Dirty Ingredients

Dirty Ingredients

Health begins with ingredients *not* found in our products.

Our Dirty Ingredients list is a comprehensive guide to ingredients not found in our products, along with a few reasons why. We update it as needed and share it with our manufacturers to ensure that they are not using these “dirty” ingredients linked to health or environmental issues.


Aconite, also known as Aconiti tuber, monkshood or wolfsbane, the Acotine root is used in many supplements and in traditional Chinese medicine. The claimed benefits of Aconite include reducing inflammation, joint pain, or gout. However, Aconite contains highly toxic cardiotoxins and neurotoxins – correct processing is needed to eliminate toxic alkaloid content. It can cause severe poisoning and toxicity, and is the most common cause of severe poisoning from herbs in Hong Kong.


The antioxidant-rich Chaparral leaf is used in supplements to aid with digestion problems and weight loss, as well as to treat rheumatism, arthritis, urinary tract infections, nervous system disorders and stomach pain. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada advises consumers against using products with this ingredient, as Chaparral has been associated with cases of severe liver damage.


Kava, also known as ava pepper, is a beverage extract that is made from Pipermethysticum, a plant native to the western Pacific islands. Kava affects the brain and central nervous system and is taken to calm anxiety, stress, restlessness, and to treat sleeping problems. It is also used to treat urinary tract infections and improve uterine health. However, there are major safety concerns with many cases of liver damage and some deaths traced to the use of kava. Kava has been banned from the European and Canadian markets, but has not been removed from the U.S. market.


Lobelia, also called Asthma Weed or Vomit Wort, Lobelia inflata is a plant. The above-ground section of the plant is used for medicinal purposes, including as an anti-anxiety agent. It contains chemicals that may thin mucus, making it easier to cough up fluid and assist breathing, particularly in people with asthma. However, there is little or no evidence of efficacy; plus, it is unsafe when ingested, potentially inducing nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. There is a particular concern during pregnancy, as it can cause serious vomiting and loss of uterine tone.

Magnesium Stearate

Magnesium Stearate is formed by adding a magnesium ion to stearic acid. The compound has lubricating properties and is used in about 90% of nutritional supplements because it can speed up the manufacturing process by preventing machinery from clogging. However, research has shown that in vitro, stearic acid suppresses T cells, the natural killer cells that are a key component of a person’s immune system.


Methylsynephrine, also known as bitter orange, is a plant. The peel, flower, leaf, fruit, and fruit juice are used for medicinal purposes – for example, bitter orange oil is made from the peel. It is frequently used in “ephedra-free” products since the FDA banned ephedra for serious side effects on the heart, and is often combined with caffeine in weight loss and bodybuilding products. However, bitter orange can cause high blood pressure and increased heart rate in healthy adults with otherwise normal blood pressure. There is no evidence to suggest that it is any safer than ephedra.

Red Yeast Rice

Red Yeast Rice is the product of rice fermented with Monascus purpureus yeast. Red yeast supplements are manufactured by culturing M. purpureus yeast on rice at carefully controlled temperatures and growing conditions to increase the concentrations of chemicals that lower blood cholesterol and triglycerides. However, Red Yeast Rice can cause kidney and muscle problems, liver problems and hair loss. It can also magnify the effect of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, increasing the risk of side effects when taking statins.

Titanium Dioxide

Titanium Dioxide is color additive that makes tablets, capsules and powder bright white, and is used in a large proportion of supplements as well as in paint and sunscreen. It is not an ingredient found in any natural food, and is typically included in nanoparticle form, which has been shown to disrupt cellular processes. In production, it has been shown to cause lung inflammation in workers. And research studies have shown that this compound damages the kidneys and also on a microscopic level, DNA, which causes cancer.


Yohimbe is the name of an evergreen tree found in parts of central and western Africa. The bark of the tree contains the chemical yohimbine, which is used for medicinal purposes. Yohimbine hydrochloride is a form of yohimbine that is a prescription drug in the United States. Yohimbe is used to address obesity, low libido, erectile dysfunction and general sexual problems in both men and women. However, yohimbe has been associated with serious adverse effects, including cardiac arrhythmia, agitation, myocardial infarction, seizure, and others.

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2 Rodriguez-Fragoso L, Reyes-Esparza J, Burchiel S, Herrera-Ruiz D, Torres E. Risks and Benefits of Commonly used Herbal Medicines in México. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. 2008;227(1):125-135.
3 Teschke R, Gaus W, Loew D. Kava extracts: safety and risks including rare hepatotoxicity. Phytomedicine. 2003;10:440–6.
4 Bergner P. Lobelia toxicity: A literature review. Medical Herbalism. 1998;10 (1–2):15–34.
5 Tebbey PW, Buttke TM. Molecular basis for the immunosuppressive action of stearic acid on T cells. Immunology 1990 70 379-384.
6 Fugh-Berman A1, Myers A. Citrus aurantium, an ingredient of dietary supplements marketed for weight loss: current status of clinical and basic research. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2004 Sep;229(8):698-704.
7 Mazzanti G, Moro PA, Raschi E, Da Cas R, Menniti-Ippolito F. Adverse reactions to dietary supplements containing red yeast rice: assessment of cases from the Italian surveillance system. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2017 83(4):894-908.
8 Shakeel M, Jabeen F, Shabbir S, Asghar MS, Khan MS, Chaudhry AS. Toxicity of Nano-Titanium Dioxide (TiO2-NP) Through Various Routes of Exposure: a Review. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2016 Jul;172(1):1-36.
9 Kearney T, Tu N, Haller C. Adverse drug events associated with yohimbine-containing products: a retrospective review of the California Poison Control System reported cases. Ann Pharmacother 2010;44:1022-1029.

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