Supplements Selection Guide
What are supplements?
Dietary supplements are products you take to supplement your diet. Since the modern lifestyle, stress and the food we eat can impact and sometimes seriously endanger our health (75% of diseases are lifestyle-related), supplements are needed to compensate for nutritional deficiencies and keep our health in balance.
We get vitamins and minerals from the foods we eat. For most of us, a healthy and varied diet can provide most of the nutrients we need. However, the quality of the soil can also impact the quality of the food. We need supplements to compensate for these nutritional deficiencies.
Think perfumes or essential oils – like strong essences are kept in small bottles, so are highly concentrated nutrients confined to a single pill.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. authority for dietary supplements: “Dietary supplements include such ingredients as vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and enzymes. Dietary supplements are marketed in forms such as tablets, capsules, softgels, gelcaps, powders, and liquids.”
Who needs to take supplements?
Not everybody needs to take supplements. In most cases, you can get all the vitamins and minerals from your food. Whole foods provide you with a variety of vitamins and minerals that are natural and, unlike substances from isolated supplement pills, work together in a holistic manner. Supplements come to supplement certain vitamins and minerals deficiencies, or to boost your energy levels. Age, poor diet, poor soil, hectic eating schedules have made supplements really needed in our lives.
For example, vitamin D, the most popular supplement on the market, is produced by our bodies naturally in the sunny seasons. The body produces more vitamin D (“the sunshine vitamin”) in summer when the skin is exposed to sunlight. At their doctor’s advice, most people should consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement during autumn and winter. Vitamin D is important because it plays an important role in immunity and supports healthy bones.
Other supplements like Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10, ubiquinone), an antioxidant that the body naturally produces until the age of 30, starts to decrease after this age. The body uses Coenzyme Q10 for energy, immunity and to support the heart function. Coenzyme Q10 is especially lower as you age or in people with chronic conditions, so supplements are needed to maintain healthy levels.
Other supplements (medicinal mushrooms, vitamin C, Selenium, Zinc) help boost the immune system and are helpful especially during cold months, or to support the natural aging process. A multivitamin complex is also helpful in spring when your body needs healthy nutrients to revitalize itself.
Other supplements are good for the brain (Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin E, Ginkgo biloba, caffeine), help maintain a healthy gut (probiotics), help with sleep (melatonin, valerian), and more.
It’s very important to note that certain supplements can interfere with some medicines and health conditions. If you fall into this category, you may want to check with your doctor before taking any supplements or vitamins on the market. Also, supplements cannot replace a healthy and varied diet, which works holistically to address the body’s nutritional needs. As their name suggest, the main role of supplements is to compensate the body’s nutritional deficiencies.
How to choose your supplement brand?
Similar to foods, not all supplements and vitamins were created equal. In fact, some products on the market have many additives and unhealthy ingredients that can do more harm, especially on the long term. The FDA does not review supplements for safety and effectiveness before they reach the consumer.
Since consumers are becoming more educated and take their health in their own hands (partially accelerated by the Coronavirus pandemic and digitalization), they need to make informed and educated decisions about what they put into their bodies. Since there are also supplements on the market full of additives, colorants, metals and other toxins, knowing what to choose becomes a top responsibility.
Quality and safety – choose a reputable brand with 3rd party testing from an independent, accredited lab.
“Certifications and independent testing labels are two important factors when choosing a vitamin brand. Supplements are not regulated by the FDA so it is up to brands to put forth the effort to ensure purity and potency through extra testing. Look for any of the following labels: NSF, GMP, Consumer Labs, or USP.”, according to Sydney Greene, MS, RD.
Other certifications include: USDA Organic, Certified Vegan, Non-GMO Project Verified, Certified Gluten-Free, Kosher.
Buy supplements made in the United States, European Union or other regulated markets: “This is one level of assurance, but still no guarantee. For example, the quality and potency of ginseng grown in Wisconsin differs from that grown in other countries, where such variables as the quality of the soil and how the material is transported and packaged is often hard to determine, says Memorial Sloan Kettering pharmacist and herbalist Simon Yeung, who oversees the Integrative Medicine Service’s “About Herbs” database.
Purchasing dietary supplements from a major health store, pharmacy, reputable company’s site or other established sources provide some quality assurance as well.
Formula: some formulas are standardized, which means manufacturers ensure every batch of their products is produced in a consistent way, with the same ingredients and same concentration of ingredients, usually tracking the ingredients from farm to the final product.
Watch this video about how to choose a quality dietary supplement:
That being said, reputable brands with certifications and ingredients tracking are the first layer of trust when browsing the supplements’ aisle or researching online. While it does not guarantee safety or efficiency, it can help you narrow down your selection and stop wasting money on cheap and inefficient products full of additives, contaminants or heavy metals. When the list is narrowed down to your trusted brands, you can decide what to choose based on the absorption form, price, claims and other information mentioned on the label.
Look for supplement brands that have passed the test of time. While timing on the market cannot guarantee supplements efficiency, it can point out that the brand is trustworthy and the products are most likely to be clean and without many consumers’ complaints.
Absorption: some supplements have better absorption such as liquids, gels and soft gummies. Check if the supplement has any ingredients that can improve their absorption such as piperine, microparticles. For example, the absorption of Coenzyme Q10 is much better when it is ingested together with a meal containing some fat.
Always read the label and take the supplement according to the recommended usage and dosage. Watch out for any cautions mentioned on the label. Always ask your doctor if you have any doubts or side effects from your supplements.
All this information and criteria can seem overwhelming, whether you buy them at the local drugstore or online.
To cut through the noise, we put together the brands that you should consider to narrow down your supplement selection. When it comes to what you put in your mouth, you should always use better quality products. However, a high price tag doesn’t necessarily mean better quality (look for promotions and discounts though). Check the certifications and reviews instead and don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor, especially if you have chronic diseases or taking other medication.
You should also pay attention to counterfeiting. Do not buy supplements from untrusted stores or websites that cannot guarantee the originality of the brands. It’s best to buy quality supplements from trusted brands.
Best Nutrition Supplement Brands You Can Trust
Nature’s Bounty – Be Your Healthy Best
50 years of trusted quality. Health-conscious people have trusted Nature’s Bounty for decades. Nature’s Bounty offers vitamins and supplements you can count on.
As the #1 Brand for Hair, Skin & Nails, Nature’s Bounty is dedicated to quality, consistency, and scientific research. By combining the latest breakthroughs in nutritional science with the finest ingredients, Nature’s Bounty offers vitamins and nutritional supplements of unrivaled excellence.
Solaray – Live Brighter
Since 1973, Solaray is one of the original pioneers in multivitamin health & wellness. It focuses on the belief that nature is the source of healthy nutrition and the key to wellness. Optimizing personal nutrition. it emphasizes the critical role vitamins and supplements play in health & wellness to help people everywhere Live Brighter and embrace the moments that matter most.
Helping people live healthier lives. Healthy starts inside, which is where the power of Nature’s Way begins. We’re here to meet you wherever you are on your wellness journey with more than 50 years of caring, unrivaled quality, and a broad range of products made for your unique needs.
Promoting a culture of care, with products designed to enhance and empower people on their wellness journey.
Science First: Formulating Health Since 1977. The goal of Jarrow Formulas® is to promote optimal health with high-quality, effective, affordable, and superior formulation of dietary supplements. Our staff of scientists and health professionals are actively involved in clinical studies and continually work with researchers from universities and institutes around the world.
Jarrow Formulas’ customers can be assured of purity, value and potency when choosing from our complete line of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, probiotics, enzymes, herbal extracts, specialty antioxidants, condition specific formulations, and protein blends.
Jarrow Formulas’ original goal has always remained the same: To design superior dietary supplements that help empower individuals to take charge of their own health.
Solgar – The Gold Standard since 1947
For 75 years Solgar® has been committed to quality, health, and well-being. Solgar ongoing mission is to create the finest nutritional supplements in small batches , with tireless research, using only the finest raw materials. At Solgar, quality is a way of life.
Start your healthy aging journey with the most trusted name in personalized, scientific wellness. As the leader in healthy aging and personalization, scientific wellness, Thorne has earned the trust of doctors, U.S. National Sports Teams, 100+ professional athletes and the Mayo Clinic. For more than 30 years, Thorne Research has invested in clean manufacturing practices.
At Pure Encapsulations®, we’ve spent the last 30 years researching, innovating, and developing our comprehensive line of premium supplements. Every one of our products is formulated using high‑quality, pure ingredients backed by verifiable science and Free From unnecessary additives and many common allergens.
We source high-quality ingredients from trusted suppliers that are backed by science and research, work closely with leading experts, and apply rigorous quality standards to create premium dietary supplements that you can feel good about and feel good from.
As a family-owned company since 1968 – NOW produces high-quality natural products at prices that everyone loves. NOW Foods makes natural products that empower people to lead healthier lives.
As a leading natural products company, the dedication to superior quality at value prices and safety has propelled NOW Foods from local health food store to industry leader offering the absolute best variety of high-quality supplements, essential oils, foods, and more. From field to finished product, NOW prioritizes quality at every step.
Life Extension – The Science of a Healthier Life
You want to live a longer, healthier life. You have come to the right place.
Get clinically-studied, premium vitamins and supplements and lab tests from the people who’ve spent 40 years passionately pursuing healthy living.
Achieve your goals with the best nutritional products that science can offer. Become an expert in your body’s unique needs by accessing groundbreaking information about the science of wellness, right at your fingertips. 40 years, and the best is yet to come.
Offers personalized daily vitamin packs.
Create a health plan with vitamins, supplements, and more that help you feel your best today and support you long-term. Find the right vitamins, protein, and collagen, personalized for you.
Care/of research and development team has traveled the globe so they can provide the most effective, bioavailable, and sustainable ingredients possible.
Ritual is a subscription-based supplement company that offers a variety of multivitamins and protein powders made from simple, high quality ingredients.
Founded in 2016, Ritual has become one of the most popular brands for nutritional supplements, thanks to its transparency and its traceable ingredient lists.
Jump start healthy habits with Nature Made® Vitamins and Supplements. Over 50 years of expertise. A pioneer in vitamins and supplements since 1971.
#1 Pharmacist Recommended Vitamin and Supplement Brand (based on a survey of pharmacists who recommend branded vitamins and supplements).
Backed by science, made for you. Find the right solutions for your personal health needs.
Supplements to support your health. Grounded in decades of research, Nature Made delivers quality you can count on.
The most USP verified products on the market. USP has tested and verified ingredients, potency and manufacturing process. USP sets official standards for dietary supplements.
Puritan’s Pride® Herbal Supplements supports your wellness goals. Since 1973, Puritan’s Pride offers vitamins and supplements for the whole family.
Tested and inspected as many as 15 times to ensure its products are pure, potent and consistenty formulated to the highest standards.
Puritan’s Pride was established to provide customers with quality vitamins, caring services and value pricing. Puritan’s Pride mission is to make the highest quality nutritional supplements available at the best value.
Trusted and loved for over 40 years, US manufactured, and sourced from around the world.
Garden of Life
On a mission to Empowering Extraordinary Health® – ensure that we are offering clean, traceable, clinically studied ingredients in the most sustainable way possible.
There are four principles that guide the process at Garden of Life: the science of whole food, traceability, clean is healthy, carbon neutrality.
Clean vitamins and supplements: Certified USDA Organic, Certified Vegan, non-GMO, NSF Gluten-Free Certified, Peta Cruelty-Free & Vegan, Star-K Kosher, NSF Certified for Sport. The third-party certifications require rigorous standards to offer clean products you can trust.
Committed to sustainability – Garden of Life is the first vitamin and supplement brand to be Certified Carbon Neutral.
Nordic Naturals is proud to be the #1 fish oil in the United States and a global leader in the omega-3 marketplace.
Revolutionizing Omega-3s since 1995: Nordic Pharma, Nordic Naturals’ new omega-3 manufacturing plant in Arctic Norway, is one of the most advanced processing plants in the omega-3 industry.
Nordic Naturals is committed to delivering the world’s safest and most effective nutrients essential to health.
With over 20 years experience making good on the promise of great health, they believe that no challenge is too great. Their committment is to make the world’s safest, most effective nutrients essential to health.
Quality matters: Nordic Naturals carefully tests every product lot to ensure the products are free from environmental toxins and contaminants. Nordic Naturals offer their customers the purest essential nutrients, made with manufacturing technologies and business practices that are sustainable well into the future.
For over 35 years, Integrative Therapeutics has been focused on producing clinician-developed nutritional supplements for patients seeking to take control of their health.
Integrative Therapeutics has a rich history of exclusive products developed by clinicians, made with premium ingredients, and backed by science, to support you with every step of your health journey.
Integrative Therapeutics invests in innovation and qualitative and quantitative research to provide high-quality supplements to address a variety of concerns. Integrative Therapeutics is dedicated to ensuring that the products are clinician curated, adhere to the highest manufacturing standards, and have the support and trust of clinicians and patients alike.
Certifications: NSF GMP Registered Dietary Supplements, Emerson Quality Program.
Mushroom Wisdom, Inc. (formerly Maitake Products, Inc.) is a global leader in the development, production and research of mushroom supplements. The company introduced the Maitake mushroom to America in 1991.
Maximize your health and vitality with mushrooms. Over 30 years continuing to support the exploration and use of mushroom-based supplements to help you achieve your health goals.
Mushroom Wisdom brings the healthful benefits of mushrooms, backed by rigorous scientific research, to the daily routines of consumers worldwide. It offers a complete product line, including specific mushroom products developed to support the immune system, brain function, blood sugar levels, breast health, prostate health and more.