Purchasing supplements, you may have never thought to pay attention to the quality or grade. One would assume that all supplements would be of high quality since they are meant to be ingested, however this is not the case. The reality is that there are multiple grades and qualities and not every supplement is created equal.

But not to worry! Today, we will be teaching you exactly what to look for when purchasing good-quality supplements. The rule of thumb: you want to purchase pharmaceutical grade supplements most of the time. However, if you can’t get your hands on a supplement of pharmaceutical grade, medical grade is also of a very high standard.

Pharmaceutical grade? Medical grade? What are you talking about? We’ll get into what these mean now.

Categories of Supplements

There are four categories of supplements recognized:

  1. Pharmaceutical Grade 

These are the highest quality of supplement available. They are considered to be of high purity, and have been created to produce the highest absorption once ingested. Pharmaceutical grade supplements have been evaluated by a lab for its pureness and bioavailability. They are usually only sold by licensed health providers.

  1. Medical Grade

These are the next best quality grade in supplements. They are relatively pure and have a high quality of bioavailability.

  1. Cosmetic Grade
  1. Agricultural Grade

When purchasing supplements, you want to purchase either pharmaceutical or medical grades to ensure you are getting a good-quality product.

What to Look for When Selecting a Supplement


  1. Purity

Purity refers to the quality of being pure or unmixed with any other element. It is the absence of impurities such as lead, mercury, pesticides, insecticides, and other toxins. It is basically how pure a supplement is. So something that is 100% naturally derived with nothing added would be 100% pure. Technically speaking, most supplements are not 100% pure. The main point you want to be sure of, is that the product does not contain questionable fillers and binders such as sodium benzoate, dextrose, ethcellulose and propylene glycol (just some examples).

Pharmaceutical grades must be 99% pure with no binders, fillers, dyes, etc.

  1. Bioavailability

This refers to the degree and rate of which the supplement is absorbed once ingested. This is important because it will affect the ability of the supplement to work. You want a supplement that is going to end up in your body and actually work. This comes down to choosing a high-grade such as pharmaceutical and medical.

  1. Third Party Verification

One of the best ways to know if the product is pure, is to ask if it has a COA (certificate of analysis). This means that the product has been verified by a third-party laboratory. The third-party lab analyses the product to ensure it really is what it says in the label and does not contain harmful contaminants.

  1. Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)GMP

Products manufactured in a GMP facility assures you that the process for producing the product was designed to minimize the risks involved in the pharmaceutical production that could not be eliminated through testing the final product.

If you find all of these in a supplement, you know you’ve found one that is high quality and will be effective. We hope that this guide helps you when looking for supplements!


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