MENU
ConsumerLab.com Answers

Question:
Is it better to buy supplements which are combination formulas or single-ingredient?

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.

Also see:



Which vitamins and minerals should be taken together or separately? >>

Is it important to take calcium and magnesium together? >>

If vitamin K absorption appears to be reduced by other fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamin D, why do some "bone health" supplements combine them? Should they be taken separately? >>



See other recent and popular questions >>
Comments
Add Comment

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/

This CL Answer initially posted on 12/22/2016. Last updated 7/25/2017.

Add Comment...

Share your thoughts and comments about this topic in the space below. Please abide by the following rules:
  • If you make a statement of fact, such as whether a type of treatment does or does not work, state your basis -- such as personal experience or a published study.
  • If you make a positive or negative comment about a product, note whether or not you have a financial interest in the product or in a competing product.
  • Please be respectful in your tone.
  • Please do not submit any type of HTML markup or scripting as it will not be accepted.
Comment:

Add Comment...

Share your thoughts and comments about this topic in the space below. Please abide by the following rules:
  • If you make a statement of fact, such as whether a type of treatment does or does not work, state your basis -- such as personal experience or a published study.
  • If you make a positive or negative comment about a product, note whether or not you have a financial interest in the product or in a competing product.
  • Please be respectful in your tone.
  • Please do not submit any type of HTML markup or scripting as it will not be accepted.
Comment:

Edit Comment...

You can modify your comment below. Please be aware the comment will have to approve the changes before they will be shown:
Comment: