Vitamins and supplements are one of the largest consumer industries in the world. In fact, the 2018 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements found that 75% of all US Adults take dietary supplements. That’s three out of four people you know! We’d say that qualifies knowing which supplement brands to buy from as being super important!
Supplements vs. Medications
Supplements aren’t like prescription medications for many reasons. Firstly, they’re regulated as food-products. Secondly, very few are able to make FDA-supported health claims. The language used on labels often seems to endorse products to be used for specific health reasons—but they can’t say it “cures” or can be used to “treat” any heath issue.
Supplements are Food, technically
That first reason—supplements being classified as food—has some far-reaching implications. It means that supplements aren’t required to undergo nearly as many quality assurance processes before shipping to consumers. The FDA maintains a set of guidelines (Current Good Manufacturing Practices) but only enforces them after-the-fact. In other words, they only step in when there’s a problem!
The Rinky-Dink Company Issue
So where does that leave us? You or I could buy 15 kilograms of generic rice powder from China, order in some Magnesium Oxide as well, cram everything into a bottle with a label we printed off our own inkjet printer—then start selling on Amazon! GMP be damned, we’re going to make some money! The thing is that even if we were to have our “facility” inspected by the FDA and be found in violation of GMP (necessitating a shutdown) we’d still hold on to profits generated until then.
The Labeling Issue
Supplement labels are well regulated but there are plenty of places for brands to hide dishonest intent. For example, using a “proprietary” blend allows manufacturers to circumnavigate the need to list individual ingredients. Our magnesium oxide supplement above could have the ingredients listed as follows:
MaxAbsorption Magnesium Blend™ 500mg
That blend could be 490mg rice powder and 10 mg magnesium oxide (arguably not well-absorbed at all , either.) There’s several other factors to consider as well. Listing inactive ingredients as active ones, active ingredients as inactive ones, not detailing which specific form of a compound is used, etc. At the end of the day, it’s a simpler approach to find a brand you trust rather than try to evaluate on a product-by-product basis.
Check out this video to better understand the importance of quality manufacturing practices:
Trusted Vitamin & Supplement Brands
We’ve covered the nitty-gritty now, so you should better understand why you’d want to know which supplement brands to trust. We live in a world of near-endless choices for everything. Want a can of tomato soup? Wal-Mart will give you 50 choices. Want a new sedan? Your local car dealer with give you 25 options. It’s overwhelming and almost impossible to navigate consumer space without a cheat-sheet anymore. Below are some of the brands we know and love.
Now has a wide range of products and can be found at most health food stores and grocery stores as well. You’ll recognize them as having bright orange bottles with purple labeling. They used to be the only brand that offered eggwhite protein powder, but have since grown much larger.
Garden of Life
You’ll find this brand at your local health food store, probably in the probiotics section. The specialize in whole-foods formulations designed to provide a full spectrum of micronutrients and co-factors required to fully utilize active ingredients.
This is a so-called “doctor-trusted” brand that isn’t available in stores. However, their products can be purchased online through retailers like Amazon, Vitacost, and eVitamins. They are more expensive but renowned for their purity of ingredients and quality assurance practices.
If you take herbal supplements you should, at least, be aware of Gaia Herbs. They offer a consumer line and a professional line of products that each utilize natural, organic, and Non-GMO certified production practices. They have tintures, capsules, powders, and even tea!
You’re likely to find this supplement brand’s products in a display at your local health food store. They come in brightly colored (by category) bottles, are incredibly cheap, and contain many Project Non-GMO certified and certified organic ingredients.
Solar comes in glass bottles with a sort-of bronzish colored label. They pride themselves in offering products free of any contaminants like dairy, shellfish, treenuts, soy, or other common allergens. They have a wide range of products, are found at most all supplement stores, and are one of the best vitamin and supplement brands out there.
Complete List of Vitamin & Supplement Brands
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to evaluating supplement brands. The one’s listed here are just a handful of dozens that are trusted to deliver high-quality products. There are lots of professional brands that offer incredible options but cost slightly more.
There are also more store brands that offer more niche options, like Nootropics or specific versions of compounds. Check out this comprehensive list of the best vitamin and supplement brands to get a complete rundown. You’ll find many brands aren’t available at local stores but, if you’re not afraid of buying supplements online, you can find trusted retailers for most all of the best brands.
What to Keep in Mind
With all this new information related to supplement brands it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Just remember that knowing which vitamin brands can be trusted can easily make you much more confident that your products are providing you the most benefits possible. These brands also typically use the most bioavailable form of compounds as well—just another benefit of shopping with trusted brands!