5 Things to Know About Vitamins Before You Buy

Here's why the quality of your vitamins matters.

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Feeling unusually tired—to the point where I was barely functional—I headed to the doctor for blood tests. The results confirmed that I was experiencing a severe vitamin D deficiency, even in sunny Southern California.

Supplements were in order. My doctor waxed on about how the quality of supplements really matters and handed me a list of vitamins to take including a multivitamin, B12, vitamin D, magnesium and an omega-3. I purchased them through her office and felt better in just a few days. Now, I even pack them when I travel because I never want to feel that poorly again.

Pure Encapsulations is a brand of high-quality vitamins also sold through medical providers. I surprised that the samples sent to me for purposes of this post matched what my doctor had prescribed. It must be that many women of my age require a similar nutrient boost.

Vitamins like this cost a bit more than bottles in the grocery store do so I’ve been paying more attention to articles I read about supplement efficacy and quality. Like on an airplane, if I’m paying more for first class… it had better live up to the price. And, I truly believe that you get what you pay for when it comes to supplements. But, it takes knowing what to look for to make an educated choice.

Know if They’re Tested

Did you know that vitamins aren’t regulated by the FDA or required to undergo testing? A recent Dr. Oz article discussed how they tested over 3000 vitamins and found issues with 25% of them. Some had more vitamin A, D and other nutrients than was listed on the bottle and in amounts that could possibly lead to side effects.

Pure Encapsulations tests ingredients and final products for potency and things like mercury as well as other contaminants or undesirable features.

Research the Ingredients

I had no idea how much artificial junk can fit into a small vitamin. Pure Encapsulations uses high-quality ingredients and does not use coatings, binders, shellacs, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners or colors, fragrance or excipients that would affect the bioavailability of ingredients. They also omit wheat, gluten, nuts, egg, preservatives, hydrogenated oils and magnesium stearate. Magnesium stearate is a toxin found in a majority of vitamins that you really should avoid (research it).

Know Where They Are Made

I lived in Hong Kong when news broke that a popular brand of Chinese infant formula was being injected with melamine as a substitute for milk. Since then, I prefer to know where things are made. Did you know that most vitamins are made in China? Regulations there are lower and most of the farmland is polluted… to name a few reasons why this should concern you.

Pure Encapsulations is manufactured in Massachusetts in a state-of-the-art facility with temperature, humidity and dust-controlled rooms and sterilization practices. The facility has an open door policy for any physician who would like to visit.

Fish Oil Safety

As someone who takes an omega supplement, the safety of fish oil is of great concern to me. As you might imagine, some omega supplements test positive for excessively-high levels of PCBs, mercury and other contaminants. Pure Encapsulations tests fish and krill oil for 17 dioxins, 12 dioxin-like PCBs and 7 PCBs. I definitely notice that my skin looks much better and is less dry when I take an omega supplement.

Opt for Non-GMO

A number of supplements on the market are made with ingredients derived from genetically-modified corn. It’s complicated to identify them because these ingredients are often hidden. GMOs are suspected of causing a number of health conditions. I am of the mind that GMOs have no business being in my vitamins and am grateful that all ingredients in Pure Encapsulations are non-GMO.

The Bottom Line

Choose vitamins with high quality ingredients like Pure Encapsulations

Basically, know what’s in your vitamins.

In researching this post, I also thought it was interesting that a La Jolla chiropractor said that because of the high quality of ingredients in Pure Encapsulations, he finds that patients require a lower dosage and spend less money in the long run by leaving inferior products behind.

Get more information about Pure Encapsulations. I’m pretty happy with them. But be sure to have a conversation with your doctor about what kind of supplements to take before starting a regimen.


Learn why it's important to know what's inside your vitamins and why high quality supplements like Pure Encapsulations may be a better choice.

What else do you look for when choosing vitamins?

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