Why is Nature’s Sunshine the Industry Leader in Quality?
The purpose of the natural supplement industry is to provide products that enhance and support the health and wellness of today’s consumers. But recently, as the industry has become more and more popular, it seems that some companies have shifted their focus from providing for the customer’s health to making money and capitalizing on the “next big thing.” The market is then flooded with a variety of claims and messages about which products do what, and many customers are left scratching their heads as they try and decide what products are best for them.
That is why Nature’s Sunshine, with its almost 40 years in the health industry, is dedicated to going the extra mile to provide only the best quality ingredients, materials, and products. Your health is too important to be left to chance, and that is why Nature’s Sunshine has made the necessary investments to remain a strong, stable company that provides industry-leading and premium-quality products that get real results–guaranteed.
Validation: Meeting and Exceeding Standards
At NSP, it is important that all of the procedures involved in any stage of production are validated. Validation basically means that production standards must not only be met, but also exceeded. That is why they require the highest standards in cleaning, maintaining and using equipment in their production procedures. (following United States Pharmacopeia and International Conference on Harmonization guidelines for validation).
To ensure that all equipment stays clean, there are a variety of scientifically validated “culture swab” tests that every piece of equipment must pass. Through these tests they can ensure and validate that they are consistently bringing the highest quality of products to their customers.
Quality Assurance Labs:
Nature’s Sunshine has four Quality Assurance labs, each outfitted with millions of dollars worth of equipment that is constantly being upgraded. Their Mineral lab, for example, recently purchased another mercury analyzer, and the Microbiological lab has pioneered the use and validation of bactometers–devices used to test for microbiological growth. They also obtained the necessary testing equipment to measure Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC), a crucial testing procedure in the industry that tests the antioxidant content of specific ingredients, foods and supplements. The interesting thing about this new technology is that much of it is developed in Nature Sunshine’s own Research and Development department, which has outfitted itself with the most cutting-edge testing and research equipment.
Research and Product Development
Nature’s Sunshine is known throughout the world as the quality leader in the natural health industry, and much of their success is due to the research and development they dedicate toward each of their products. Unlike many other companies, NSP outsources very little of its research, development or production. It is no surprise then that many of their staff have published a variety of findings in scientific journals and have been asked to collaborate on research projects with prestigious organizations such as Ohio State University, the Ford Cancer Center and the Association of Analytical Chemists.
Quality of Ingredients
As new formulas are developed, their scientists are able to determine the correct specifications and quantities for each ingredient included. Finding the right supplier is the next step. NSP pre-screens each potential supplier, and requests a variety of sample materials for testing against their specifications. After a vendor is decided upon, they are under constant review in order to assure that their standards are in line with theirs. This way, even when doing business with others, they can still maintain their guarantee on the quality of our products.
Clean, effective ingredients
Many products containing herbs are adulterated with other plants or species, or the wrong part of the herb. For instance, often St. John’s wort products contain plant stems, which deliver little of the desired biological activity. Herbal ingredients can also be adulterated with “filth,” which includes dirt, rocks, sand, sticks, insect parts, and insect excrement. These contaminants increase bulk and weight, thereby lessening the cost to the company. Not surprisingly, St. John’s wort products from NSP contain only the flowers rich in its active ingredients–and their herbs are never adulterated with “filth.”
For its vitamin A products, NSP uses only natural forms of vitamin A. Many competitors, however, use a synthetic form that is widely believed by supplement experts to be inferior in quality and effectiveness.
One of NSP’s vendors once delivered a lot of “natural” vitamin A product that their routine tests determined to be the synthetic form. As a result, they rejected the shipment. Such a response is rare for competitors who don’t have such stringent quality controls and who would have likely sold an incorrectly labeled and inferior product.
Only The Best Ingredients
For its valerian products, NSP uses Valerian oficinolis, the most potent and biologically active form of valerian. Not surprisingly, it’s also about 7 times more costly than a far cheaper form typically called “Indian valerian.”
Consumers will sometimes find valerian on the shelf of a retailer for a fraction of the cost of NSP’s product, and assume NSP is overcharging. On the contrary, NSP has conducted product ingredient testing and found that these valerian products (even from large, nationally respected chains) don’t contain Valerian oficinalis, but rather the cheaper “Indian” variety. These retailers apparently don’t care about providing the better quality valerian to their customers, or they don’t conduct the necessary tests to determine the quality of their supplement products.
Manufacturer of the Year
Because of their unwavering commitment to quality and continuing investment in producing the best possible products, Nutritional Outlook magazine recently named Nature’s Sunshine Product “Supplement Manufacturer of the Year.”
From the Quality Assurance Department to Research and Product Development, NSP’s commitment to excellence and quality has been recognized over and over again. Being named Manufacturer of the Year was a great honor that stands as a testament to the core values of Nature’s Sunshine–quality, service and integrity.
Repeated Quality Checks Testing
Even though raw materials undergo extensive testing procedures before they even accept them, they continue to test all materials throughout the production process in order to ensure that the quality of each product is never lost. With their B-Complex formula for example, they have to continually test to make sure that the product retains the vital B vitamins that are easily lost during the refining process.
In all, they use more than 580 separate tests to determine the quality, purity, and potency of their materials and products. Every raw material and finished product that passes through their labs must undergo 10 days of testing in order to verify its purity and potency, and to make sure it is worthy of Nature’s Sunshine’s label.
How the Competition Compares
Most nutritional supplement manufactures test their products only once in order to claim that they’ve tested for quality. Nature’s Sunshine, however, performs more than 580 tests over 10 days on each product to ensure its industry-leading standards of quality—a huge difference!
Example: NSP once accepted a shipment of raw pau d’arco powder from a vendor. However, upon product testing, they discovered that there was no pau d’arco in the shipment–it was an entirely different and unknown ingredient. Through further investigation they discovered that the vendor had mistakenly shipped raw cocoa (which is similar in appearance to pau d’arco). It’s no wonder NSP feels very strongly about testing and re-testing along every phase of product purchasing, processing and packaging to ensure our customers get the products they intended to purchase, at our high level of quality.
What’s In a Test?
As mentioned, NSP performs more than 580 tests on each product from the time they receive a batch of raw ingredient to the moment the final product is packaged and shipped from the warehouse to you. The following are just a few examples of the impressive battery of tests used to guarantee the potency, purity and integrity of the industry’s highest-quality supplement products:
- Measures the active components in a vitamin.
- Measures the purity and potency of raw herbs that have standardized compounds.
- Takes a “fingerprint” of an herb sample.
- Verifies correct plant species and parts.
- Measures the presence of key components of an herb.
- Detects adulteration or contamination in an herb.
- Reveals the presence of unwanted elements, including pesticides and solvents.
- Identifies and quantifies individual minerals in a mixture.
- Determines if raw materials contain unwanted minerals like lead and mercury.
- Tests finished products (multivitamin/minerals) to ensure their mineral content meets label claims.
- Measures disintegration and dissolution of tablets.
- Tests purity and potency of amino acids.
- Assures the raw materials will blend correctly and fit into the capsule or make a good tablet.
- Detects organisms in raw materials or finished products, including pathogens such as E. coli and salmonella.
- Detects bacteria that indicate spoilage liquids and other products.
TOTAL NUMBER OF TESTS: 588
Unlike many other nutritional supplement companies, NSP does not leave the quality of their products up to an outside party. Instead, they manufacture virtually all of their own products. The greatest benefits of in-house manufacturing are freedom and control. We control the environment in which the product is tested, produced and stored, and we also have the freedom to source the best ingredients and verify on their own that they are at the highest quality. Another key advantage of in-house product development is the information they gain through the development process, which helps them better inform- educate the customer on the products they are consuming.
The old adage, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself,” basically sums up Nature’s Sunshine”s philosophy on manufacturing. They do it themselves to make sure it is done correctly.
How the Competition Compares
Many competitors outsource all facets of product research, manufacturing and quality control, choosing simply to market “their” supplement products for a profit. At NSP, it’s all performed in-house.
Other Supporting Quality Components
- Industry Experts: For product development, testing and analysis, NSP relies on some of the best and brightest minds in the business. Our research and Development staff employs more than a dozen scientists.
- Dress Standards: They follow GMP standards, ensuring that each employee is properly dressed, so as not to expose or contaminate any material.
- Bin System: Their stainless steel bin systems are designed to eliminate the possibility of direct contamination and cross-contamination.
- Water Purification: Their manufacturing facility has been outfitted with a state-of-the-art reverse osmosis technology water purification system to support their liquid line.
- Air Quality: Their production facility features a state of the art air filtration system that helps control the environment and eliminates the possibility of airborne contaminants.
Several years ago, the FDA issued a warning asking manufactures and retailers to recall plantain containing products from the market. It was later determined that some plantain products actually contained digitalis, a plant that contains powerful heart stimulants that can cause life threatening heart reactions, including cardiac arrest.
At NSP, they demonstrated to the FDA there series of testing to determine ingredient authenticity and product quality, specifically in this case how none of their plantain products contained digitalis. The FDA reviewed our methods and agreed that we could provide 100% assurance that their plantain products did not contain any digitalis. As a result, they did not have to recall any product. On the other hand, at least 12 other competitors were forced to recall their plantain-containing products.