Buy Legit Vitamins & Supplements: 10 Best Trusted Brands

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Critics of the supplement industry often cite two major issues with it — first, there is very little (if any) credible scientific evidence to support the claimed benefits and efficacy of most dietary and herbal supplements. The second main problem is that the industry is unregulated and rife with subpar, mislabeled, bogus and even dangerous products.

It is true that many manufacturers, marketers and enthusiasts overblow the benefits of supplements, particularly multivitamins and vitamin-based formulas. Many even make outright false claims with zero scientific evidence. Buying supplements based on glorious company claims and/or user reviews is not a wise thing to do, and in doing so, many people end up wasting hundreds of dollars on supplements that don’t do them any good.

Misleading claims and sleazy products are quite common in this unregulated industry. Countless mislabeled and bogus supplements are being freely sold on Amazon, and even at some of the largest retail stores like Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, GNC, and others.

There are, however, plenty of decent vitamin brands on the market that you can trust. The following are ten of the most notable mentions of trustworthy supplement brands; five of which are premium practitioner brands and the other five are a little more affordable.

5 Best Practitioner Supplement Brands

Practitioner supplement brands are premium ones that are mainly distributed through healthcare professionals. These are the brands that doctors usually recommend to their patients. There are numerous manufacturers in this category that are generally known for making high-quality and thoroughly-tested supplements. On the downside, most practitioner brands are on the higher end of the price scale.

Practitioner brands usually make specialized formulas with medical-grade high dosages of certain ingredients, which are intended for professional use. They often urge customers to consult with a doctor before taking their products, although that is not necessary to purchase the products.

The following are five of the most reputable professional supplement manufacturers that make potent products and have high standards for ingredient sourcing, testing, quality and safety:

  • Vital Nutrients
  • Thorne
  • Integrative Therapeutics
  • Pure Encapsulations
  • Douglas Laboratories

You can shop for and order these professional supplements (as well as several others) at PureFormulas.

5 Best Affordable Supplement Brands

Unlike what some might think, cheap vitamins and supplements aren’t necessarily of bad quality. There are many low-cost supplement manufacturers that maintain outstanding quality standards and use quality ingredients that are tested for authenticity and safety.

Unless you are interested in a specific formula or ingredient that is not available elsewhere, there is really almost no need to pay the extra dollars for a fancy premium brand. The following are five of the best affordable supplement companies that are very trustworthy:

  • Solgar
  • NOW Foods
  • Source Naturals
  • Nature’s Way
  • Country Life

You can find and buy such affordable brands at PureFormulas.

Pros of Buying Vitamins and Supplements Online

There are a few advantages to ordering supplements on the internet, and these are some of the top reasons to do so:

  • Massive selection — When you go shopping for supplements at a local store, you may find several different brands to choose from, but not nearly as many as most online stores carry. Your choices are limitless online, and if one store is out of stock of a certain product, the next store is just a few clicks away.
  • No rush — If you care about what you put into your body, you should always carefully read the product label (supplement facts) and examine every ingredient it contains, including both the main active ingredients as well as additional ingredients. The latter usually include some problematic compounds (artificial additives, fillers, sweeteners, flavors, dyes, etc.) that health-conscious consumers prefer to steer clear of. When shopping online, you have all the time to read every word on the label and research about every ingredient you’re not familiar with — and you won’t be bothering anyone by being a picky customer.
  • User reviews — You should always take online reviews with a grain of salt, especially when it comes to dietary supplements that can be very subjective and individual in their usefulness. Add to that the fact that fake reviews and paid testimonials are a common marketing tactic in this industry. Nevertheless, you can sometimes learn something helpful by reading user reviews, in particular those that are posted on third-party sites rather than the company’s own site.

Cons of Buying Vitamins and Supplements Online

Here are a few of the top reasons why some people may be a little reluctant to order their pills via the internet:

  • Shipping delays and damages — If you need a product urgently, then go get it from a local store. Online orders may take days and even weeks to be delivered (depends on your location and shipping method). Sure, you can pay extra for express delivery, but nothing is guaranteed to arrive as promised, and unexpected shipping delays are very common. Additionally, some products require careful handling (e.g. glass bottles) and some may require cooling, in which cases the chance of receiving a damaged item gets higher.
  • Can’t check expiration date — Unlike shopping at a brick and mortar store where you can pick up any bottle and check the expiration date, you can’t do this when shopping online and you’ll only know the exact expiration date after you make the purchase and receive the product. Some online vendors may occasionally ship out items that are near their expiration date. This can especially be a big disappointment when you’ve bought more than one bottle of the same product. Make sure that the vendor accepts returns and will refund or replace your order just in case that happens to you.
  • Wrong product — Normally, you see a photo and a description of the product on the vendor’s website, but then they send you an item that doesn’t exactly match those. Some sites may not regularly update their products’ photos and descriptions, so in case the formula has recently changed, you may receive a product that is a little different than the one displayed on the website. And sometimes, you may just receive the wrong product altogether. When in doubt, check with the support team before you place an order.
  • Bad for your health — This one is a little ironic; you’re trying to get products to improve your health, yet you’re choosing the more convenient and lazy method of ordering online instead of taking a jog to the nearest local store! But you probably have a good reason for that!

Don’t Buy Vitamins Unless You Need Them

Multivitamins and all types of vitamin supplements in general are among the most overhyped products on the planet. You definitely don’t need to take vitamins to be healthy, even if you are not getting enough amounts from your regular diet.

It’s a big misconception, and a lie the industry capitalizes on, that if you don’t meet the recommended daily intake of each vitamin and mineral your body needs then you have a nutrient deficiency and thus need to take supplements. Your body doesn’t strictly function based on those recommended intake numbers, and it would take severe chronic deficiency to actually notice any negative symptoms, which only happens in rare cases.

There are certain cases where taking multivitamins or single vitamins can have benefits. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, these include women who are pregnant, nursing or going through menopause, people on restrictive diets (e.g. vegan), and people suffering from digestive disorders or absorption issues. Additionally, some other health conditions and medications may cause low levels of certain nutrients, which would justify supplementation.

If you are a healthy individual with no specific medical reason to take vitamins, then don’t buy any! You’ll very likely just waste your money and not get any healthier; on the contrary, taking high dosages of certain vitamins and minerals may result in annoying side effects and may end up causing more harm than good to your body in the long run.

Are Vitamin Supplements Natural or Synthetic?

It may be shocking news for some to learn that those vitamin pills they are popping every day aren’t made from natural ingredients. Supplement manufacturers don’t source vitamins from food, but rather they use synthetically made ones. Even the best and most expensive brands use synthetic nutrients in their formulas.

Synthetic vitamins are chemically identical to their natural counterparts and they basically have the same effect in the body. They have been used in many clinical studies and they are generally considered safe when consumed in moderate amounts.

However, many experts have questioned whether synthetic, isolated vitamins are as effective and safe as the natural ones. You see, when you eat nutritious fruits and vegetables, you consume vitamins and minerals alongside many other phytochemicals and natural compounds that work together to help the body absorb and utilize those nutrients. On the other hand, isolated vitamins in supplement form may not be as absorbable or beneficial to the body.

And don’t be fooled by the deceptively labeled “whole food” vitamins, which unlike what many consumers assume, are not food-sourced vitamins. Indeed, whole food vitamins do contain synthetic, lab-made vitamins, which are often fermented and blended with trace amounts of different foods, just so they can call it a whole food supplement.

Are Vitamins Worth The Money?

There is no argument that sticking with real, nutritious food is the best and healthiest way to provide your body with all of the essential nutrients. You don’t need to be taking vitamins every day or so because some internet “expert” or some random reviews on Amazon and other sites say you should. Vitamin supplements have their uses, but they are not for everyone or every case.

If you are asking whether taking a multivitamin is worth it or not, then the answer is more likely than not to be in the negative. You should only take vitamins when medically needed and professionally advised, otherwise, they may not be helpful or beneficial to you.

Are Herbal Supplements More Effective Than Vitamins?

Herbs are nature’s medicine; many herbs that have been used in traditional folk medicine for thousands of years have lately been scientifically studied, analyzed, and proven to contain natural medicinal compounds that possess potential therapeutic properties.

While vitamins may only be effective in case of a dietary deficiency, herbal supplements can be useful in a wider range of cases and may have more profound benefits. But with lacking scientific evidence, varying individual experiences, and often contradicting user reviews, taking any nutritional or herbal supplement is always such an iffy endeavor.

It is your job to do a comprehensive research, or better, consult with a doctor about which supplements may benefit you. But even after doing so, nothing is guaranteed to work for you until you try it for yourself.

Which Vitamins Provide More Energy?

The body needs certain vitamins and minerals to produce energy, and these include B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium and iron. If you eat a balanced diet then you probably already consume enough of these and other nutrients that are necessary for energy production. Taking additional amounts of these vitamins and minerals beyond what is needed will not produce more energy.

So, a multivitamin may provide more energy, but this is usually so when the user is suffering from a chronic deficiency in one or more of the nutrients mentioned above. Some groups of people may experience a more significant improvement in energy levels than others when taking a multivitamin — such as vegans not getting enough amounts of certain nutrients from their diet, as well as older people or people with certain diseases whose bodies don’t properly absorb some nutrients.

If increased energy is your goal, you may have better results with formulas that also include energy-boosting herbs rather than vitamins alone. Some of the most potent herbs that can help improve energy levels and combat fatigue include: Panax ginseng, ashwagandha, rhodiola rosea, and maca. You can also try each of these herbs individually to find the one that works best for you.

Are There Any FDA Approved Vitamins?

Vitamins and all other dietary supplements are not regulated or approved by the FDA. According to the National Institutes of Health, the FDA does not evaluate the effectiveness of any dietary supplements on the market. It is each manufacturer’s responsibility to ensure that their products are effective, safe, and accurately labeled.

But there are specific rules set by the FDA that manufacturers are required to adhere to, which are known as Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs). These rules are intended to ensure the identity, potency, and safety of dietary supplements and their ingredients.

The FDA has the authority to inspect manufacturing facilities to make sure that they follow good manufacturing practices. You have probably seen the common statement on the label stating that the product was manufactured in an FDA-inspected or a GMP-compliant facility. So, the FDA may only certify that the facility complies with GMP standards, but they don’t test or verify the products themselves.

Which Vitamins Are Manufactured in the USA?

Well, it gets a little tricky here, because although many US-based supplement companies (including the ones mentioned above) do manufacture the final products in the USA, almost all of the ingredients they use are sourced from other countries — and yes, that includes China.

If the label says “Made in the USA”, it just means that the final product was put together, encapsulated and packaged in the USA, but it doesn’t mean that the raw materials and ingredients used to make the product were produced domestically since that’s rarely the case. However, some ingredients — such as powdered fruits and vegetables — may be produced in local farms and sourced from local suppliers.

Each company has its own quality standards and requirements for the raw materials they import from other countries. Reputable brands only deal with reputable suppliers and they always test the raw ingredients locally to verify their identity, strength, and safety before they put them into their products. You can directly contact and ask the manufacturer about the source of the ingredients in a certain formula — some of them would happily share such details with their customers while others may not be very transparent about it.