PROPER NUTRITION CAN BE HARD to manage in today’s world of sub-par food options, especially if you live on-the-go. Fortunately, you can often times make up the difference by proper nutritional supplementation with vitamins and other natural compounds such as Calcium, Magnesium, or Fish Oil. It is important to purchase these items from the best supplement brands that have been shown to sell products not containing extra ingredients, added fillers, or other unwanted ingredients.
August Update Includes Additional Brands & Links to Online Availability
There are several brands of supplements considered to be Doctor-Trusted-Brands which have pharmaceutical-grade ingredients. These supplement brands go above-and-beyond the call of duty to adhere to very rigid manufacturing guidelines required by the FDA to be able to be trusted by healthcare practitioners around the world. These supplement brands will also be free of Gluten, Soy, Nuts, Fish, Shellfish, Dairy, Wheat, and many other common allergens.
Products such as Fish Oil, or Lactobaccillus Probiotics will sometimes contain one of these major allergens, but they are required by law to be clearly listed on the label. These products are also produced on specialized manufacturing equipment, and will not share the same manufacturing facility as products containing these allergens. Larger companies, such as store brands, are often unable to offer this extra degree of purity, and you will see disclaimers on the label similar to ‘This product was manufactured in a facility that also produces…’ which doesn’t necessarily mean that supplement brand is low quality—but usually means its not pharmaceutical grade quality.
The Best Supplements Support Natural Balance
More people are More people are starting to use vitamins and supplements to help treat such conditions as obesity, menopause, depression, anxiety, food intolerance, Celiac’s Disease, and many, many more chronic health conditions. Many of the factors standing accused of contributing to this global health crisis, such as GMO foods, synthetic food additives, and toxic residues are in many supplements found in stores. In many cases, these ingredients aren’t required by law to be listed on supplement labels—which is why it is so important to buy from Doctor Trusted supplement brands.
It’s unfortunate that such omissions of labeling are allowed to take place, but corporate interests run strong and often successfully lobby in opposition of shifting towards more transparent labeling regulations. It is important to know which manufacturers you can trust, and which ones offer pharmaceutical grade supplements, approved for clinical use by many doctors. These manufacturers make up a short list, but are quickly growing to meet a rising demand from consumers for a better option.
I have personally taken products from each and every one of these manufacturers, and can attest to their quality, potency, and purity. To get a better understanding of the considerations made when qualifying a supplement as “pharmaceutical grade,” check out our article Pharmaceutical Grade Supplements. Now, without any further ado, and a much better perspective on why it is important to purchase quality supplements; here is the list of the best supplement brands—with the pros and cons of each one. Do keep in mind that any of these brands are almost certain to be much better than any product you’ll find in stores—even your local health food store—and are often only available for purchase online, or through a licensed healthcare practitioner.
1. Biotics Research
This company is a stellar example of what one should expect from a pharmaceutical grade supplement manufacturer, and is constantly improving upon themselves and their products. Biotics Research manufacturers all of their own products within their own laboratories, never outsourcing. Them employ highly-specialized quality assurance teams that perform rigorous testing through the use of sophisticated analysis technologies such as high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC). This testing is conducted on all incoming raw material, during manufacture, and also on finished products before they are released for sale. All of their facilities are cGMP (current good manufacturing practices) certified, and is considered by many to not just be within this scope of compliance, but one of the companies that helps push such expectations.
Employ highly-specialized quality assurance teams that perform rigorous testing through the use of sophisticated analysis technologies such as high-pressure liquid chromatography
Biotics Research is a brand that I trust highly, and have had an amazing personal experience with their products over the years. They are renowned for offering a highly-pure, highly bio-available product that helps to ensure effectiveness and viability once in your system. Biotics Research’s focus on co-absorption factors such as minerals for chelation or added enzymes for better absorption really set this brand apart. Not only are the products they offer of the highest purity on the market, but they are also formulated from science-backed research which demonstrates their most viable form.
For example, their product Neuro-5-HTP Plus is a market contender for 5HTP, which is used to help calm stress and acts as a precursor to serotonin—our bodies’ most abundant neurotransmitter. This product is also thought help in the body’s digestive processes, helping to maintain healthy Microvilli (they line the gut walls.) To ensure their 5HTP product is completely bio-available, Biotics Research has included Niacin and Vitamin B6 to help with absorption, as well as Superoxide Dismutase and Catalase to help with enzymatic breakdown. This is a prime example of why this company belongs at the top of this list—their products are developed and manufactured in a superior manner, which helps get superior results.
Ultra-pure, hypoallergenic, and independently tested for potency and purity, Pure Encapsulations’ supplements lives up to their name by providing one of the purest products on the market. They maintain an FDA-inspected facility, are GMP certified, and are among the elite tier of supplements brands that frequently sell directly to Health Practitioners.
Pure Encapsulations prides themselves in the purity of their supplements, and guarantees that all supplements to be free from wheat, gluten, eggs, peanuts, glazes & coatings, GMOs, Magnessium Stearate, hydrogenated oils, and many more common allergens.
GMP certified, and are among the elite tier of supplements brands that frequently sell directly to Health Practitioners
In addition to such rigid standards of ingredients Pure Encapsulations also tests their products after they’ve been manufactured, to ensure that no contaminants are found before the supplements are made available to consumers. Included in these tests are measures to verify or check for identity, potency, contaminants, heavy metals, pesticide residue, and several other specialized attributes.
If you’re looking for high-quality, pure ingredients, Pure Encapsulations may be the brand for you. It’s my personal experience that this company excels in such supplements as Magnesium Citrate, Calcium Citrate, L-Theanine, and other types of supplements that typically involve a considerable amount of processing.
3. Douglas Laboratories
Douglas Laboratories has been around for over 60 years, hailing as one of the most well-respected manufacturers of pharmaceutical grade supplements on the market. They offer a wide variety of supplements and are most-renowned for addressing metabolic issues through natural endocrine supporters as well as highly bioavailable enzyme formulas.
Douglas laboratories operate a GMP compliant facility which is NSF registered, certified to produce organic products, and offers a unique guarantee to athletes that their products are free of any substances banned for formal competition. They are a socially-responsible company which donates a portion of their revenue to SOS Children’s villages, which helps care for orphaned and abandoned children.
Offers a unique guarantee to athletes that their products are free of any substances banned for formal competition.
Douglas laboratories has certainly earned their place on this list through many years of proving themselves as trustworthy. If you are looking for a natural means to address hormonal issues, Douglas Laboratories may be the brand you are looking for. It has been my personal experience that this company offers a highly pure product, and often helps to fill the gaps that are left in the product lines of other manufacturers.
An excellent example of the type of quality, specialized products from Douglas Laboratories is their Calcium D-Glucarate product, which aids in detoxification and energy production within the body. This supplement is not commonly found on store shelves, and rarely offered in a pharmaceutical grade form. To learn more about this supplement, check out our article Calcium D Glucarate: Aids Liver Detox & Cancer Prevention.
Founded in 1983, this California based manufacturer prides themselves in their utilization of science-backed supplements. They have conducted extensive research in the field of nutrigenomics—using supplements to help establish and maintain balance on a genetic level. By using this unique and powerful approach, Metagenics have firmly carved out a position amid the top five list of best pharmaceutical grade supplement manufacturers. Metagenics boasts the following quality assurances:
- Triple GMP certified
- 400+ Product Assays per year
- 3000+ Raw Ingredients Tested Annually
- Integrated Lifestyle Management programs
- 230+ Patents
- 80+ Published Scientific Essays
Metagenics takes their research seriously, just as they do the manufacture of their products. They are well-known for their specialization in fish oils, although they feature a robust product line ranging to many more supplements as well. My personal experience with this company has been through the use of their superior oil products such as the Metagenics OmegaGenics EPA-DHA 720, which is a concentrated marine fish oil blend. Unlike some fish oils, this product had very little odor and a subtle, yet pleasant, citrus flavor.
Another product that Metagenics is well-known for is the Metagenics Mag-Glycinate, which is a highly-absorbable form of magnesium that is well-suited for anyone trying to address a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium Glycinate is unique in that it doesn’t rely on one’s stomach acidity to be absorbed, and is able to use channels that are normally associated with amino acid absorption. This allows a much higher bowl tolerance, as well as a much higher level of absorption. To learn more about how magnesium supplements are beneficial to overall health, as well as which particular types of magnesium are beneficial to certain conditions, check out the article The Benefits of Magnesium Supplements.
Known as a leader of quality assurance, Vital Nutrients is another pharmaceutical grade supplement manufacturer that is trusted by doctors to treat a variety of health conditions. They offer a wide variety of products, and excel in their offering of slightly more specialized types of supplements and vitamins. Vital Nutrients has their own team of qualified health professionals which develop their products in accordance with data from scientific research.
This research is primary provided through data gained from human and animal clinical trials. Their manufacturing facilities are overseen by their own quality assurance team, and are certified cGMP by the FDA. Before one of their products hits the shelves, it is tested for Microbiological contaminants, residual solvents, heavy metals, aflatoxins, pesticides, melamine, PCBs, Dixions, and GMOs.
Vital Nutrients has their own team of qualified health professionals which develop their products in accordance with data gathered from scientific research
My personal experience with this company is fairly limited, and other than a few of their more basic minerals, I have only tried their Lithium Orotate. Their offering of this product is what first drew my attention to them, as this particular supplement is quite hard to find, especially in such high quality. Lithium Orotate is a specialized form of lithium that is much more able to cross the blood-brain barrier that that of Lithium Carbonate.
For example, 5MG of Lithium Orotate is as effective as a 180MG dose of Lithium Carbonate. This allows for the neuroprotective benefits of lithium to be seen without the commonly-associated toxic effects from prolonged usage. To learn more about this supplement, check out the article Lithium Orotate: A Powerful Neuroprotective Supplement.
Designs for health is another manufacturer that touts the classification of being doctor-approved, and is quite frequently prescribed by Health Practitioners and integrative doctors. Designs for Health have been in business since 1989 which is fairly new compared to industry averages, but still long enough to be considered an established company. They began their trip to the circle of most-trusted supplement manufacturers by providing nutritional counseling and educational services, which was so successful it lead to their development of customized supplements especially for their programs.
As with many manufacturers on this list, Designs for Health has been able to develop quality products and unique synergistic blends by relying on science-based research conducted by their own investigations. Quite appropriately, this company’s motto is “Science First.” For anyone abiding by the Paleo Diet’s guidelines, this company offers many products specifically designed to assist your unique dietary lifestyle, and is the self proclaimed “Paleo Company.”
Specifically designed to assist your unique dietary lifestyle, and is the self proclaimed—Paleo Company
Designs for help has an extensive product line, which covers all the basic vitamins and minerals that one is accustomed to seeing on the shelves. They have isolated compounds ranging from fish oils, minerals, and herbal extracts, to specially-formulated blends that offer a truly unique product such as their PurePaleo Protein Powder, their DermAvail Renew topical Anti-Oxidant skin cream m, and their Ribo-CarniClear.
My personal experience with this company is with their GI-Revive product, which is a synergistic blend of herbal ingredients as well as isolated compounds such as L-Glutamine. This product is designed to help restore digestive health, and is often recommended to take after exposure to prescription medications such as anti-fungals, anti-parasitics, and anti-biotics. I was very happy with my experience with the product, although there were a couple of items on the label that caught my attention, such as the “natural peach flavor.” Considering the quality of the brand, and their attention to details, I tend to lean towards assuming this flavoring is, in fact, all natural and poses little cause for concern.
ProThera is a nutritionally focused health care company which does much more than simply provide high quality supplements. They run a NSF cGMP certified facility which also offers private label supplements, as well as specially-formulated blends. Founded in 2001, this company launched into the health care world with an integrative formulation approach hell-bent of maximizing the synergistic behaviors between supplements, foods, and the body. This mindset has led ProThera to create many products to be regarded by Health care Practitioners and Integrative Doctors as being the most-pure and potent available on the market.
ProThera offers a wide line of products which have a majority of focus on digestive health. Their probiotics are regarded as the purest and most potent available, and often provide results to patients that have otherwise seen little effect from probiotic use. They offer DNA verified probiotics that are tested for viability, and kept under continual refrigeration until purchase to ensure potency. ProThera provides unique nutritional support for bariatric patients’ unique dietary needs, as well as many other hypo-allergenic products which focus on delivering and helping maximize the utilization of critical nutrition to the body. ProThera is the parent company of another pharmaceutical grade supplements manufacturer, Klaire Labs. Klaire labs also has a strong focus on digestive health, and offers a very powerful like of digestive and proteolytic enzymes which are hypo-allergenic and very pure.
[ProThera & Klaire Labs’] probiotics are regarded as the purest and most potent available, and often provide results to patients that have otherwise seen little effect from probiotic use
My personal experience with this company has been with their digestive health products, specifically their Betaine-HCL formula, which is an acidic supplement meant to help offset the decreased digestion associated with low stomach acid levels. This product was of a very high purity, and I noticed a considerable difference as I worked my way up from 2 capsules with each meal to 6. The majority of my experience with this company however has come from products produced by their subsidy, Klaire labs. Klaire labs has had much of the probiotics development shifted onto its shoulders, and now largely accounts for most all of probiotics sold under the ProThera umbrella.
Specifically, I have found their Ther-Biotic Detoxification Support probiotic product to be un-comparably potent. It can be a bit pricey, and has to ship 2 Day FedEx, as well as have special ice-pack packing supplied. However, if you want to feel the true potential that probiotics have to offer, Klaire Labs produces the most-potent products available for commercial sale. Also of note, is their biofilm-busting superstar Interfase Plus, which has a specially formulated blend of proteolytic and anti-fungal enzymes which offer powerful support in any anti-fungal or anti-biotic treatments by helping to “soften up” the targeted organisms making them more susceptible to effective treatment. Unfortunately these supplements are all limited to sale by licensed practitioners, which makes them unavailable in regular stores. You can, of course, still find them for purchase online.
Thorne Research is one of the industries leading manufacturers of pharmaceutical grade supplements, with an extensive product line and a quality line of specially-formulated products that aren’t found anywhere else. They are a NSF cGMP facility, and maintain some of the most rigid quality assurance practices within the country. As opposed to many supplement manufacturers, Thorne Research doesn’t simply abide by FDA regulations; they help define them, and push to increase their stringency on a regular basis.
Thorne Research has also partnered with such health authorities as The Mayo Clinic to develop clinical trials meant to help provide useful data on the effectiveness of supplements in addressing modern health concerns. For more in depth look at the history of Thorne Research, check out the article Pharmaceutical Grade Supplements, which discusses their company a bit more in depth. Simply put, this company is one that pushes product quality to a new level, and has seen a huge market response due to their dedication. You will be hard pressed to find another manufacturer putting out such a high quality product, while offering such a robust variety within their product line.
Partnered with such health authorities as The Mayo Clinic to develop clinical trials meant to help provide useful data on the effectiveness of supplements in addressing modern health concerns
Personally, I am a huge fan of Thorne Research for several reasons including their manufacturing practices in general, their unique product line, but also their product availability and affordability. Thorne Research offers direct to consumer sales from their website, so you don’t have to mess with any third party should you have questions, issues, or concerns with your order.
As far as availability, Thorne Research represents one of the few doctor-trusted pharmaceutical grade supplement brands that is often found in health food stores, as well as some chain retailers. My personal experience with this brand is with their anti-fungal product, Undecyn—a calcium Undecylenate & Berberine HCL blend, which was helpful for a SIBO issue I was having. As opposed to many other anti-fungal products, this product doesn’t create the unpleasant Herxheimer reaction experience during die-off. Rather, Thorne Research has formulated this product to trick the bad bacteria into releasing their grasp and be eliminated by the body naturally.
There are many other pharmaceutical grade manufacturers out there that offer truly magnificent products at very reasonable prices. With the rise in consumer demand for toxin free health products, as well as the growing interest in treating health conditions naturally, it is becoming easier to find these products. The following list details some of these companies that offer amazing products, and often manage to find a way to do so in an affordable way.
Buying Supplements Online
Most of the supplements on this list aren’t available for purchase in most stores, and aren’t available for order directly from their manufacturers. If you aren’t comfortable ordering these products online, you’ll need to find a local health professional that sells them directly. Typically, integrative MDs, Naturopathic Doctors, or other ‘alternative’ therapy practitioners prescribe and sell products from these supplement brands.
Fortunately, there are several websites which sell products from these supplement brands online and allow you to purchase them without any form of license or prescription. Legally speaking, it’s the same as buying any other brand out there—the restrictions are more company policy than anything else. If you’ve clicked any of the links in this article, you’ve likely already visited my favorite company to purchase supplements from—Pureformulas.com.
I have bought supplements from a LOT of different websites over the years, but Pureformulas was the only one that I felt was really in the ‘supplement’ business, and not just in the selling ‘something’ business. They’ve got all the specials and deals that you’d expect from a large retailer like 15% off your first three orders, free shipping, and even rewards points. What’s always sold me on them is their commitment to making available the best supplement brands—and even maintaining an updated list of Doctor Trusted Brands.
Pureformulas carries over 40,000 products at any given time, and seem to have added another valuable healthcare resource everytime I place an order with them (I order a LOT of supplements.) There’s plenty of other decent places to buy supplements from out there like Jet.com, Amazon.com, or a handful of others. Pureformulas is one of the few that is committed to helping you find the best supplements, from the best brands, that are trusted by doctors and healthcare professionals around the world. I buy from them personally, and would recommend them to anyone that is comfortable buying supplements online.