Answer:

It's generally best to buy and use single-ingredient supplements. There are several reasons for this.

First, you are more likely to get what's listed on the label with a single-ingredient supplement. Years of testing by ConsumerLab.com have shown that combination products are more likely to contain incorrect amounts of one or more ingredients -- and they are more likely to be contaminated.

Second, with a single-ingredient supplement, the recommended daily serving of that ingredient is more likely to be clinically relevant than if the ingredient is part of a combination formula, where a tiny amount may be included merely as "window dressing." In addition, most combinations on the market have not been clinically tested.

Third, using single-ingredient supplements gives you a better idea of which ingredients work and which do not, as well as which are causing side-effects. This allows you to adjust your supplements and dosage to better suit your needs.

Finally, you may find it actually costs less to purchase ingredients as separate supplements than in a combination formula. Many single-ingredient products of high quality and low cost are identified in the ConsumerLab.com's Product Reviews

With that said, an appropriate time to use a combination formula is when that exact combination has been shown to work in a well-controlled clinical trial and it is less expensive to purchase (or much more convenient to use) than the corresponding collection of single-ingredient supplements.

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1 Comments

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Frank11537
January 1, 2017

What is your position on whole food supplements such as those by Standard Process Labs? Have any of those been tested? Would like to get your opinion. Thank you

ConsumerLab.com
January 16, 2017

Hi Frank - We have tested some Standard Process supplements; you can find a list of reviews which include these products here: https://www.consumerlab.com/Search/Standard-Process-Review.

You may also be interested in this CL Answer about whole food multivitamins: https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/_/whole_food_vitamins/

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