Do we really need vitamins?

show/hide words to know

Manufacturer: the person or company that makes a product.

Supplement: a product made to add something extra to a diet.

Verify: to check if something is true.

Which Brands of Vitamins are Best?

Vitamin aisle

The number of options of vitamins and supplements can be overwhelming. Image by Raysonho.

You walk down the vitamin aisle at the store and see shelf after shelf of bottles. There are at least 5 brands selling each kind of vitamin, and some have special ingredients. The options are overwhelming. Not all vitamins are the same, so how do you know which are best?

There are a few ways to find safe and quality brands. Some supplement companies volunteer to have a third party verify that what is listed on the label is actually in the bottle. Verification confirms a few things:

  1. Product consistency (one pill or bottle is the same as the next)
  2. Product quality (the product matches what is claimed on the label)
  3. Purity (nothing additional is found in the product)
  4. Potency (the listed concentration is correct).

Third-party companies are not associated with the vitamin manufacturer and they have the expertise to judge the product without bias. The United States Pharmacopeial (USP) Convention does just that. Check the USP website or look for the USP logo on supplement labels to know which ones have gone through this process. USP standards are recognized in over 140 countries.

Another third-party company that can determine supplement quality is Consumer Labs. This company randomly buys products from stores and companies to test them. If a company passes and they agree to periodic testing, then for a fee, they can display the “Approved Quality Seal” that ensures quality and safety. NSF international is another reliable third-party company that tests supplements. Keep in mind, none of these seals mean the product works.

Supplement company seals

These are some of the seals to look for on labels to know if a supplement is high quality.

Buying vitamin supplements with these logos may cost a little extra because it can be expensive to go through this verification process. But, you can feel more comfortable buying these products if you know they contain what they say. There are not many companies that go through this process, but new brands are added all the time. Ultimately, picking a brand you feel most comfortable with is key.


Additional images via Wikimedia Commons. Calcium supplements via Ragesoss.

View Citation

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Bibliographic details:

  • Article: How To Pick a Vitamin
  • Author(s): Danielle Penick
  • Publisher: Arizona State University School of Life Sciences Ask A Biologist
  • Site name: ASU - Ask A Biologist
  • Date published: May 7, 2018
  • Date accessed: September 15, 2019
  • Link: https://askabiologist.asu.edu/best-vitamins

APA Style

Danielle Penick. (2018, May 07). How To Pick a Vitamin. ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved September 15, 2019 from https://askabiologist.asu.edu/best-vitamins

American Psychological Association. For more info, see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/10/

Chicago Manual of Style

Danielle Penick. "How To Pick a Vitamin". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 07 May, 2018. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/best-vitamins

MLA 2017 Style

Danielle Penick. "How To Pick a Vitamin". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 07 May 2018. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 15 Sep 2019. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/best-vitamins

Modern Language Association, 7th Ed. For more info, see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/08/
Calcium pills

If you decide you want to take vitamins, how do you know which brand to choose?

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