The Best Vitamin Subscription Services to Try

Vitamin subscription services deliver a customized vitamin regimen right to your door each month. By obtaining some information from you in advance, a vitamin subscription company can use your health, age, sex and health conditions to choose the right vitamins for you. Because it’s a subscription service, the vitamins should arrive by the time you need them each month.

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Not everyone needs a monthly vitamin subscription. Many people get adequate levels of vitamins and minerals from the foods they eat, says registered dietitian Amanda Lane, founder of Healthful Lane Nutrition in Minneapolis.

It’s also better to get your nutritional needs from whole foods as often as you can, so you get a well-rounded mix of fiber, water and nutrients from each original food source, says Dr. Alona Pulde, a family medicine physician and advisor for the health app Lifesum.

However, there are some people who may benefit from a vitamin subscription. You may fit into this category if you:

— Have been told by a health professional that the foods you eat don’t meet all of your nutritional needs. This may be the case if you’re always on the go or don’t always have access to healthy foods. You could have certain vitamin or mineral deficiencies, like vitamin D or iron.

— Require additional nutrients because you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

— Have health concerns like poor sleep, menopause or excessive stress that may be helped with specific supplements.

— Have a disability that makes it harder to get to the store to pick up your vitamin.

— Follow a vegetarian or vegan diet and need additional nutrients, such as iron or B12, both of which are commonly found in animal products.

— Often forget to purchase your vitamins by the time you need to take them.

— Travel often. When traveling, you may find it harder to follow any daily routines, such as taking vitamins. The pre-packaged ones from a vitamin subscription can make it easier and are travel-friendly.

— Want the convenience of having the vitamins you need in one package.

Vitamins aren’t intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease, cautions Amargo Couture, a registered dietitian at Staten Island University Hospital in Staten Island, New York.

You should discuss any new planned vitamin regimen in advance with your primary health provider or a registered dietitian.

How Vitamin Subscriptions Work

To help customize your vitamin subscription, many companies offer an online quiz that will ask you about your health habits, the types of foods you eat and fitness preferences, among other questions.

Other companies, like Baze and Rootine offer at-home testing in addition to online quizzes to help customize your vitamins. This includes blood tests, DNA tests or stool samples, says registered dietitian Maddie Pasquariello of Brooklyn, New York. For example, Baze offers a $200 at-home blood test (there’s an online instructional video to walk you through the process).

Although the customized tests can help personalize your choices, they also will cost more than the free online quizzes. You also may have to wait longer to get the results and start your subscription.

You can always inquire with your health care team about getting lab work done if you suspect or know that you have a certain nutrient deficiency, Pasquariello says.

When choosing a vitamin subscription, consider any medications that you currently use. Some medications can have a negative interaction with certain vitamins, Lane says. For instance, if you take the blood thinner warfarin, you should avoid vitamin E as this can also thin the blood. This is yet another reason to vet your potential vitamin choices with a primary care provider or registered dietitian first.

[READ: Vitamins and Minerals: the Essentials for Women.]

Features to Look for in a Monthly Vitamin Subscription

Here are some features that help ensure you’re selecting a high-quality vitamin subscription.

Third-party testing

The FDA doesn’t regulate supplements, including vitamins. This is why you should double-check that the product you’re using has third-party testing done by U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) or NSF. These organizations will test supplements to make sure they have the ingredients that they’re advertising, says Ed Wyszumiala, director of customer engagement for dietary supplements at U.S. Pharmacopeia, located in Rockville, Maryland.

Supplements that are third-party tested will have a USP or NSF label on the bottle, and should mention it on its website. With this type of verification, you also get an assurance that it has the dosage that it claims to have.

Quality ingredients

The brand you choose should be transparent about its ingredients, Couture says. Look for vitamins that are free of additives, preservatives and artificial coloring, Pulde advises. The online information for the vitamins should state the ingredients.

As you assess a company, check to see if it has done recent clinical tests with its products and provides details from the results. Look for vitamins that don’t have unwanted ingredients like heavy metals (lead and mercury are two examples) and chemicals from pesticides (like glyphosate), Wyszumiala says. You should be able to find the ingredient list online or on the bottle.

The Department of Defense has a quick, easy-to-use screening for supplement safety, found here.

Cost

Before you sign up, make sure you can afford the monthly subscription. A vitamin subscription company may lure you in with an initial discount but then increase to its normal price afterwards. Companies that offer customized blood or other tests often charge extra for those tests.

Cancellation is easy

Your health and life circumstances may change, and that means you may need to change or cancel your vitamin subscription, Lane says. You may become pregnant, or your income may change and you no longer want to use a vitamin subscription. As you choose companies, look for one that makes it easy to cancel without locking you in long term.

Customer service

Because you’re paying extra for convenience, it’s only natural to expect a little more from a vitamin company’s customer service. This can include a fast response if you have questions about a product, or the option to connect you with medical professionals for questions, Pulde says. Some vitamin subscription companies like HUM and Baze will connect you with registered dietitians for questions.

Shipping testimonials

Online reviews can be a treasure trove of information. One thing you’ll want to check for is fast, trackable shipping. You want to make sure the shipping process saves you time rather than creating more hassle, Pasquariello says.

Even if you choose to use a vitamin subscription service, you should aim to obtain most of your nutritional needs from whole foods, Pulde says.

Best Vitamin Subscription Services

Most Affordable: Nurish by Nature Made

Best for Contact With Registered Dietitians: HUM

Best for Gut Health: Seed

Best for Men: Roman

Best for Customization: Rootine

Most Affordable: Nurish by Nature Made

You may have heard of Nature Made already as its vitamins have lined supermarket shelves for decades. With Nurish, you can take an online, five-minute quiz to customize your vitamins. The monthly price for Nurish will vary but averages around $28 a month. You receive a 30-day supply, but you can pause or cancel your plan at any time.

Nurish also sells some of its vitamin packs online ($19.99 for a 3-day supply) without requiring customization. For instance, its Everyday Nutrition includes vitamins for common nutritional shortfalls, like vitamin D3, vitamin C and omega 3 as well as a multivitamin.

Best for Contact With Registered Dietitians: HUM

If having a registered dietitian who you can contact with your questions and concerns is a top priority, then HUM may be the right fit for you. After taking the HUM quiz, you’ll get your personalized results. You’ll also get the name of a registered dietitian you can message.

The price for HUM supplements will vary. You get more of a discount if you choose a three-month supply.

Best for Gut Health: Seed

If better gut health is your main concern, then check out Seed. Seed makes a probiotic and prebiotic product called DS-01 Daily Symbiotic with 24 strains of good-gut bacteria. According to the company, the product can help reduce bloating, aid with easier passing of your stools and support occasional GI discomfort. The product is geared for adults aged 18 and up.

For $49.99/month, Seed initially sends you a refillable glass jar to hold your capsules, a travel vial for your capsules and a 30-day supply of 60 capsules (you use two capsules daily). After that, you receive a monthly supply.

Best for Men:Roman

Roman specializes in men’s health with its range of products for prostate health, heart health, sexual health, testosterone support and more. When you use the site, you get connected online with a healthcare professional who can help assess your health needs and offer personalized recommendations. Some states may require a phone or video chat with your doctor or nurse to complete the process.

Once your treatment is approved by one of Roman’s health professionals, it will get shipped to you. You can decide on monthly or quarterly shipping. You also can buy some of Roman’s products, such as the multivitamin, without a health assessment.

A 30-day supply of the multivitamin is $35/month. Prices vary for Roman’s other medications.

Best for Customization: Rootine

If you’re looking for a vitamin subscription that offers comprehensive testing to assess your nutritional needs, Rootine may be a good match. The nutrients for Rootine vitamins are customized through an online quiz, a DNA test and a blood test. The DNA and blood tests can be done at home and are optional. The multivitamin you receive is made with slow-release microbeads that the company says are easier for the body to absorb.

The personalized vitamin from Rootine costs $69/month. The blood vitamin test and the DNA test are $105 each, and the blood mineral test is $125. You can take both the blood vitamin test and the DNA test for $189.

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The Best Vitamin Subscription Services to Try originally appeared on usnews.com

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