Fix Your Gut Live Stream – Problems Within the Supplement Industry and Who We Recommend

The Difference in Choosing Quality Companies for Your Supplements

The average American purchases many of their supplements from Walmart or the local pharmacy that are of poor quality. Most people then wonder why the supplement that they purchased made no difference in their health. Sadly, when it comes to the average person’s health, most people will always go for the least expensive option. When it comes to buying the newest television, people will still spend the extra money for the latest model. There is a huge difference in supplement companies and the quality of the supplements that they produce.

Many people ask me if I recommend that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulate supplements. Even though there are some regulations when it comes to supplements, can the FDA even be trusted to regulate supplements or even our medications honestly? The generic formula for Wellbutrin XL has been known to have increased side effect profile and was found to have decreased efficiency in the people who used it. Doctors reported it for years to the FDA, which did very little to consider the claims. It took FIVE years for the FDA to admit that there was a difference between the two medications and that the generic will finally be brought up to the patented standard. The FDA dropping the ball on Wellbutrin XL is not the only case involving the FDA and oversight issues. I am not arguing that regulations are not essential and it is not important to hold high standards but to claim that medications are perfectly safe because the FDA actively monitors and regulates their production, and that all supplements are dangerous because they are not so tightly controlled is ludicrous. Of course, you do want to purchase supplements from reputable companies, but it is always a gamble, supplements, medications, or otherwise.1 2

You should always check the country of origin that your medicine/supplement is produced. You want it to be produced in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, European Union, Israel, or Canada. If a product is listed as being produced anywhere else, you might want to pay more for the non-generic medicine or a different supplement made in one of these listed countries. Most of the countries listed have stricter laws that regulate the production of medication and supplements, which may lead to a higher quality supplement that you can trust. Finally, I do not order online supplements unless necessary. Even though ordering your supplements online might be less expensive, most of the time you never know the quality of the supplement you might be receiving. Buying locally is important because your sales help maintain your local economy by supplying jobs, revenue, and tax revenue for your local municipality/state. When you buy locally, you can see the condition of the bottle and expiration date of the supplement before purchasing. You can also ask the store employees for basic advice. I believe that buying locally sourced products when possible is one of the best things you can do personally to give back to your community. If you have to purchase supplements online then purchase directly from the manufacturers yourself online on their websites or directly from (no third party sellers) Amazon, iHerb, Swanson, or Pure Formulas.

An indication of a hopefully honest supplement company is if they follow or are certified for good manufacturing processes (GMP). Good manufacturing practices are a specific set of protocols that the FDA determined that were needed to improve supplement quality and safety. GMP ensures that supplements you purchase are not likely contaminated with adulterants or non-listed allergens and are of both the accurate dosage and potency. Records must be made during manufacturing that demonstrate that all the steps required by the defined procedures and instructions were taken and that deviations must be investigated and recorded. In addition, GMP has rules in place to recall any supplement that is later found to be contaminated, incorrect dosage, or labeled incorrectly. Records must be kept that contain a complete history of a produced batch and where it was shipped to, in case of a recall. It is also always good to purchase a supplement that is also pharmaceutical grade if possible. If a supplement is made from pharmaceutical-grade materials, it means that the supplement could have been used in common medications or that the materials are usually of very high quality.3

Niche Companies or Supplements That I Trust

These supplement companies tend to specialize in a small market or only make one type of supplement. In addition, there are supplements that I only recommend from a company, but not their other supplements and I wanted to list them as well.

  • Enzymedica: The make the best digestive enzymes.
  • Nordic Naturals: They make some of the best omega-3 supplements!
  • MIH Products (Orange Burps)
  • George’s Aloe Vera
  • North American Herb and Spice
  • Clean Chlorella
  • Gaia Herbs: Great herbal company based in North Carolina. I live in NC and have been to their farms. Top notch!
  • Carnivora Research Ltd.
  • Corganic
  • Custom probiotics
  • Geronova Research Inc.
  • Vital Proteins
  • Sovereign laboratories
  • Redmond Life
  • Bulletproof (MCT Oil, Brain Octane Oil, Unfair Advantage, Upgraded Coconut Charcoal)
  • Sun Warrior Plant Protein
  • Snap Supplements (Gut Health, Heart Health, Organic Beets, Olive Leaf Extract)
  • Global Healing Center Detoxadine
  • Innovix Labs full spectrum vitamin K2
  • Nutribiotic ascorbic acid
  • The Synergy Company Pure Radiance C
  • Liposomal Glutathione from Formline Performance
  • Zane Hellas oregano oil
  • The Parthenon Company, Inc, Devrom

Supplement Company Tier System (Non-Niche Companies)

Top Tier:

  • Pure Encapsulations
  • Thorne Research
  • Seeking Health
  • Designs for Health
  • Xymogen/NuMedica

Upper Tier:

  • Jarrow Formulas
  • Metagenics
  • Pharmax
  • Douglas Labs
  • Klaire Labs
  • Healthforce Nutritionals
  • Reserveage Organics
  • Life Extension

Mid Tier:

  • Now
  • Doctor’s Best
  • Renew Life
  • Enzymatic Therapy
  • Solgar
  • Source Naturals
  • Nature’s Plus
  • Carlson
  • Biotics Research
  • MegaFood
  • Garden of Life
  • New Chapter

Low-Mid Tier:

  • Swanson
  • Country Life
  • Vitamin Shoppe brand supplements
  • Pure Formula’s
  • Nature’s Way
  • Sundown
  • Natrol

Low Tier:

  • GNC brand supplements
  • Vitamin World brand supplements
  • Big box store and pharmacy brand supplements

My Top Six Recommended Supplement Companies

The following recommendations are a mixture of supplement companies from the listed above tiers. Even though most supplements that are produced by Designs for Health are better than those produced by NOW, they did not make my list because I also factored in the cost of supplements. NOW might not be the best supplement company, but, if you do not have a lot of money, you can trust them for most of your supplements instead of buying the local vitamin or big box store supplements. If you have the money try to purchase your supplements from the above listed top-tier or niche companies if possible, I do.

Number 6 Company: NOW

NOW produce average quality supplements and their supplements reasonably priced. I recommend NOW supplements for people who are budget conscious and still want supplements that are of decent quality. NOW manufactures their supplements out of Illinois and are a great American based company! Their supplement production facility follows GMP practices in the manufacturing of their supplements and also offers body care products and sports supplements. NOW also provides a free online university through their website that helps consumers learn more about the supplements they are taking.

Number 5 Company: Life Extension

Life Extension is one of the oldest US-based supplement companies (founded in 1980) and manufactures their products in Florida. They are a great supplement company offering a lot of niche supplements, as well as great proprietary supplements. Life Extension also provides a one-year return policy on all of their supplements. Life Extension does a lot of research when it comes to their supplements–more than any other supplement company in the United States! They occasionally put fillers in their products, but they maintain a high standard of excellence. They are recommended by and are non-GMO certified on most if not all produced supplements. I recommend that everyone sign up for the Life Extension free magazine. It is full of great information and studies. The Life Extension supplement production facility also follows GMP practices.

Number 4 Company: Jarrow Formulas

Jarrow Formulas is also one of the oldest US-based supplement companies; they were founded in 1977 in Los Angeles by Jarrow L. Rogovi. Even though Jarrow Formulas is more prone to put fillers in their products like magnesium stearate, they are still one of what I believe to be the best supplement companies. Jarrow Formulas is located in Santa Fe Springs, California and is GMP certified by NSF International for their facilities and supplements. They have a refrigerator for their probiotics and temperature sensitive supplements in their warehouse, and their warehouse is also climate controlled. Jarrow supplements are also certified non-GMO by NSF. They also tend to use pharmaceutical grade resources, which are the highest-grade materials you can get. Finally, I highly recommend their pharmaceutical grade amino acids, D-limonene, PQQ, and ubiquinol.

Number 3 Company: Seeking Health

Founded by the brilliant Dr. Ben Lynch, this newer supplement supplier is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Dr. Lynch holds a bachelor of science in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Washington and a doctorate in naturopathic medicine from Bastyr University, the nation’s leading naturopathic medical school. Seeking Health is an American based company out of Washington and is GMP certified. Most of their supplements use minimal fillers and are of the highest quality. I have personally used and recommended to clients many of their supplements. Dr. Ben lunch has also written a book I recommend, Dirty Genes. Great company founded by a pioneer in the health field!

Number 2 Company: Thorne Research

I trust Thorne Research almost as much as our number one company, but they occasionally add fillers to their products. The fillers they add to their products are usually beneficial to the body (magnesium citrate, magnesium laurate). Nevertheless, they are a great American based company out of Idaho. They also practice GMPs as well as in-house laboratory testing, publicizing the results afterward of their supplements for correct dosages and contamination. Thorne Research also produces one of the few multivitamins that I recommend. Thorne is now offering personal testing as well to help you measure your health. Great company that produces many supplements that I recommend in my books and to my clients.

Number 1 Company: Pure Encapsulations

Pure Encapsulations will always be my favorite company, but usually their supplements the most expensive. What you pay for is what you get, high quality! They are located in Massachusetts, and they are a reputable American company. Their capsules are made from hypoallergenic cellulose. The best thing about them is that most of their products have no fillers in them as opposed to their cheaper competitors. These fillers can be horrible for you to ingest and include polypropylene glycol (antifreeze), magnesium stearate (a potential source of a rancid fatty acid), soy lecithin (potentially GM-produced), etc. Their products are also GMP certified, and they have an “open plant” policy, which means consumers are welcome to visit that production facility. If you go to their website, they list all ingredients in their supplements and even their country of origin. Pure Encapsulations I believe are indeed the best supplement company!


The most important conclusions from the blog are:

  • Purchase recommended supplements locally if possible.
  • Avoid big box stores including Walmart and chain pharmacies when buying supplements.
  • If you have to purchase supplements online, then buy directly from the manufacturers yourself online on their websites or directly from (no third party sellers) Amazon, iHerb, Swanson, or Pure Formulas.
  • Try to buy your supplements from a company that uses GMP practices
  • You should always check the country of origin that your medicine/supplement is produced. You want your supplements to be produced in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, European Union, Israel, or Canada if possible.
  • When in doubt purchase Pure Encapsulation supplements if you can afford it, if you cannot Jarrow Formulas is a safe bet if you are tight on money. NOW is better than most big box store or pharmacy-labeled products.

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