredient identity and ensure our supplements are free of contaminants (including heavy metals and glyphosates). As many manufacturers have made it clear to us, this (again) is NOT standard industry practice, and we could save a lot of time and money by forgoing this self-imposed process of double testing of every batch. Needless to say, we don’t work with those manufacturers. We only release our product when it has passed every standard and are committed to making sure those test results are always readily available to all of our consumers upon request.

Transparency is another thing to which we are deeply committed, so if you have any questions, always feel free to reach out to us at hello@fullwellfertility.com or via social. We pride ourselves on responding quickly!

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