The Best Natural Vitamin Brands + How-To-Buy Guide

The Best Natural Vitamin Brands + How-To-Buy Guide

The best vitamin brands are hard to distinguish from low quality brands on the market today because all vitamin companies want to sell their product to you.  

No wonder people get confused in the supplement aisles, local health food stores, and when shopping online for vitamins!  

Supplement brands do vary a lot in quality, so this post is here to help you distinguish the best vitamins and supplements from those that you should leave on the shelf

I will also teach you the criteria to look for so that you can always make sound decisions when looking for quality supplement vitamin brands. 

{As an Amazon affiliate, I make income from qualifying purchases from links in this post}

What to look for in vitamin products 

The 10 top criteria to look for in a quality supplement are given to you here using a functional nutrition perspective.  

If you are like most people, you want a supplement that makes you feel better and helps reduce health issues, not create more

The premise of functional nutrition and supplements are that you should replace nutrients in their natural forms to help get to the root cause of illnesses.  The root causes of illnesses often are lack of the right antioxidants and nutrients. 

Other important things to consider are that our foods today aren’t usually providing us with what they need on a daily basis, as research shows [R].  

This means our bodies can suffer without adequate micronutrients, which contribute to feeling poorly and making our immune systems suffer. 

Supplements and recommendations I’m including in this post meet the most rigorous of standards.  Here are the criteria you want for best health:

 

1.   Look for GMP vitamins certification

For the best vitamin brands, certification of quality, potency, and purity is important. 

You can look for GMP on your label to know if your supplement has what it says it has.  GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) certified vitamin supplements are consistently high in quality and help guarantee pure products because they are checked for quality by independent third party companies [R].

However, most retail supplements are not GMP supplements certified, so make sure to look for one of these symbols on the label.

GMP certification label by The Healthy RD

NSF International is a company that often conducts the third party testing to assure that vitamin and supplement products meet safety and health standards. 

 

2.   Find moderate vitamin doses-usually

 If you are eating a healthy diet, you can get many (but likely not all!) nutrients from your diet. Most people benefit from moderate doses of vitamins, but more is not always better. 

Generally, around 100% of the RDI is a good starting point for most vitamins, but there are several exceptions. 

Some people require higher doses of vitamins than are in a multivitamin.  For example:

  • Vitamin D is a nutrient that you may need more than the RDI levels.
  • Certain metabolic conditions require high-dose vitamins.
  • Many medications make it so you require more than the RDI for vitamins. 

When do high doses of vitamins cause harm?

  • High doses of some vitamins types, like vitamin E, can increase your risk of bleeding. 
  • While most Americans are low in vitamin E, a moderate dose of added vitamin E in natural forms is best.

If you are taking high doses of vitamins, it is best to check with your health provider that is knowledgeable about nutrition, such as a functional medicine doctor or functional nutritionist.

 

3.  Activated vitamin forms are usually better

Activated vitamins are usually the best option for health because they don’t rely on the body’s enzymes to be efficient at converting into ideal forms of vitamins.  

  • A good example of this is activated folate or activated B6 as pyridoxal-5-phosphate, which are both activated B-vitamins.   
  • Other examples of activated vitamins are vitamin D3-a better form of vitamin D than vitamin D2. 

Tip:  prescription vitamin D2 contain the less-desirable form of vitamin D2.

Another example of an activated vitamin is retinol palmitate, which can be preferable over beta carotene. Around 40% of people don’t efficiently make active vitamin A in their bodies.  

 

4.       Capsules of vitamins or chewable vitamin forms are best

Simply put, capsules, chewables, and liquid vitamins are easier for the body to break down than tablets. 

With tablet vitamin forms, much of it may go directly into the toilet, unfortunately.  

Capsules are also less likely to be full of filler ingredients than tablets-that your body doesn’t need. 

Chewable vitamins are great options for children because they often can’t swallow capsules.

Tip:  Avoid gummy vitamins for adults and gummy vitamins for children. Most gummy vitamins are more candy than vitamins. They may taste good, but are very lacking!

The exception for gummies is when you want to take extra vitamin C or extra vitamin D. In this case, taking a gummy vitamin is fine. 

 

5.   Find absorbable minerals

 Supplements often get it wrong about mineral forms. For example, some forms of minerals pass through the body without absorbing well, if at all.  

A supplement brand is only as good as its ability to absorb-and this isn’t always easy to find. 

Tips:

  • Avoid magnesium oxide or zinc oxide minerals: these are in almost all retail vitamin and mineral supplements!
  • Choose magnesium, zinc, or potassium that is attached to amino acids or organic compounds.  

This is called chelation. 

Good examples of chelated minerals are bound to an amino acid.  Examples are dimagnesium malate and ascorbate or magnesium glycinate.

 

6.       Get natural forms of vitamins

Vitamins in their natural forms work better than synthetic vitamins.  For example, natural folate is better than folic acid for most people. 

  • Recent research shows that folic acid may be problematic for health due to many people’s difficulty with its metabolism.
  •  After all, folic acid is synthetic and just different enough from the natural form that people often can’t metabolize it.  

A common gene variant called MTHFR makes folic acid supplements problematic because they can block folate receptors in the body. With this, you may have unmetabolized folic acid in your bloodstream. 

Tip: Choose a natural folate supplement.  You can look for these on a label to find natural folate supplement forms:

  • Folate 
  • L-MTHF (l-methyltetrahydrofolate)
  • Folinic acid
  • Levomefolate
  • Calcium folinate
  • Methylfolate

 

7.   Should contain natural antioxidants

Natural antioxidant supplements are going to also be rich in vitamins and vise versa.  

  • Vitamin supplements=-natural variety are going to help dampen down inflammation as well as replenish the body with nutrients. 
  • This means that supplements with natural antioxidants and vitamins are going to be healthier than synthetic vitamins. 

Tip: The best vitamin manufacturers don’t manufacture vitamins at all-they extract vitamins from foods. 

Examples would be folate from lemons, vitamin C from broccoli; this means you are going to get thousands of antioxidants rather than just a few. 

  

8.   Whole food-based vitamins are best

 Your body isn’t easily fooled by synthetic vitamins.  Synthetic vitamins are close, but not identical to the natural vitamin forms, and the body can tell. 

If your nutrients are made in a factory, they are less likely to be absorbed and metabolized well by the body. 

 Look for vitamins and minerals sourced from whole foods. The top nutritional supplement brands in the world are transparent about ingredients, sourcing, and quality. 

  

9.   Good vitamin supplements should help reduce inflammation

Inflammation is the root of most diseases and debility today.  Your vitamin supplement should help reduce inflammation!

Anti-inflammatory compounds that you should look for in a supplement are: selenium from mushrooms, vitamin D from lichen, carotenoids from spinach and peppers as good examples.  A good source of vitamin B12 is from liver in some supplements.  

Tip: read the ingredients and look for foods you can pronounce as vitamin sources.

 

10.   Good-quality supplements should be easy on the stomach

Many people stop their vitamin supplements because they feel worse when they take them and get stomach pains and discomfort. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Synthetic vitamins are usually harsher on the body than natural ones. 
  • Low-quality minerals don’t absorb well either, leaving your belly with unease. 
  • Factory made vitamins may create intestinal imbalances from additives and chemicals.

Dietary supplements get a bad name because they make people feel bad-but they shouldn’t if they are good quality. 

Look for vitamins that contain natural digestive enzymes and herbs that support digestion.

Tips:

  • You should always take your supplements with food for better absorption and to help ease your stomach. 
  • Take your supplements in smaller, more frequent doses, at least twice a day to also be easy on the stomach.

 

Best vitamin brands criteria

The following 10 vitamin companies include the best organic supplements and vitamin companies that are free of synthetic ingredients, have GMP certification, use organic whole foods whenever possible, and get high ratings.  All of the brands are also reasonably priced.  They may not be the cheapest vitamins on the market, but cheap vitamins are usually is not high-quality either.  Sometimes cheap ones do more harm than good!


 

 

  1.  ◊Garden of Life is a consumer brand that carries only natural ingredients in their products. 
  2.  ◊They are widely available online and in health food stores.  
  3.  ◊Garden of Life MyKind Organic Multivitamin includes selenium for prostate health, B vitamins for energy and heart health, and D3 vitamin from lichen
  4.  ◊Free of synthetic ingredients, no binders, no fillers, and is non GMO verified
  5.  ◊Whole food multivitamin
  6.  ◊Vegan multivitamin, gluten free

 


 

  1.  ◊Global Healing Center is a consumer brand that carries only organic natural ingredients in their products. 
  2.  ◊Available online
  3.  ◊They have vegan DHA supplements and lichen vitamin D3
  4.   ◊My favorite brand for herbal tinctures, such as tulsi tincture and moringa tincture
  5.  ◊Free of synthetic ingredients, no binders, no fillers, and is non GMO verified
  6.  ◊Whole food vitamins only, best vitamin brand for organic and also organic vegan vitamins 
  7.  ◊Gluten free and GMP certified

 

 


Claire labs vitamins by The Healthy RD

  1. ◊Klaire labs is a consumer brand that carries only natural ingredients in their products.
  2. ◊They are widely available online and carry a wide variety of supplements
  3. ◊Feature the best probiotics with 12 strains of bacteria, 25 billion CFU, and designed to absorb in the small intestine where they aren’t destroyed by stomach acid.
  4. ◊Free of synthetic ingredients, no binders, no fillers, and is non GMO verified
  5. ◊Whole food multivitamins are contained in all Klaire multivitamins. Klaire Labs makes all-organic vegan protein shakes as well.
  6. ◊Multivitamin are gluten free and free of major allergens

 



Carlson vitamins by The Healthy RD

  1.  ◊Carlson supplements company uses clinically proven forms of nutrients, patented forms, is third-party tested
  2.   ◊Available online and in retail stores
  3.  ◊Free of synthetic ingredients, no binders, no fillers, and is non GMO verified
  4.  ◊Bone health vitamins and cardiovascular support from Carlson include vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 as menaQ7® Wild Norwegiean Eco Smart Omega 3’s from a sustainable source, free of heavy metals
  5.  ◊Gluten free and GMP certified
  6. ◊ My favorite brand for bone health because they use therapeutic doses and clinically studied forms of vitamins

 

 


Nutra Champs Vitamins by The Healthy RD

 

  1.  ◊Nutra Champs supplements company uses clinically proven forms of nutrients, is third-party tested
  2.   ◊Available online- a newer company with impressive standards
  3.  ◊Free of synthetic ingredients, no binders, no fillers, and is non GMO verified
  4.  ◊Whole food vitamins only, best vitamin brand for organic and also vegan vitamins 
  5.  ◊Gluten free and GMP certified
  6.  ◊ Nutra Champs is the only company I can find that contains an all-natural eye vitamin supplement called Optify Eye Health.  Other eye vitamin brands on the market contain synthetics. 

 

 

 


Douglas laboratories vitamins review by The Healthy RD

  1. ◊Douglas Laboratories supplements are Pharmaceutical grade vitamins-they are available online, in pharmacies, and professional dispensaries
  2. ◊Sourced from whole foods, such as the Douglas Laboratories Ultra Preventive X Capsules with fruits and vegetables. 
  3. ◊Free of synthetics unlike most vitamins. They carry the best vitamin brands for stress vitamins out there called Executive Stress Formula.
  4. ◊Free of synthetic ingredients, no additives, no fillers, and is non GMO verified
  5. ◊Comprehensive multivitamins, including vitamins A, vitamin B12 as methylcobalamin, an optimal dose of vitamin C, and folate, and the minerals magnesium, iron, and iodine, which many people lack.  My favorite multivitamin with minerals on the market today.
  6. ◊Gluten free, free of all major allergens, and GMP certified

Thorne Research Brand by The Healthy RD

 

  1.  ◊Thorne Research is a consumer brand that carries only organic natural ingredients in their products. 
  2.  ◊Pharmaceutical grade vitamins- available online, in pharmacies, and professional dispensaries
  3.  ◊Thorne Research Basic Prenatal Vitamin is top of the line for prenatal vitamins because they are designed for women who are trying to conceive, pregnant, or lactating
  4.   ◊Gently formulated to reduce nausea and is easy on the stomach.  Free of synthetics unlike most prenatal vitamins
  5.  ◊No additives, no fillers, and is non GMO verified
  6.  ◊Comprehensive prenatal, including vitamins A, B12, and folate, and the minerals magnesium, iron, and iodine, which many pregnant women lack.
  7.  ◊Gluten free, free of all major allergens, and GMP certified

 

 


Pure encapsulations vitamins by The Healthy RD

 

  1. ◊Pure Encapsulations are Pharmaceutical grade vitamins and supplements.  They are available online, in pharmacies, and professional dispensaries with numerous products for antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods.
  2. ◊Top of the line for digestive enzymes and multivitamins out there.  They also have some of the best joint supplements and herbs too, such as curcumin with bioperine.
  3. ◊Gently formulated to reduce nausea to be easy on the stomach.  Free of synthetics unlike most supplements.
  4. ◊No additives, no fillers, and  non GMO verified
  5. ◊Carry l-glutamine powder, which is great for healing the gut lining.
  6. ◊Gluten free, free of all major allergens, and GMP certified

 


Standard process vitamins by The Healthy RD

 

  1. ◊Standard Process supplements are Pharmaceutical grade vitamins-they are available online, in pharmacies, and professional dispensaries
  2. ◊Best immune boosting supplements like Immuplex that are entirely food-based vitamins and minerals. They also make highly rated digestive support supplements too.
  3. ◊Rigorous testing for potency and purity using repeated clinical testing
  4. ◊Free of synthetic ingredients, no additives, no fillers, and is non GMO verified
  5. ◊Use nutrient dense foods like liver and source from USDA organic food sources
  6. ◊Gluten free, free of all major allergens, and GMP certified

 

 


Life extension vitamin review by The Healthy RD

 

  1. ◊Life Extension supplements are are available online. Certificate of Analysis of purity and quality is available to consumers too.
  2. ◊They make the best broccoli supplements that dampen down inflammation, help balance hormones like Life Extension Life Extension Optimized Broccoli and Cruciferous Blend. 
  3. ◊Life Extension multivitamins like Life Extension Two Per Day are more economical than most high quality formulas. 
  4. ◊Rigorous testing for potency and purity using repeated clinical testing
  5. ◊Free of synthetic ingredients, no additives, no fillers, and is non GMO verified
  6. ◊Use nutrient dense foods like liver and source from USDA organic food sources when possible
  7. ◊Gluten free, free of all major allergens, and GMP certified, 100% product satisfaction guarantee

Worst vitamin brands

Any brands that contain artificial food dyes, fillers, and synthetic ingredients are on my list of worst vitamin brands to buy.  

Ingredients in vitamins to avoid include: 

  • dl-alpha-tocopherol (synthetic vitamin E)
  • Folic acid
  • Soybean oil
  • Cupric oxide
  • Aspartame
  • Red #40
  • Red #3
  • Yellow #6
  • Blue #2
  • Magnesium oxide
  • Calcium carbonate

Brands that people think are high-quality multivitamins but are not:

  • Flintstones multivitamins
  • One-A-Day multivitamins
  • Centrum multivitamins
  • Nature Made multivitamins 
  • Store brands like Kirkland vitamins or Equate vitamins
  • Mega Food multivitamins

There may still be some quality products within these brands, but their multivitamins contain lots of no-no ingredients.

Didn’t make the cut

  • Vital Nutrients is an overall good vitamin company, but didn’t make the cut because it uses poorly-absorbed magnesium oxide in their supplements. 
  • Solaray overall is good, but uses some synthetic vitamins
  • Now brand is mostly good, but also incorporates some synthetic vitamins
  • Source Naturals-a favorite of mine for their Wellness Formula, but they use synthetic vitamins

 

Do you need a vitamin supplement?

You likely need a vitamin vitamin supplement for the following 9 reasons:

  1. Modern agriculture has stripped the soil of vital nutrients, so our foods end up suffering as a result. 
  2. Herbicides like glyphosate reduce mineral absorption in our body, such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and manganese [R]. 
  3. Shipping and handling of vegetables reduce the folate content drastically by the time they get to your plate. 
  4. Vitamin C is also diminished in most produce before you eat it, including potatoes, broccoli, asparagus, and green beans. 
  5. Frozen vegetables and meats often lose vitamin and mineral content through blanching prior to freezing.
  6. Processed foods are low in essential vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. 
  7. Sugars further deplete your vitamin stores. 
  8. Imbalances in minerals increase heavy metal uptake in the body. 
  9. Stress and medications often increase your body’s demands for vitamins. 
  10. You don’t get enough sunlight so you miss out on vitamin D.

Why people are skeptical about vitamins

We get all of our nutrients we need from food.  

This is false.  Most Americans fall short in nutrients.  Vitamin supplements are linked to improvements in quality of life, improvements in immunity,  and health in many populations. 

Vitamins cause harm.

Rarely. Vitamins almost never cause harm and if they do, the harm is reversible.  

The rare side effect happens if someone is taking massive doses, synthetic varieties, or has a tablet stuck in their throat.  This can be prevented with using capsules or chewable vitamins [R]. 

Clinical studies repeatedly show that vitamins are safe and beneficial in many conditions. 

Americans are often overweight, so they get too many nutrients.

Also false.  The Standard American Diet is calorie-rich, but nutrient-poor.  

Vitamins don’t help.

False.  Countless studies show that vitamins such as  vitamin D supplements, can be critical for a healthy immune response. Find out the benefits of vitamin B6 (P5P Benefits). 

The information on this website is for informational purposes only and should not be used as medical advice.  Always consult with your healthcare provider, preferably a healthcare provider with extensive training in food and nutrition, before changing your health regimen.

 

3 Comments
  1. […] Vitamin K2 deficiency increases your risk of heart disease.  Vitamin K2 supplements safely and effectively treat vitamin K2 deficiency and help to restore artery health. Vitamin K2 supplements may reduce diabetes, inflammation and heart disease. As with any supplement, discuss with your healthcare provider before making changes. Learn more about the best vitamin brands. […]

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