Are you regulated by the FDA and are your products approved by the FDA?
Yes, we are regulated by the FDA. We must comply with FDA-mandated manufacturing standards. In addition, all of our product labels and all of our literature must comply with FDA standards. We also comply with the manufacturing standards that are mandated by the Government of Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The TGA imposes the same manufacturing standards for making nutritional supplements that they do for making pharmaceutical products. Complying with the TGA's manufacturing standards helps us to market our nutritional supplements in other countries around the world.
No, our products are not approved by the FDA because the FDA does not "approve" nutritional supplements. Under federal law, the FDA only approves pharmaceutical products, and because nutritional supplements are categorized by federal law as food, and not as pharmaceuticals, the FDA is not required to "approve" them. But both the FDA and the TGA do inspect our manufacturing facility regularly – every other year – and if we didn't maintain compliance with their manufacturing standards then we wouldn't be allowed to operate.
Are your products Pharmaceutical Grade?
There is no standardized definition for the term "pharmaceutical grade." However, we manufacture our products with the utmost concern for product purity, quality, and safety. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has good manufacturing practice guidelines (GMPs) for the food industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and the dietary supplement industry. We are in full compliance with the GMPs for the dietary supplement industry. Our internal standards for ingredient purchasing and the manufacture of finished products is unsurpassed. Also, our products are also approved for sale in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration of the Australian government, which does hold us to a pharmaceutical standard.
Do any of your products contain shellfish, rice, gluten, corn, wheat, dairy, soy, yeast or nuts?
None of our products contain corn, wheat, nuts, or gluten. A few of our products have ingredients derived from a shellfish source, and a few products do contain rice, dairy, soy, or yeast. These allergens are clearly indicated on our product labels and in the product labeling and warnings on our website.
What is the difference between aspartate, citrate, citramate, and picolinate?
Minerals can be chemically bonded with organic acids or amino acids to improve their absorption in the body. Citrate, citrate-malate (Citramate), picolinate, and glycinates are used by Thorne Research for this purpose. Macrominerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, are best absorbed when reacted with citrate-malate, while trace minerals &ndash iron, zinc, chromium, copper, and molybdenum – appear to be best absorbed when reacted with picolinate, glycinate, or bisglycinate. We still offer citrate minerals, as many health-care practitioners have been using these products for a long time, and some patients may respond better to these mineral forms.
Why do you not make once-a-day vitamins?
It is impossible to get the superior nutrients we manufacture into a "take once-daily" product. The once-daily type of supplement product usually contains much lower levels of vitamins and minerals. We believe you need higher amounts. Capsules just cannot contain the same amount of nutrient powder as tablets, so more capsules are necessary. The once-daily products are almost always tablets; however, the methods used to manufacture these tablets generally make the nutrients harder to absorb than nutrients in capsules.
What is the best way to take your vitamins (with or without food, on an empty stomach, before or after meals)?
Unless otherwise recommended on the label, it is best to take a dietary supplement with food for optimal absorption. This also reminds us that when it's time to eat it's time to take our supplements.
Can your products be taken out of the capsule if I cannot swallow the capsule?
Most of our products can be taken out of our two-piece pull-apart capsules and put into a small amount of food. However, there are products we do not recommend be taken out of the capsule. This is clearly indicated in the "warnings" section of each product listing on this website.
What is the best way to store your products? Do any products require refrigeration?
We recommend that most of our products be stored tightly sealed in a cool, dry place. A few products do need to be refrigerated, which is clearly indicated on the label.
What multi-vitamins are recommended for young men and women and at what age range?
The best multiple vitamin-mineral products for men under 40 are Basic Nutrients V or Extra Nutrients (if more antioxidant support is needed). Al's Formula is formulated specifically for men over 40. Women under 40 can take Nutri-Fem, while Meta-Fem is formulated for women who are perimenopausal or postmenopausal.
At what age can you start giving a child Children's Basic Nutrients and does the amount vary on the age/weight of the child?
Many health-care practitioners recommend Children's Basic Nutrients from age 1 up to about age 12. We usually recommend 1 capsule daily for every 10-15 pounds of body weight.
Why is the calcium and magnesium amount so low in your calcium/magnesium products?
We use the highly absorbable citrate-malate and citrate forms of calcium and magnesium in our calcium/magnesium products; however, these chelated minerals contain a smaller amount of elemental mineral per capsule. The advantage is that these chelated forms are better absorbed than mineral forms like calcium carbonate or magnesium oxide, so it is not necessary to take as much. One study examined the absorption of calcium from both citrate and carbonate in postmenopausal women and found that 500 mg of elemental calcium from citrate-malate was better absorbed than 2,000 mg from calcium carbonate.
What fillers do you use in your products and where do they come from?
When it is necessary to fill the capsule with something in addition to a nutrient or botanical, we use magnesium citrate, cellulose, magnesium citrate-laurate, or silica. Magnesium citrate is the pure element reacted with pure citric acid; cellulose is pure plant fiber (usually from pine trees), magnesium citrate-laurate is the pure element reacted with citric acid and lauric acid (a small fat molecule that does not inhibit absorption), and silica is the pure element found in sand.
What are the elemental amounts in your minerals?
The elemental amount of each mineral is listed in the Supplement Facts box on each product label on the website for all mineral products. If the product lists the amount of calcium as 150 mg, that is the amount of the elemental mineral in the product.
Do you test for heavy metals in your fish oil products?
The fish oil ingredient is tested for heavy metals and other contaminants when we receive it and before we use it in a product.
What does chelate mean?
Chelate refers to a chemical reaction between a mineral and a non-mineral component. It usually refers to a chemical compound made up of a mineral and an organic acid or amino acid that makes the mineral easier to absorb into the body; for example, magnesium and citric acid are reacted to form magnesium citrate.
What products can be taken during pregnancy?
Our Basic Prenatal is designed specifically for pregnant and nursing women. Many of our products can be taken during pregnancy; however, it is recommended to check the "warnings" section of a specific product on our website to check its safety during pregnancy.
What products can be taken by lactating mothers?
Our Basic Prenatal is designed specifically for pregnant and nursing women. Many of our products can be taken by nursing mothers; however, it is recommended to check the "warnings" section of a specific product on our website to check its safety during lactation.
Do your B-vitamins contain yeast?
None of our B-vitamin products contain yeast.
Do you carry Acidophilus Products?
We have one probiotic product that is similar to Lactobacillus acidophilus, which is used to support gastrointestinal health – the product is Lactobacillus Sporogenes. It is more stable than acidophilus, so it does not need to be refrigerated. We also include Lactobacillus sporogenes in our MediClear, MediClear Plus, and PermaClear products.
Can MediClear be used on a daily basis?
Yes, both MediClear and MediClear Plus can be taken daily, for as long as you want. Many people use these products as part of their multi-vitamin-mineral intake.
How long have you been in business?
Thorne Research started business in Seattle, Washington in 1984.
Thorne makes a number of products that appear to have similar usages. How do I determine which product to use?
The Thorne Research product line was designed to be dispensed or prescribed by health-care practitioners. Health-care practitioners are educated to know which product is best suited in individual cases, which is why it is always our advice to talk to your health-care practitioner before taking any dietary supplement.
I can purchase Thorne Research products on-line and sometimes at a discounted price. Why buy it from Thorne directly?
We do not authorize any distribution of Thorne products via the internet except for health-care practitioners who are supplying products to their own client base via their website. Unfortunately some of these discount brokers may be buying out of date inventory and passing the product off to anyone looking for a better price. There is no guarantee that these vendors are storing the products at an optimal temperature or that their warehouses are free from rodents or insects.
I currently do not have a health-care provider, so how do I obtain more information on your product line and product usages?
Our website is a very useful resource for information about our product line. You may also call or e-mail Thorne and ask to be referred to a health-care practitioner in your area who carries Thorne products.
Why aren't your products sold in health food stores?
We believe our products should, in most cases, be dispensed by a knowledgeable health-care practitioner, not a retail salesperson. Because of this, it has always been our policy to not sell our products to health food stores. You can, however, obtain our products from licensed pharmacies.
Are any of your ingredients from China? If so, why do you continue to purchase these ingredients from China?
Yes, we obtain some ingredients from China. In some cases, it is the only source in the world. However, as with all our purchased ingredients (no matter what their country of origin), we test every lot we receive for identification, purity, and quality. This may include testing for heavy metals, bacteria, and other contaminants.
I'd like to know the names of your ingredient vendors. Where can I find this information?
Since some of our ingredients are difficult to source and in some cases exclusive to Thorne, we do not reveal the identity of our ingredient suppliers.
Are your supplements whole foods?
Some supplement manufacturers market their products as "whole food" nutrients because some of their nutrients come directly from food products, or from yeast that has been fed individual pure vitamins and minerals. However, these products, which can be allergenic, usually contain very low amounts of nutrients, and almost always have pure nutrients (such as what Thorne uses) added as well. It is our philosophy that individuals should eat a quality, nutrient-dense, varied diet. When supplementation is necessary we believe it should be done using the highest quality pure nutrients and botanicals.
Your label sometimes says "Manufactured For." Do you outsource some products and if so, why and which products?
Our softgel products are manufactured by a company that only makes softgels. We purchase the ingredients (fish oil, etc.), test them for purity, and send them to be made into softgels. There are just a few softgel manufacturers in North America. The one we use is GMP certified and has been personally inspected by Thorne personnel. Our QC Nasal Spray is manufactured by an FDA-certified homeopathic pharmaceutical manufacturer using ingredients we purchase and analyze.
What size capsules do you use?
The capsule size varies from size #2 to size 00.
What is the expiration date on your products?
Most of our products carry a two-year expiration date, with a few exceptions that have a shorter shelf life. The expiration date is clearly indicated on the bottle face, toward the bottom.
My product is expired – can I still use it?
We do not recommend using a product after the expiration date.
How many bottles are in a case?
It depends on the size of the bottle; however, most are 12 bottles to a case.
Are your capsules vegetarian?
All our hard two-piece capsules are vegetarian. All our softgel capsules are derived from fish gelatin.
What products are acceptable for Passover?
Any product not containing animal products, grapes, grains, alcohol, or yeast are acceptable for Passover. If you would like a list of products that would not be considered allowable, please contact customer service.
Are any of your products Certified Kosher?
No; however, since health-care practitioners usually prescribe our products they can be considered medicine and can be taken as such.
Will radiation or exposure to extreme cold or heat damage my product?
Ionizing radiation can damage any nutrient or botanical. Thorne products are very stable and will not degrade if exposed to moderate variations of heat or cold.
Do you ship internationally?
Yes, we ship to many countries worldwide. We also have distributors in countries throughout North America, Europe, Asia, New Zealand and Australia. International inquiries should be made to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why do you discontinue products?
Sometimes we discontinue a product because of lagging sales, while other times it is due to unavailability of ingredients or regulatory issues in a specific country.
I notice your MediClear contains natural orange and vanilla flavoring. Where exactly does the flavoring come from?
Vanilla flavoring comes from the vanilla bean, and the orange flavoring comes from oranges. If there is a sensitivity to either of these ingredients, you might want to switch to MediClear Plus, which is an unflavored, unsweetened rice protein product with added ingredients to support detoxification.
Why do you not offer terms?
To keep our prices competitive we do not have an accounts receivable and collections department, which would unfortunately be necessary if delayed payment terms were offered. Payment can be made via C.O.D., Visa, MasterCard, or American Express.
I currently do not have a health-care practitioner and do research on-line. Why is the technical department not available to me?
We sell directly to health-care practitioners, so our technical staff is available only to our health-care practitioner customers. Thorne Research recommends that all dietary supplements be part of a program you create with the advice and expertise of a health-care professional.
Are your products certified organic?
No, they are not.
Are your products GMO-free?
At Thorne Research we strive to use materials in our products that are not derived from GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) sources. We achieve this objective by adopting a raw material specification for each and every raw material that we purchase, and we require that the approved vendors of our raw materials certify that the GMO status of the raw materials they supply meet the requirements of our specification. From time to time, however, there is a raw material that we use that is only available from a GMO source or from a source that cannot be confirmed as being non-GMO. An ongoing project of our Purchasing Department is to search out raw material sources that are in line with our goal to only manufacture and distribute products that are GMO-free.
Is the fish used in both the fish oil products and the softgel gelatin tested for heavy metals and PCB's?
Yes, it is.
Do you carry any probiotic products?
Yes. Lactobacillus sporogenes is our best selling probiotic. It is a very stable Lactobacillus bacteria that supports gastrointestinal health. Sacro B is a non-pathogenic, beneficial yeast probiotic. PermaClear contains both of these probiotics, along with other supportive ingredients.
Do you do private labeling and if so, whom do I contact?
We do a small amount of private label manufacturing for a few established customers. Contact email@example.com.
Are your products covered by health insurance?
Rarely are dietary supplement products covered by health insurance policies. However, medical savings accounts allow you to set aside pre-tax income for use in paying for out-of-pocket health expenses, which might include Thorne Research products.
Why do your products change in color, smell, texture or taste?
Since the ingredients in our products are often from natural sources, these ingredients can occasionally vary in color, smell, texture, or taste. Be assured that the ingredients are always tested for identification, purity, and quality before being used in any product.
What does it mean when a product's formula is listed in the Supplement Facts Box as a "Proprietary Blend"? What does that listing tell me?
The FDA's dietary supplement labeling regulations – at 21 C.F.R. 101.36(c) – permit a dietary supplement manufacturer to designate a product's formula that is a trade secret as a "Proprietary Blend." But even though the formula is a trade secret, the manufacturer still must include the following information in the Supplement Facts Box: (1) how much of the product is in one serving, (2) a list of each ingredient in one serving, and (3) the ingredients must be listed in descending order according to the weight of each ingredient in the serving.