I like taking vitamins, just like millions of Americans, and probably spend $50 – $100 every month.
There’s an old saying that you get what you pay for. For the most part, I believe this is true, and I have therefore always chosen to purchase premium brands when I bought vitamins. But recently, I began to wonder if I could get away with buying cheaper brands.
Because this is an issue that pertains to health, I decided to do a good bit of research before making my new purchase. After all, saving money is good, but I didn’t want to save money if I would end up taking an inferior product that would not benefit my health.
Based on what I’ve learned, it seems that for the most part, the price you pay does not relate much to quality when it comes to vitamins and supplements. According to a New York Times Article I read:
“Vitamins and minerals are commodity items, and every manufacturer has access to the same ingredients. For that reason, researchers and scientists say paying more for a name brand won’t necessarily buy you better vitamins.
“When we measure levels of vitamins in the blood, we find the levels are the same whether the person was taking a generic brand or a name brand,” says Dr. Rimm, who has been studying the effects of vitamins for 20 years.
That said, don’t be too cheap. Purchase your vitamins from well-known retailers that do a brisk business and restock frequently, whether that’s Costco or Drugstore.com. Vitamins lose their potency over time and must be stored at, or below, room temperature. If bottles are sitting on a shelf in warm room or in direct sunlight, they may degrade even before their expiration date.”
You can read the full article here. I found the information in the article to be reassuring and very helpful.
It does seem important, however, to pay attention to the ingredients that are in your vitamin. Cheap or expensive, you always want to check the label carefully. An article on Livestrong explains the reason for this quite well:
“When it comes to choosing the right vitamins, price doesn’t matter. The label is what is the most important. If you’re considering a vitamin supplement, read the label and compare information as well as ingredients. Some vitamins — even the expensive ones — may contain more fillers than the actual ingredient. In other instances, you may need to examine the bottle to ensure they are geared specifically for you and not the opposite sex or a completely different age group. Always ensure that the particular vitamin you choose meets the standards set by testing organizations to ensure strength, purity, dissolution and disintegration. Even inexpensive, or cheap, vitamins can pass all of these tests and still provide a quality supplement.”
So with all that said, where can you find cheap vitamins. On the whole, it seems like drugstores and supermarkets have the lowest prices. The downside, however, is that the selection is generally more limited. And avoid health food stores like Whole Foods or GNC, since the prices at such locations tend to be high.
I favor a middle ground, where I purchase well-known brands, but save money by buying my supplements online from discount stores like Pureformulas, where I get most of my products. By shopping online, I have the added benefit of being able to use online coupons as well. Using online coupons from Pureformulas, which can be found at this Weebly page, I hardly ever pay retail price and still get my hands on some high-quality brands.
I know people who take 20 or more supplements. This is probably overkill, and I advise caution when dealing with supplements. All vitamins have something called a tolerable upper limit, and you don’t want to exceed this amount. Taking dozens of supplements is not only expensive, but may end up harming you as well. As with all things, moderation seems to be ideal.
In my opinion, a sensible approach is to use the Internet to do research on which supplements may be beneficial to you. Then, come up with a supplementation plan and show it to your doctor. If he or she agrees with your plan, you can move forward and purchase your vitamins online from place like Pureformulas. Remember to use coupons like I do to ensure that you’re always getting the best price possible.