Are Medical-Grade Vitamins Really Better?
Are Medical Grade Vitamins the Way to Go?
Supplements are increasingly becoming popular, especially among health-conscious individuals. Dietary supplements provide a quick way of replenishing essential body nutrients and minerals. However, hundreds or thousands of supplement brands are available due to their rising popularity.
With endless options, separating the good from the not-so-good becomes challenging. If you are in the market for vitamin supplements, differentiating medical grade and over-the-counter supplements is the best place to begin.
What Are Medical-Grade Vitamin Supplements?
While vitamin supplements are widely accessible, not all options are created equally. Unlike over-the-counter supplements, medical-grade or pharmaceutical supplements are manufactured according to FDA’s regulatory standards. These supplements are manufactured under the Good Manufacturing Practices standards, assuring their quality.
According to these standards, medical-grade supplements should be 99% pure and free from fillers, inactive additives, dyes, and binders. They should also be third-party verified. Apart from manufacturing practices, medical grade and over-the-counter vitamin supplements also differ in the following ways:
- Ingredients Profile
Medical-grade vitamin supplements must undergo and pass third-party tests for purity. Because these supplements contain the natural and purest form of vitamins, they are highly beneficial to the body.
Pharmaceutical vitamin supplements can’t be compared to over-the-counter options made from inferior raw materials that potentially contain harmful impurities. Raw materials for OTC vitamins are also foreign-sourced and shipped using containers easily affected by high temperatures. This degrades the quality of raw materials and vitamin supplements.
The bioavailability of vitamin supplements, drugs, and other dietary items refers to the absorption rates in the body. Medical-grade supplements are easily and effectively absorbed in the body, thanks to their pure and natural ingredient profile. On the other hand, over-the-counter vitamin supplements contain synthetic materials, which slow their absorption in the body. As such, most OTC vitamin supplements are dissolved by the digestive system before absorption occurs.
The potency of vitamin supplements significantly affects absorption and the general nutritional benefits. Medical-grade vitamins are pure and natural, making them very potent. Third-party tests are often done to confirm the potency of these supplements. On the other hand, over-the-counter vitamins contain additives and fillers, which reduces the percentage of vitamins in these products. Unfortunately, most manufacturers of OTC vitamins use misleading information to market their products.
Tips for Buying Medical Grade Supplements
The following tips can help you buy quality medical-grade vitamins:
- Know why you need them
Dietary supplements are typically used to correct nutritional imbalances in the body. However, in some cases, they can also be used to treat or improve symptoms of specific diseases. For instance, your doctor may recommend vitamin D supplements for osteoporosis. If such is the case, your physician should explain how much you should take and suggest specific brands.
You shouldn’t diagnose yourself and start taking vitamin supplements without consulting your doctor, even for general health benefits. You should also reconsider using vitamin supplements if your goal is preventing an illness. Supplements don’t have disease prevention benefits. Eating a healthy diet is more beneficial.
- Avoid mega doses and many ingredients
Most people get everything wrong by overdosing on supplements or choosing vitamins with a lot of extra ingredients. For instance, if your doctor recommends vitamin C supplements, you should simply buy a bottle with vitamin C benefits. There’s no need to buy a bottle of vitamin C with immune benefits, another with gut benefits, and other options.
While using vitamin supplements with additional ingredients might seem prudent, these extra ingredients can affect supplement potency and cause unwanted effects. Therefore, stick with medical-grade supplements with specific minerals or vitamins.
- Buy from a reliable brand
You should trust vitamin supplement manufacturers that have withstood the test of time. As mentioned, the supplements market recently exploded, attracting many manufacturers. Unfortunately, while some focus on providing supplements with health benefits, others are there to prey on unsuspecting users by manufacturing supplements with zero health benefits.
Therefore, buying from brands that have been on the market for years is a good idea. If the manufacturer is relatively new, ensure the products have ConsumerLabs and other third-party certifications.
- Buy from reputable online sites
Shopping online is becoming a new norm for its unmatched convenience. However, you should buy medical-grade vitamins online with great caution. A quick Google search for vitamin supplements turns up hundreds of websites, ranging from official manufacturer sites to retailers and affiliates. Regardless, you should do due diligence before ordering vitamins online. Don’t fall for sites with very convincing promotional content.
The Bottom Line
Medical providers highly recommend medical-grade vitamins for many reasons. Primarily, they provide a safe and natural way to replenish your nutritional deficiencies, boost your immune system, enhance the actions of dietary vitamins, and promote general health and well-being. However, you should consult with your hormone specialist before taking vitamin supplements, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking prescription drugs.