Quality vitamins and supplements are hard to find. Store brands and generics often contain contaminated ingredients, unnecessary fillers, or are mislabeled entirely. Knowing which supplement brands offer pure and powerful products can help ensure you get the nutrition you need to thrive.
Supplements are more popular than ever before and there are now a staggering number of options to choose from. The FDA’s guidelines governing supplement manufacturing is less stringent than other comparable industries. In many ways, it takes a reactionary stance rather than a proactive role. In other words, they only step after there’s already an issue. It allows us better access to more nutritional products but also requires we make more effort to research the vitamin and supplement brands we buy from—to assure we’re getting a quality product.
Levels of Quality
Vitamins and supplements should be considered in terms of their balance between quality, pricing, and availability. Each of these has their own considerations to account for as well but, as a general guiding principle, can help find the best supplement brands for your needs. Brands that are of higher quality tend to be priced higher as well. Brands that are cheaper tend to be of lesser quality. Brands that aren’t available simply won’t do you any good at all! We group vitamins and supplements into three primary categories:
These are the doctor-trusted supplement brands that offer the highest quality product possible. You’ll pay more but you’ll also rest easy knowing you’re getting the purest and most potent supplements available. These brands aren’t available in most in stores but can be bought directly through doctors, nutritionists, or some authorized online retailers.
These brands are those you’ll find in your local health food store, retailers like GNC, The Vitamin Shoppe, and some grocers such as Whole Foods. Navigating these brands can be a nightmare. Without prior knowledge of a company, one must rely on labels and store clerk recommendations as far as quality goes. Some are great, some are horrible, and some will do in a pinch.
We recommend staying away from store brands if at all possible. These are mass-produced and notorious for containing mislabeled or out-of-date ingredients. These are supplements sold by stores such as Costco, Wal-Mart, and Walgreen’s. Just to be clear—we’re talking about generic brands, not well-known brands sold by these retailers. These brands are usually the name of the retailer. For example, Walgreen’s has their own Walgreen’s brand. We recommend staying away from it.
Best Vitamin & Supplement Brands
This guide includes brands that range in quality, availability, and pricing. Each of these vitamin and supplement brands brings something unique to the table and stand out among comparable brands. Brands not included here shouldn’t be regarded as “bad” or “low-quality” and should be assessed using the principles and characteristics of other quality brands. In other words, just because your favorite brand isn’t featured here doesn’t mean we think it is low quality.
NOTE: Ratings are relative to the category. A 4-star practitioner brand is, in almost all circumstances, better than a 5-star consumer brand.
These are brands relied upon by health professionals to deliver clinical-strength results. Almost all of these brands are available only from licensed health professionals such as doctors, nutritionists, or integrated practitioners. They are produced in FDA-registered GMP facilities, are free of common allergens like Gluten, shellfish, or dairy, and bring with them many certifications from third parties such as NSF International or The United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP).
Pure Encapsulations supplements are ultra-pure, hypoallergenic, and independently tested for potency. These supplements live up to their name by providing one of the purest and uniquely-blended products on the market. They operate their own dedicated facility that is NSF-Certified GMP. Pure Encapsulations’ supplements are certified to be free from wheat, gluten, eggs, peanuts, glazes & coatings, GMOs, hydrogenated oils, and many more common allergens.
Thorne Research is an example of a brand that leads by example. They operate their own NSF-Certified GMP facility and have a team of dedicated doctors and analysts continually working to create optimal formulations. Thorne is also one of few brands that operate a facility that is NSF Certified for Sport as well. This means any products labeled as such as guaranteed to be free of traces of substances that would disqualify one from the professional athletic competition.
Klaire Labs is renowned among health professionals as offering the purest and most potent probiotics on the market. The adhere to strict cGMP practices, are NSF-registered and certify that all their products are Non-GMO and allergen free. Even their dairy-derived species are suitable for consumption by those with lactose intolerance! Many of Klaire Labs’ probiotics contain clinically-studied bacteria to ensure results comparable to those in clinical conditions. If you’re buying their products online make sure they ship on ice to preserve potency!
Standard Process is one of the most unique supplement brands on this list. They’ve been around since 1929, are family owned, have a whole-foods-first approach, and maintain a 420-acre certified organic farm from which they source their raw ingredients from. Standard Process has a tremendous catalog of vitamins and supplements sold as some of the most uniquely formulated blends we’ve ever seen. They’ve been trusted by health practitioners for decades to deliver high quality results.
Douglas Laboratories operates their own manufacturing facility that is both NSF-Certifed GMP and NSF Certified for Sport. They are another example of companies that characterize social responsibility through programs such as their Growing Together, involvement in developing nations, and support of employee initiatives. They’ve been around for more than 60 years and know a thing or two about making incredible supplements. Notable products by Douglas Labs are their Kleane Athlete line and their free-form amino acid products.
Metagenics is a stellar example of quality supplements and responsible corporate operations. They hold dozens of patents, partner with dozens of universities, and have authored dozens of peer-reviewed papers all in the name of pushing forward our collective understanding of nutrition and health. They’re pretty impressive. They truly are one of the best vitamin and supplement brands on Earth and we’ve never met anyone with a bad thing to say about them.
Designs for Health
Designs for Health got their start as a nutritional consulting company nearly 30 years ago. They’re referred to by many as “The Paleo Company” and feature a generous lineup of Paleo-friendly nutritional products such as protein bars, IgG powders, and even detox kits. They’re NSF-Registered, have their own manufacturing facility, and market directly to licensed healthcare professionals. Designs for Health is one of the best vitamin brands on the market but we will warn readers that they are slightly expensive, even among doctor-trusted brands.
Vital Nutrients maintains an in-house team of qualified health professionals to formulate their products in accordance with scientific data for maximum potency and efficacy. Their manufacturing facilities are FDA-registered, cGMP compliant, but not NSF-Registered GMP. 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. Overall, Vital Nutrients has a well-deserved place on this list and is recommended by professional health practitioners globally.
Biotics Research uses specialized quality assurance teams to rigorously test their products through cutting-edge methods such as high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC). They’re a FDA-registered facility with GMP practices exceeding those outlined by the FDA but are not currently NSF-Registered GMP. Biotics Research has been around for 40+ years and have been mentioned as one of the best vitamin and supplement manufacturers by nearly every practitioner we’ve spoken with.
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.
These companies all put quality above price considerations and commit themselves to provide non-GMO ingredients, non-allergenic and gluten-free supplements. Most of these brands can be found in local health food stores or some larger chain stores such as Whole Foods or The Vitamin Shoppe. Each of these brands is also available online at many retailers such as Amazon which can save you a considerable amount of money on cost and shipping.
Where to Buy
Many of the vitamin and supplement brands listed here aren’t available for purchase in local stores. Practitioner brands, such as Thorne or Pure Formulas, require that retailers have a licensed health professional on staff to sell their products. Some local health food stores fall into this category—but there aren’t many! There are several avenues by which one can go about getting these types of quality products and each has their advantages and disadvantages.
The highest quality supplement brands are often only available directly from doctors, nutritionists, or other licensed professionals. Many professionals maintain their own supplement store where you can shop once you’re a registered patient. Licensed professionals can also give you a referral code which allows you to order directly from supplement brands’ websites (the ones that don’t offer public sales.) In most cases, however, you’ll not find brands such as Pure Encapsulations, Thorne, or Metagenics in local health food stores.
Many brands listed here offer sales directly to consumers through their websites. These products come directly from the manufacturer and are guaranteed to be of the highest possible quality. In recent years, manufacturers have begun to realize that consumers are going to purchase their products on Amazon—whether they’re from authorized sources or not. In an effort to maintain better quality control, supplements from most of these brands are now available from authorized sellers on Amazon and they even maintain official storefront pages there.
Below you’ll find some articles that will help better explain supplement quality and other important considerations to make when buying supplements. Some are meant to help you find the best products available and others will help better explain the importance of manufacturer Trust and quality within the supplement industry.
The supplement brands on this list represent some of the most-powerful compounds on the market and are often recommended by licensed health care professionals in the treatment of their patients. It is recommended that you seek the advice of a licensed professional before altering your diet, supplements, or current medications in any way. You shouldn’t consider this article as advice on which supplements are the best suited for your individual needs—just which supplement brands offer you the purest, most powerful, and trustworthy product available on the market.
Are We Doing a Good Job?
Use the rating box below to let us know if we’re doing a good job, missing the mark, or downright failing. Your feedback helps us improve the quality of our articles and reviews.