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.
- 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)
- Pure Encapsulations
- Thorne Research
- Seeking Health
- Designs for Health
- Jarrow Formulas
- Douglas Labs
- Klaire Labs
- Healthforce Nutritionals
- Reserveage Organics
- Life Extension
- Doctor’s Best
- Renew Life
- Enzymatic Therapy
- Source Naturals
- Nature’s Plus
- Biotics Research
- Garden of Life
- New Chapter
- Country Life
- Vitamin Shoppe brand supplements
- Pure Formula’s
- Nature’s Way
- 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 Consumerlab.com 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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Thanks so much!!! You saved me tons of time, I really appreciate your work 🙏🏼
What are you views on ortho molecular products prenatal? They are a gmp facility regulated company.
What is your opinion about the products of
Mason Natural – Vitamins & Supplements ?
Thanks a lot for letting me know
Hi do you still recommend Pure knowing they are now owned by Nestle?
Majority of supplement companies are owned by mega corporations at this point. Been that way for years. Look up New Chapter.
Great question! I’m looking into Standard Process, Vital Nutrients, and Thorne Research. I don’t know who to trust!
Hi John. Thank you so much for writing this. This was an amazing read! So detailed and informative. I saved it in my bookmarks as “always double check with” before I purchase :) I have poor circulation and varicose veins and I’ve been considering nattokinase. I will really appreciate any suggestions you might have. Thank you once again.
Is there any scientific basis to this top, mid and low tier categorization? For people who do not suffer from allergies to supplement excipients, I would think the most important quality factor is whether the supplement capsule contains the amount stated on the jar, and is not substantially less than the stated amount.
After that, I would think the purity of the chemical synthesis is important (for supplements that are synthesized), because possibly synthesis contaminants might be undesirable, although that can only be determined on a case-by-case basic for each individual supplement.
And also the form of the tablet or capsule can affect bioavailability and absorption, so that’s something to consider in terms of quality.
But generally I can’t imagine that a supplement from one of your top tier brands like Thorne Research would provide any more health benefits that the same supplement from a low-mid tier brand like Swanson. Unless you have seen some research which suggests otherwise?
What do you think about Dr Gundry’s supplements and diet for leaky gut? And your opinion on the evils of lectin in certain vegetables, grains, etc.?
I found a new supplement that contains all the right doses but it’s new and not very well known and only sold in Amazon. Can you please see the ingredients and let me know your thoughts? They say whole food but most of the ingredients are chemically made. Please see link.
Been reading your book, it’s a good source of knowledge for healing. In your book you did mention Solgar as one of the other companies you trust. I’m considering buying this company’s vitamin E (Here it is: https://www.iherb.com/pr/Solgar-Naturally-Sourced-Vitamin-E-1-000-IU-100-Softgels/69613). Would you recommend? Thanks in advance.
I want to start supplementing mine and my 4 year old’s diet with K2, but can’t find any full spectrum except this one and the Innovix – not sure I can give him that because of dosage and difficulty swallowing. Not sure about the reputability of Pure Therpro but I was happy to see a full spectrum K2 in liquid format.
I’d appreciate any insight at all ?
Sorry I must’ve deleted the first line! I was supposed to write “What do you think about Pure Therapro? https://purethera.com/products/vegan-d3-k2-liquid
Hi, I am so confused why these companies you recommend only sell vitamins in large dosages. for instance i want a prenatal without 500mcg of B12 (the recommended dosage for someone who isnt defiecient is 8mcg!) or without 1000mcg folate L5 MTHF when the required amount is only 400 mcg to 800 mcg at most. I know my body will expel what I don’t need in urine but that is unnecessary stress for no reason.
I even went to these sites (thorne, pure encapsulations, seeking health) to perhaps purchase individual vitamins as the prenatal (which is what I am looking for) are too highly dosed, but alas, even individual ones is too high (in fact HIGHER). For instance, Vitamin K i want only 100 mcg at most of K2 but Thorne and Pure Encap have only minimum 200 mcg or 500 mcg.
I just feel so fed up. :( I have been spending time on this for so long.
Any help will be appreciated. Thank you.
I agree it is very difficult. For example I would love a high quality low dose B6 supplement of around 10 mg because it can cause neuropathy at higher doses over time.
What is your opinion on Pure Synergy PureNatal. i know you dont like food based but in terms of the quality of the vitamins if you had to rank it within the food based family. See below. Thank you.
“Most supplements are made from artificially manufactured “isolated” nutrients, which means there is usually just one single “form” of vitamin or mineral used for each. For example, for vitamin B12, most supplements companies use the synthetic version of B12 called cyanocobalamin (which is also the cheapest to produce). The type of B12 in our food-matrix vitamins is not one of these isolate forms so it cannot be specifically classified as cyanocobalamin, methylcobalamin, hydrocobalamin, etc on the label. It is in the form found in food, with the B12 molecules joined in a “matrix” of other food compounds. B12 found in nature is present in a variety of cobalamin forms (usually bound to small carrier proteins) so this is how it’s found in our supplements as well. Your body absorbs it as it would B12 from other natural sources and converts it as necessary to the forms needed by the body. By taking your supplements in food-form, you are mimicking nature’s method of whole food nutrition, which we believe to be the best. “
Where is (PERQUE INTEGRATIVE HEALTH) ?
How do you think and rank about Nature Made supplements brand? And this company should be placed in which tier? Thank you!
Hi, what’s your opinion on Megafood Baby and Me 2 (prenatal multuvitamin)?
Hi John, what do you think about Metabolic Maintenance?
How would you rate Drucker Labs?
I found your website and just wanted to thank you for providing your comments about various supplement brands.
What do you think of Nutrilite vitamins.
After reading your article I question your list and where you place certain companies on that list. I have over 30 years of experience in the supplement manufacturing industry. Knowing how dietary supplements are manufactured I would not have listed the first three companies on your mid-tier list. Just by your inclusion of these companies I question your expertise in recommending any dietary supplement company. The last two on the mid-tier list I would avoid at all cost. The forth company and the last one has been owned by a pharmaceutical company for the last five years. Neither company should no longer be considered a company anyone recommends. Why is there a MLM listed on your top tier list? MLM’s use the lowest quality raw materials in order to to make a low cost product to sell at premium prices in order to pay the commissions to their distributors.
How did you go about compiling this list? Do you have a degree in chemistry? Do you have the expertise to dissect the nutrients in each of these brands to determine the absorption profile of each nutrient?
First, what supplement companies do you recommend?
Yeah, can you elaborate? It’s been almost a year since your comment, but I want to know what you meant when you said you “would not have listed the first three companies on [the writer’s] mid-tier list.” As in those should be lower, or higher in terms of tier?
What does acronym MLM stand for? What supplement companies would you recommend for high, mid, low tier and never. Where would you place Pure encapsulations, since I just purchased some R Alpha Lipoic Acid?
Thank you for you time and attention
Hi John, what are your thoughts on the world’s first liposomal multivitamin formula by Quicksilver Scientific? They have also release another new product called ‘The One’.
Hello John. What is your opinion regarding the best prenatal vitamin to take? Best brand and quality? I want to make sure i am giving my baby and I the best possible.
What would you rate Front Runners Baby’s Best Start Prenatal? and Naturelo Prenatal Whole Food Vitamin?
Your input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Front Runners Baby’s Best Start Prenatal – C Naturelo Prenatal Whole Food Vitamin – C- Talk to your doctor about this one : https://www.amazon.com/Thorne-Research-Prenatal-Reformulated-Multivitamin/dp/B01LOVY63K?th=1
What about Douglas Laboratories?
Average, but again it depends on the individual supplement from them, I recommend some of their supplements from time to time.
What Is you’re best multivitamin brand you can recommend? Also, what can I take quickest to heal gastritis/bloating with no rebound effect??
https://fixyourgut.com/opinion-how-to-know-which-multivitamin-supplement-is-best-for-you-part-2/, zinc carnosine is your best bet.
I would like to take a Pure Encapsulations multi-vitamin.
However, there are so many options.
I am a woman over 40. Do you recommend either their Women’s Nutrients or their
Women’s Pure Pack? Also if you do recommend these what are the main difference between these two? I hope you can assist, all the options can seem so confusing.
https://fixyourgut.com/opinion-how-to-know-which-multivitamin-supplement-is-best-for-you-part-2/, do you know your methylation status?
What about Biotics Reasearch brand supplements?
Average, but again it depends on the individual supplement they produce.
Hi John, what do you think of Innate Response Formulas- I just found them. Thanks.
It depends on the supplement, but I do not recommend their Multi’s they are full of S. cervisiae.
What do you think of Reserveage for skin supplements, or what company do you recommend for supplements with Verisol and supplements with Bio Cell Collagen and hyaluronic acid?
Reserveage supplements are fine for the most part.
Could you also give me your opinion on the Young Living Master formula comprehensive multivitamin? https://www.youngliving.com/en_US/products/master-formula
Thanks. I appreciate any advice you can give.
What is your opinion on Biogenesis? Specifically I am looking at buying Ultra Hematinic.
What about natural factors?
Most supplements that are put out from Natural Factors are average or above average at best.
I have to disagree with you on that one. They’re one of the few supplement companies that grow most of what they sell. Similar to Gaia IMO. Look them up, they farm what they sell.
What’s your opinion on MyKind Organics? Appears to be very natural with no fillers. Thanks!
One of the better natural multivitamins. The B12 is derived from yeast which may cause issues in people sensitive to yeast.
So you would recommend Enzymedica digestive enzyme and Jarrow probiotics? I have been taking Enzymedica Digest Gold +Probiotics. I have also used Jarrow probiotics. What would be your recommendation? Thanks.
Which b complex do you recommend from Thorne?
Depends on a person’s individual needs.
What do you know about Pharmanex out of Provo, UT? They are using nano technology for vitamins. They also have a biophotonic scanner, (totally non-invasive) to identify antioxidants in the body with vitamins etc to help increase an individual’s score also obviously along with healthy lifestyle etc…..
Thank you for your comments.
Seems a little sketchy for me. Their website is very market driven, and not a lot of easily accessible information which is always a bad sign.
Their multi has some poor components to it for example:
Folic acid, cyancobalmin, soldium selenite, vitamin K1, and they do not list what chelates are used for the mineral. Trust me if I am paying that price, I want the best.
I think “nano” technology for a lot of supplements is a gimmick.
What about Orthomolecular?
Some of their supplements are good, it depends more on the individual supplement.
May I know your opinion of Healthy Origins brand? Thanks for sharing!
They have some good supplements, it just depends individually on a supplement instead of a brand as a whole.
Where does Standard Process fit in to your list of supplement companies? Their marketing literature would have you believe that they are great. What’s the truth?
Mid tier at best. Most SP supplements are in tablet form, and contain fillers like lactose. I do not really recommend a lot of their stuff, but with everything it is a supplement by supplement basis. In addition, be wary of a supplement company that only sales to professionals and not the general population.
This is an interesting answer and has caught my attention. My doctor has had me on these supplements for over a year and I have to say there have been improvements in my condition. But for some reason I have been thinking there is more out there – a more aggressive protocol I could be implementing.
Which brand would you most recommend for Leaky Gut and thyroidism? Any answer you can provide will be greatly appreciated.
For leaky gut I would look into supplement with: https://fixyourgut.com/recommended-prebiotic/, http://catalog.designsforhealth.com/GI-Revive-Powder, for thyroid I would recommend Detoxadine and selenium. Run these by your doctor first and good luck.