Deciding on the best vitamin brand is challenging because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not regulate the vitamin and supplement industry.
Due to the lack of FDA regulation, people must rely on independent third party organizations testing the supplements for quality or on a company’s statements about their own testing policies.
In this article, we explain how some organizations assess vitamins and supplements and review some of the best vitamin brands.
The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) is an independent organization that verifies and certifies products that meet specific quality standards. To be USP verified, a product must:
- not contain a certain level of contaminants
- contain ingredients that the label lists in the proper amounts and potencies
- break down properly in the body
In addition, the company must follow the FDA’s current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) for sanitation and well-controlled procedures.
For nearly 2 decades, the U.S. News and Pharmacy Times have co-authored an annual survey that goes out to pharmacists nationwide. The survey asks pharmacists for their top picks among a variety of healthcare-related products, including vitamins and supplements.
As the ranking is by product, not manufacturer, a person should exercise caution to make sure that they are looking at the current year’s winning product.
Here, we review 11 of the best vitamin brands and give examples of the type of supplements that they offer.
Please note that no one at Medical News Today, including the writer, has tested these products. All information is research-based.
Nature Made offer several vitamin and supplement products that are both USP certified and the #1 Pharmacist Recommended brand.
The range of supplements that the company offer include:
- prenatal vitamins
- individual vitamins (A, B, C, D)
The prices vary depending on the product and the amount that comes in the package.
Kirkland Signature is a Costco Wholesale brand that offers several USP certified vitamins and minerals.
The range of Kirkland Signature supplements includes:
- individual vitamins, such as A, B, C, and D
- fish oil
The prices are generally lower than those of other brands. Costco Wholesale clearly label the products with the USP seal, where relevant.
Klean Athlete’s line of vitamins caters to people who wish to use supplements alongside an active lifestyle. The company have received the NSF International’s Certified for Sport certificate on their products.
NSF are a third party reviewer of sports-related supplements and products. They help ensure that products are contaminant-free and fit within the guidelines of sports organizations’ regulations.
Klean Athlete offer several products, including:
- recovery supplements
- other products useful for active people
Although Life Extension do not have a USP certificate, a ConsumerLab.com survey rated some of their supplements highly in 2019.
ConsumerLab.com are similar to the USP in that they provide quality and potency standards for supplements and vitamins.
Life Extension offer several types of supplements. These include:
- fish oils
Amazon Elements are a relatively new brand, and their products are available to buy online using an Amazon Prime account.
Amazon Elements claim to be transparent and well-tested. Although they are not USP verified yet and do not feature on ConsumerLab.com, they are made in a cGMP facility in the U.S. and contain the certificate of analysis (CoA) for each product (accessible via QR labels on the packaging).
They offer a variety of products, including:
Nordic Naturals claim to test their products thoroughly. On request, they provide their own CoA for every product that they create. ConsumerLab.com have also tested and verified some of their products.
Nordic Naturals offer several vitamin and supplement options, which include:
- omega-3 supplements
SmartyPants provide customers with a certificate of compliance specific to the batch number. It is not clear whether third party organizations review their vitamins and supplements.
SmartyPants offer several different types of vitamins and supplements, and their range includes:
- vitamins for females
- vitamins for males
- vitamins for kids
- vitamins for pets
Thorne Research offer a variety of vitamins and supplements, including amino acids, omega-3 supplements, and supplements for bone and joint health.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), NSF, and cGMP certify one or more of their products. These certifications confirm that Thorne Research meet standards in manufacturing, purity, and potency.
Standard Process carry out numerous testing and quality control checks at different stages of producing supplements.
It does not appear that third party organizations have tested or certified any of their products. However, Standard Process do claim to use the same methods as organizations such as the USP to analyze their products.
They offer gluten-free products for people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
Garden of Life
For people looking for vegan supplements or those free of dairy, gluten, or soy, Garden of Life offer a variety of products, from multivitamins to probiotics.
They also offer numerous certificates on their products, ranging from NSF to non-GMO and organic labels.
MegaFood sell numerous supplements. Similar to Garden of Life, they offer a variety of third party certificates confirming the quality and origin of their products. They offer probiotics, prenatal vitamins, multivitamins, and more.
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