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How To Buy Health Supplements And Vitamins (6 Honest Tips)

by Eric Sales De Andrade, February 17th 2021

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Did you feel overwhelmed when you found out you were low in Vitamin D or needed protein powder but don’t know what to take?

Choosing supplements can be daunting with so much variety, hundreds of products and brands offering different doses, strengths and ingredients.

With low entry barriers, there are several companies offering substandard products so it’s important you choose the cream of the crop when you buy health supplements online.

Once you have researched what you need, why you need it and how much you need it, follow the below guidelines to choose the best one.

6 Key Tips To Buy Health Supplements

1) Ingredients

Always check the label for ingredients and their concentrations. It’s a regulatory requirement to declare all active and supporting ingredients on the label.

Stay away from brands that don’t disclose the full list of ingredients upfront.

A lot of companies buy average pre-manufactured health supplements from a manufacturer instead of uniquely formulating them for the best health benefit.

Research about the particular vitamin or supplement so you know exactly what it should contain. Websites like Healthline, WebMD and this one are very trusted sources.

Check for animal-based ingredients like gelatin or lanolin (common in cheap supermarket Vitamin D supplements).

Health supplements often contain discarded animal parts from the food industry.

Use whole-food vegan ingredients to avoid potential nausea or stomach pain from long term consumption of synthetic ingredients.

2) Highly Absorbed

With some research, you’ll discover that certain active ingredients need complementary ingredients to maximise absorption into the bloodstream.

Vitamins and Supplements are classified as fat-soluble or water-soluble. Meaning the body stores them, and they require fat to dissolve or are easily dissolved and require a daily intake.

Some examples include Vitamin D with coconut or sunflower oil and Turmeric with Black Pepper and Flaxseed/Coconut Oil.

Pick supplements that include as many complementary ingredients as possible to maximise absorption.

3) Dosage Strength

When taking vitamins or when you buy health supplements online, it’s important to consume the correct strength.

In the case of Vitamin D for example, typical doses are 1000 or 2000 IU (International Unit) or for Vitamin C it can be 1000 mg.

What you should take depends if you have a deficiency or taking it for maintenance purposes. A blood test and a GP should best advice about how much you should take.

If you take a very strong dose, that could make you sick and you may not see any benefits or improvements in levels with a weak dose.

4) Mode of Consumption

Most supplements are now available as capsules, soft gels, tablets, sprays, oils, drops, liquid shots and about any form you can imagine.

If you struggle to swallow large tablets or hate the aftertaste, it’s a good idea to try sprays or soft gels.

Alternatively, if you just want to take it and be done, capsules may be a good option.

Ultimately, what matters is that you’re comfortable in taking it regularly and consistently.

Lastly, read customer reviews or request a sample to test if this is the correct form of consumption for you

5) Allergens

Check the back of the label for allergens like Soy, Gluten, Palm Oil, Egg, Wheat, Dairy, GMO etc.

If unsure, email the manufacturer or post a question/comment on Amazon to ask other customers.

In spite of regulation, a lot of products don’t state allergens upfront and you could have a critical reaction if you didn’t know beforehand.

It’s 100% possible to produce high-quality supplements without any of the above.

6) Certifications

Certifications and affiliations with trusted organizations like Soil Association (for Organic) and Vegan Society (for Vegan) provide a much-needed credibility check to ensure products follow stringent guidelines.

They vet the manufacturer, source of ingredients, product storage locations, inventory management systems, batch number tracking etc to protect the consumer and ensure good traceability and practices.

Always check for certifications on the label or ask the company if they are certified with these organizations.

The UK Soil Association also grant companies a license number that can be cross verified here.


Hopefully, choosing a supplement can be more of an interesting and fun experience rather than a daunting task. Once people find a company or brand they like they often stick to it to avoid going through this process.

Although good, it doesn’t hurt to shop around and see what better products might be available with better pricing.

Next time you buy health supplements online or in Holland and Barrett, a quick evaluation of the above will help you make the right choice and ensure you get the most value for your body and money.

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