Vitamins and other dietary supplements in general can either be an essential part of your wellness routine or a needless waste of money!
Many people take supplements because they believe they are good for them without fully understanding how they work or whether they really do their health any good. It is important to note that vitamins and other forms of nutritional supplements may only be beneficial for certain people suffering from certain issues. They are not for everyone who just wants to improve his/her health because some company or “expert” says so.
Assuming you have done your research, or you have consulted with a healthcare professional, and you already know what you are looking for, the next step is to decide on a quality supplement brand to purchase and find a reliable place to get it from, and that’s what we are going to look at next.
A Reliable Supplement Vendor
PureFormulas is one of the best places to shop for all types of vitamins and supplements online. This neat website has a huge selection from some of the most trusted supplement brands on the market.
They are particularly known for being one of the few authorized online distributors of premium practitioner brands, such as Thorne, Integrative Therapeutics, Pure Encapsulations, Klaire Labs, and several others. They also have more affordable brands like NOW, Solgar and Nature’s Way.
This store offers free shipping on most products (depending on order amount), and they do ship to some destinations outside the USA but not to all countries. Orders are well packaged and shipped in a timely manner.
Should You Buy Supplements From Amazon?
It’s quite tempting to order everything you need from Amazon for the convenience it offers, but when it comes to dietary supplements, there are a few good reasons to avoid buying them from Amazon.
Fake products being freely sold on the internet is a particularly big issue in the unregulated supplement industry. The fact that Amazon allows anyone to sell almost anything on their platform without any vetting of the products or sellers makes it a bad idea to source your supplements from them.
A lot of times, you can’t tell if you are dealing with an authentic seller or a scammer. And you can’t just judge by the reviews, because Amazon has one of the internet’s largest collection of fake reviews!
Another common issue with the supplements offered for sale on Amazon is that they may be stored in poor conditions, which increases the chance of receiving a bad or damaged product. Complaints from Amazon customers having received a damaged container or a near-expiration item are quite common.
Although you can find many awesome deals for different goods on Amazon, when it comes to buying vitamins and herbal supplements, it’s safer to opt for online stores that specialize in selling health food products. This way, you are less likely to get scammed by an anonymous seller, which frequently happens to unsuspecting Amazon shoppers.
Are Practitioner Supplement Brands Better?
Some manufacturers make premium dietary supplements that are intended for professional medical use and mainly sold by healthcare practitioners, and these are known as practitioner or doctor-trusted brands.
Such brands are held to high standards in terms of their purity, potency and safety. Because the industry is unregulated, it is each manufacturer’s responsibility to make sure that their products are safe and effective, and you have to trust what the manufacturer claims.
With so many mislabeled and contaminated supplements being offered for sale not just on fly-by-night sites, but also at major retail stores, trust is a rare trait in this market.
Practitioner brands are usually distinguished by their strict quality and safety standards, and they perform multiple lab tests on both the raw ingredients and finished products to ensure that whatever is inside the bottle is identical to what is listed on the label.
In general, practitioner brands offer the best quality, finest ingredients and cleanest products. There are plenty of highly trusted options when it comes to professional supplement brands, which can be purchased from doctors’ offices or from authorized online distributors.
The only discouraging disadvantage of these high-end brands is the remarkably higher price. They cost more not necessarily because they use higher quality ingredients, but often because they spend a lot of money on marketing their products to local healthcare professionals. Price is not a true indicator of quality and there are numerous cheap brands with outstanding quality.
Whole Food vs. Synthetic Vitamins
When you talk about vitamins, most people automatically assume they are natural substances, but the word “natural” may be tricky when it comes to vitamin supplements. You see, the vitamins found in whole foods are 100% natural and safe to consume for everyone, but the same does not apply to vitamin supplements.
That multivitamin you’re taking every day most likely does not contain any natural vitamins that were sourced from food, but rather it contains synthetic vitamins. The majority of vitamins that are used in supplements are in fact synthetically produced in labs.
Isolated, synthetic vitamins may be useful in certain cases that require consuming a high dosage of one or more nutrients, however, it has been argued that they are not as beneficial to the body as the natural forms in whole foods. There are different nutrients and natural compounds in whole foods that help the body digest, absorb and make use of the vitamins that come with them.
Some companies try to emulate the goodness of whole foods by adding a blend of these to their vitamin formulas and label it as a whole food supplement. But the trick is, they still use synthetic vitamins and not food-derived ones as the title may imply. Most whole food supplements contain synthetic vitamins mixed with small amounts of whole foods.
The primary selling point of whole food vitamins is that the addition of a whole food blend helps the body digest and absorb the vitamins and other nutrients in the formula. Well, that may be true to some extent, but with the lack of reliable scientific studies, those claims of superior efficacy should not be taken too seriously.
And remember that almost all of the whole food vitamins on the market contain synthetic nutrients. A whole food supplement only means that the product contains some amount of whole foods (even if it’s a negligible trace amount), but it does not mean that all of the ingredients are made from whole foods since that’s almost never the case.
Are Vitamin Supplements Totally Safe?
Although vitamins are generally considered among the safest dietary supplements, that doesn’t mean they are completely safe for everyone to take. Certain vitamins and minerals at certain dosages may cause side effects and health problems for some people.
It is best to consult with a doctor before you start taking any supplement to evaluate its potential benefits and safety for you. Some supplements may worsen the symptoms of certain health conditions and some may have a negative interaction with other medications you’re taking, so it’s important to seek professional medical advice in order to rule out any possible risks.
Vitamins and other types of dietary supplements can be beneficial in some cases, but most people can do without them. If there is no medical need for you to take vitamins then simply don’t! A well-balanced diet rich in nutritious whole foods will do your body more good than any supplement out there.
If you are planning on ordering supplements from the internet, it’s better to avoid Amazon and instead choose a reputable online health store that sells authentic products from trusted brands. Take some time to research about each manufacturer you’re considering to learn more about their sourcing and testing processes. Use reliable educational sites while researching and don’t rely on subjective user reviews.