This common question has an easy answer: YES!
End of post, right?
Not quite yet! We totally understand that many of you have questions about our formulation, ingredients, and sourcing. And that’s great, because we’re completely obsessed with quality, too.
That’s why Sundots are free of soy, dairy, gluten, and nut products, and are non-GMO and vegan.
But there’s more. Transparency is one of our core values, and we want you to feel confident in your choice to add Sundots to your safe sun protection toolkit.
So in the third part of our 101 Series (check out Part 1 and Part 2 of the series for more!), we’ll discuss why we’re confident about the safety of our active ingredient, Polypodium leucotomos extract (PLE), detail our gummy’s ingredients, and explain why Sundots provide safe sun protection.
Why We’re Confident in PLE
Our active ingredient PLE, a fern native to Central and South America, is the star of Sundots’ formulation. We’ve made sure that it not only works, but is perfectly safe, too.
We’re confident in PLE because of its long history and the strong body of evidence backing its use (see our Sundots 101—Part 1: How Do Sundots Work?).
PLE has been used by traditional cultures for centuries. The first written account of its use is from the Spanish botanist and explorer Hipólito Ruiz in 1788. That’s quite a history!
More importantly, modern research studies in human participants have confirmed polypodium’s role in helping our body protect us from the sun while maintaining an exceptional safety profile. Our active ingredient is supported by 30+ years of sun protection science conducted at top research institutions around the world, including Harvard Medical School. For more detail, see this overview!
The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology had this to say upon reviewing the safety data for polypodium leucotomos, our active ingredient:
Sundots using 240mg of PLE in our formulation.
We determined this dose based on the highest-quality human studies of PLE, which used two 240mg doses of polypodium and included exposure to a much higher dose of UV radiation than we typically encounter. We are using 240mg dose since it’s well-established in the scientific literature and since the levels of UV radiation our customers are likely to encounter on a daily basis are more modest than those used in these studies
However, based on the evidence from these studies, we also recommend a second gummy at midday when you do have high-exposure days when golfing, on a long run, skiing, at the beach, etc.
While Sundots aren't a substitute for sunscreen, the evidence is clear from over a dozen human studies and decades of use that when taken as a vitamin, this fern provides safe sun protection. See Sundots 101—Part 2: Isn’t Sunscreen Enough? to learn more about how Sundots fit into a healthy, safe sun protection routine!
Our Gummy Ingredients
Our day-to-day lives are full of little compromises, but we don’t believe our health should require that kind of sacrifice.
So we've worked hard to create a gummy recipe that has minimal ingredients, uses zero artificial flavors or colors, and won’t make you feel like you’re giving up your health in the name of safe sun protection.
Sundots are plant-based and made primarily of organic tapioca. Here's our super-clean ingredients list:
It’s important to us that Sundots can provide protection that works for you, regardless of your dietary restrictions or preferences. That’s why Sundots are free of soy, dairy, gluten, and nut products, and are non-GMO and vegan, too. Not only that - our entire manufacturing facility is free of these allergens as well!
Why do we use organic sugar? Our product chemistry requires sugars to interact with pectin to form the gummy - otherwise, Sundots would just be a puddle of juice. Each gummy contains an almost insignificant amount of added sugar - less than 1 gram. That's less than the weight of a paperclip!
We’re also commonly asked about a few other ingredients in our formulation.
Citric acid is derived from citrus fruits and helps stabilize the pectin (our apple-based thickener) and also adjusts Sundots' acidity.
Sodium citrate is a type of salt made by adding a salt solution to citric acid, and also helps adjust acidity. Gummies cannot form without the perfect acidity, and different ingredients affect the recipe's acidity - that's why we need citric acid and sodium citrate to help adjust acidity.
Finally, you’ll notice that we add vegan Vitamin D derived from lichen to our formulation. We know many of our customers are concerned that sun protection products may limit our bodies’ ability to produce Vitamin D. Polypodium leucotomos does not cause our bodies to stop synthesizing Vitamin D from sunlight, which is important because many Americans are chronically deficient in Vitamin D.
Since Vitamin D is such an important nutrient, we're excited to include all-natural, vegan Vitamin D in every Sundots gummy.
To determine the dose of Vitamin D in Sundots, we follow the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) recommended dietary allowances. The NIH Office of Dietary Supplements is the best authority for credible, science-based perspectives on holistic vitamin health. They recommend that all US adults supplement with 15-20 mcg (600-800 IU) of Vitamin D per day. Sundots have 20 mcg/800 IU in each daily gummy.
As you can see, we’re totally dedicated to ingredient transparency. If you have more questions about Sundots, be sure to check out our comprehensive FAQ!
Safety in Our Supply Chain
Lastly, we know our customers care deeply about safety in our supply chain. That's why we've chosen to work with a manufacturer that's FDA-inspected and -registered, organic-certified, and based right here in the USA.
First, let’s address the question of whether Sundots are FDA approved. Sundots are regulated as a supplement; the FDA does not provide “approval” of supplements. A standard multivitamin isn't "approved" either. Dietary supplements are in fact closely regulated by the FDA, and we follow all relevant requirements.
We take our supply chain safety seriously, and our manufacturing facility is also certified by Oregon Tilth to be organic-compliant.
Our PLE comes from a trusted supplier in Ecuador. To our knowledge, there is currently no commercial source for organic polypodium leucotomos. This is something we hope to address in the future with our suppliers. In the meantime, we’re working hard to support the environment in which our PLE grows by donating a portion of proceeds to The Nature Conservancy.
Safe Sun Protection You Can Trust
We’re proud of the safety and efficacy of Sundots, and that they provide safe sun protection you can trust. Our formulation is carefully designed to deliver a well-researched dose of PLE, a fern shown to be safe in 30+ years of use and strong human studies.
We’re also committed to keeping our formulation simple and provide complete ingredient transparency to customers. If you don’t see it on the label or our about page, it’s not in Sundots!
The result is a product that has everything we need and nothing we don't.
Ready to get started with Sundots?