Our Love-Hate Relationship with Supplements

February 3, 2015

We at Nootrobox applaud the New York State Attorney General’s office for taking action against some of the biggest brands in supplements for selling fake and fraudulent products. House brands from big names like GNC, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart were caught in the audit. New York state found that 80% of their products did not have any of ingredients claimed on their labels. We’re proud to announce that Nootrobox has no issues with our supply chain and products. However, the broader news is appalling and is a black eye on the entire nutrition and supplements market.

This is part of the reason why we built Nootrobox. I believe that one of the most personal and most intimate actions that a person can take is consuming and ingesting something. Good food and good nutrition are at the core of so many social experiences and traditions across all cultures and times. We’re literally incorporating the components of an outside entity and absorbing its essence and goodness into our cells and bodies. From 15th Century Incan warriors chewing coca leaves before war to modern Olympic athletes taking protein and amino acid blends, supplements have a long history of improving human performance. Thus, in creating the best nootropic and cognition stacks, we sought to get the fundamentals right: formulate and source the best raws, verify the purity and quality, and manufacture with the best processes.

Being swallowed in a corporate megalith, the people running these big box retailers are so far removed from the sourcing and manufacturing process. For Nootrobox, however, this is our lifeblood and our core competency. Let me explain how Nootrobox does business:

  1. Formulation. We look at all the scientific literature out there. Some ingredients have no peer-reviewed science behind them (colloquially, known as ‘bro-science’), while others have promising clinical data over several trials. We then collate them together and formulate a ‘stack’ where the individual raws at active dosages and concentrations contribute to our desired effect.
  2. Alpha test. We make small batches and test their efficacy on a small alpha tester group before scaling.
  3. Source. We work directly with the biggest suppliers of raw nutraceuticals. This cuts out the middlemen and also minimizes the number of hops from the farms and labs to your desk. Each supplier we work with supplies their own Certificate of Analysis (CoA) which specifies the content, quality, and purity of the raw ingredient. Each material goes through different processes. Common techniques include HPLC (high performance liquid chromatography) and others we use UV testing.
  4. Verify. Before the raw ingredients officially enter our manufacturing facility, they’re held in a holding quarantine where we independently verify the CoA before we allow them into our facility.
  5. Manufacture. Our facilities have the latest FDA current Good Manufacturing Processes (cGMP) certifications. cGMP specifies the rules around employee training, cleaning, handling of raw ingredients, etc.
  6. Verify. Immediately after production, we do one final CoA check and make sure everything is to specification. FDA allows a 20% deviation for each active ingredient. Anything beyond this threshold is mislabeled and considered adulterated. Our CoA’s are pretty much on the dot to what our labels say.
  7. Package and Distribute. The end capsules are packaged and boxed and are stored in our air-controlled drop ship facility where they await final fulfillment.

Ultimately, we think we’re in a simple business. We produce what we say we’re producing, and we sell what we say we’re selling. People trust businesses like ours to obtain the supplements they depend on. We know the industry can do better. We’re here to do nootropics and supplements right. It’s a crazy world out there, and we’re excited to bring order and light to it.

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HVMN Co-founders Michael Brandt and Geoffrey Woo