I prefer to buy from AskHealthyWay.com, based in Lynnwood in Washington. It's the best supplement vendor I've been able to find. They have a brick-and-mortar store there that I've often visited, and they do mail-order as well. I don't say that as any kind of salesperson and I don't get paid one penny for anything I recommend. I wish there were more companies like this one, but they are few and far between.
The Best Supplement Vendors
|Full disclosure: I'm a well-being advocate and a caring person, but I'm not a health professional. It's very important to note that I don't earn any sort of commission for recommending any particular supplement or company. My thoughts are based on a combination of (a) studying the advice of nutrition researchers, (b) visiting web sites where supplements are described, and (c) personal knowledge coming from experiences with many different supplements. I had to go through quite a few health problems, before discovering supplements and foods that I found to be more healthifying than anything else I've ever tried. I sincerely judge these supplements to be effective for the vast majority of people. However, effectiveness can vary depending on your biochemistry and state of health. You can read my full disclaimer here.|
Many supplement companies are concerned about the health of their customers, but most of them don't know how to exercise the scientific discipline needed to design really effective products. And did you know that most supplement companies have been acquired by pharmaceutical mega-corporations? Most companies seem to be guided by four profit-driven principles:
All of the above has created a huge maze of tens of thousands of supplements, most of them inferior and poorly documented. You can easily see why you and I need excellent expertise to help us!
- Enough market demand must exist to allow profitable sales;
- Companies design formulas quickly with little research, for fast profits;
- They make supplements with cheap subpar ingredients, in order to maximize their profit-per-sale;
- They prefer cheap and fast mass-production methods,. Of course, that's done to maximize market share and multiply their profits. But it usually involves cutting coners, which diminishes product quality.
I'll explain the reasons I support Rex Smith and Healthy Way in three sections: their (1) people, (2) products and (3) methods that set them apart from most other companies. For fairness and balance, I'll also discuss some (4) drawbacks of their store in my view.
- Knowledgeable leadership. Nutrition researcher Rex Smith is very knowledgeable about supplements. He often recounts stories of the supplements he's designed, and bemoans the incredibly sloppy mistakes made by other supplement designers. Store manager Tom has worked with Smith for decades now, and is also knowledgeable. I think their advice is about 90% right, when most other "expert" nutritional advice is 30% to 70% right.
- Helpful staff. The staff at Healthy Way is fairly well trained but not as knowledgeable. The employees are friendly and helpful, and it's apparent that they're proud to be associated with this company. When I call the store I'm often able to talk with Tom, who co-hosts with Rex Smith on their "Focus On Nutrition" radio show. I've found his advice helpful.
- Experienced and empathetic. Healthy Way has been helping people achieve better health for over 25 years. Lead researcher Rex Smith is very compassionate and validates his supplement choices carefully. Smith suffered through several childhood maladies, then recovered nicely by using quality supplements. As he tells it, he had to go through a lot of bad supplements before finding ones that actually worked. I've personally suffered through the ordeal of childhood sicknesses too, and have enjoyed extensive healing from the supplements offered by Healthy Way.
- Spiritual awareness. Rex and Tom are both Christian and say so on their show. They know that your quest for better health is part of your life's spiritual journey.
- Responsive to questions. Their site at AskHealthyWay.com makes it very easy to ask them questions. I've found they endeavor to answer truthfully within one business day. Their answers help people personalize your supplement program to their individual needs.
The vast majority of companies out there really don't want to bother taking questions from people. Few other companies actually encourage people to educate themselves like Healthy Way does.
- Honest answers. They usually can point me to a supplement that works well. And whenever I ask them to name a good substitute for a supplement of theirs that is out of stock, they've been willing to give me the name of a competing brand. They sometimes have even recommended items their store doesn't carry.
And they're more realistic than other supplement companies: They acknowledge that no supplement is right for everyone.. Rex Smith says if anyone tells you that, "run as fast as you can in the other direction!" Instead they'll say something like "'Supplement X' works for __% of the people we've tested it on." If they sometimes seem to overstate the case for a supplement, I think it's only human to get excited about the life-changing effects of excellent nutrition.
- Quality suppliers. Most supplements they recommend are from the Premium Nutrition company. That's the line of supplements that has personally helped me the most. I've never seen them market a low-quality brand. They take care to offer products that are manufactured in the best way possible.
- Well-Formulated Recipes. Supplements are carefully tested nutritional recipes, not the "copycat" formulas that are so common in the supplement industry. Recipes combine vitamins and other nutrients your body needs, with herbs that nourish you and improve the supplement's effectiveness. It's common for supplements from other companies to initially work well for weeks, then "turn on you" and begin to stress your body.
- Optimal ingredients. They carefully choose the highest quality of nutrients and herbs available: organic whenever possible, and usually wild-harvested. Most other companies market either vitamins or herbs, not both. If a high-quality ingredient is unavailable to Premium Nutrition, they will not substitute a lower-quality ingredient. Sometimes they even reject batches of supplements that they've ordered from manufacturers, just because one or two of the ingredients didn't meet their exacting standards. Unfortunately, this makes many manufacturers reluctant to work with Premium Nutrition, causing production delays at times.
- Nutrients reach the targeted area. Some of Healthy Way's supplements simply absorb much better than other brands do. Some of their supplements (such as their Mag Plus magnesium) use "transporters" to make sure the nutrients can get to where your body needs them.
- Natural ingredients. They describe their supplements as "food concentrates." Part of their philosophy is to promote your health by packing very intensive nutrition into a supplement capsule. Their supplements don't contain anything that is likely to harm you, such as the "fillers" in other supplements that can harm your digestion. And other companies sometimes use unsafe versions of nutrients, sourced from "petrochemicals" derived from crude oil.
- Packaged well. Their supplements are designed to preserve top quality: They are packaged in glass bottles when appropriate, in order to preserve freshness and purity.
- No low-quality products. Years ago they owned a huge vitamin store. But when they realized only a few of the brands were working well, they got rid of 90% of their inventory. Now they only sell the products they know are likeliest to work well.
- Informative radio show. Rex and co-host Tom have a local radio show called "Focus On Nutrition." It airs at 2pm PDT Saturdays on KGNW 820 (a Christian talk station) and streams live at TheWordSeattle.com. When I first heard the show it seemed to me to have "infomercial" overtones. It is paid programming, but over time I've found its advice to be sincere, detailed and effective.
- Unadvertised. They like to rely on word-of-mouth. They don't advertise, other than their radio show. If they did, I imagine they'd probably run out of supplements before too long.
- Guaranteed results. They offer a 30-day money-back guarantee for partially consumed bottles. I've personally returned several bottles of vitamins that weren't right for me, and they've always honored their word. I've even returned unopened bottles that were bought months previously, and they've usually given me a refund. I think that's because they often run short on their more popular supplements, and they know other people will want to buy any unused bottles .
- Fair prices. Their pricing is fair, in my estimation. Some of their products are fairly expensive because of the reliance on top-quality herbs. Many products in their store are inexpensive, especially when you consider the quality we're getting. You can get discounts by listening to their radio show.
- Tested well. They tirelessly test many different supplements: Smith often says he's tested tens of thousands of them in his ceaseless search for the best supplements. They test supplements personally, then test it on others and try to fairly judge its effectiveness.
I'm afraid most other companies design their supplements based on just theoretical research and/or copying their competitors. Few companies seem to realize the need to test supplements to make sure they work well. Such testing would cut profits, of course.
Oh well, nobody's perfect. There are some cautions to be aware of when dealing with Healthy Way:
It's still a great company. I was hesitant and skeptical for a year or so, probably much as you are now. But as I tried more and more of their supplements, I found three that helped me amazingly well. Another three or four provided a really welcome boost to my overall health. I hope you learn faster than I did!
- Product labeling discrepancies. The recommended dosage on the supplement label is often different from the dosage recommended by Smith on his radio show. In Smith's defense, he does base his recommendations on the reactions of the people he ministers to. He usually states an average range such as "4-6 capsules per day", and allows that people might do best above or below that range.
Figuring out the best dosage for you is a matter of experimentation. I've usually found that small doses work better for me. Many others report that larger dosages are what works best for them.
- Semi-professional radio show production. Their radio show has some production glitches. It offers very good information, but it sounds too much like an "infomercial." It actually took me a few years to figure out that they offer some of the best nutritional information available in America.
- Poorly organized website. It lacks articles and reviews that would help us better understand supplements and nutrition. I clicked on the "Blog" link and there was almost nothing written there. The text is too small, and if you enlarge the text too much, some text may be forced off the page and become virtually invisible. There's no way for users to post their thoughts, and no testimonials are posted anywhere.
On the plus side, supplements and ingredients are well described. And when you register for an account, you can manage your orders more easily.
- Overconfidence in their recommended products. They almost always claim their products are the best available by far. That usually seems to be the case, but it's also possible that they're biased to some extent. They say they test supplements extensively, but I'm not in a position to know how scientific their methods are.
I haven't heard them say this, but it's not unusual for the effects of a supplement to dwindle over time. In that case, experiment for a few months to find out the right dosage for you. Sometimes you just need to take a break from a supplement to discover how much you really need it. Other times you may do best to take much less after the initial "loading" period, and on occasion you can stop consumption if all symptoms targeted by that supplement have disappeared.
- Healthy foods are not a big enough focus. Sometimes their radio show talks about food, more than it did years ago, but still not often enough. Their store stocks a few healthy foods, but I wouldn't say the selection is impressive.
- Unexplained skeptical comments. Rex Smith often makes derogatory remarks about competing products, calling them "disasters." Sometimes he offers an explanation, but I'm still uncertain how science-based some of his remarks are. Perhaps there isn't enough time to offer proof on a radio show. For example he recently said that most bottled water is of poor quality, without referring us to an article that proves his contention.
- Incomplete nutritional instructions. Rex Smith sometimes makes nutritional suggestions on his show, but then is reluctant to recommend effective brands. For example in that episode where he discussed bottled water, he didn't name any brands he considers safe. However, when I emailed Healthy Way to ask about this matter, they answered that Smith prefers Icelandic spring water and that their store stocks Earth 2.0 water from Oregon.
- Limited availability of supplements. At any given time, about 20% to 30% of their supplements are out of stock because herbs are difficult to find in the necessary high quality. So I'm fairly certain they can't distribute many of their products as widely as they'd like. I wish some way could be found to distribute their supplements more widely, in cases where ingredients are readily available.
- Bottle sizes are often too big. Oftentimes when you want to try a supplement, you'll need to shell out $40 or $50 to buy a big bottle. Hopefully they'll bring back some of the smaller bottles they used to offer. Fortunately, their money-back guarantee is reliable.
So... Do You Want To Improve Your Health?!
Here's what's crucial to understand about Healthy Way: They are an exceptional supplement company because they are
One smart move is to directly ask Healthy Way for answers for your nutritional concerns. Go to AskHealthyWay.com now and navigate to the contact form. Briefly list your concerns (mention your age and gender too) and ask what supplements they recommend.
- Knowledgeable about excellent ingredients and products, unlike most other suppliers;
- Conscientious about only offering their customers what has the best chance to improve their health; and
- Their money-back guarantee is reliable which takes away any risk.
They can tell you which supplements are most likely to assist you in your individual health journey. Healthy Way has very good expertise in supplements, just be aware that the further the conversation strays into professional medicine, the less they will be able to give the best advice. They can't guarantee positive results from a given supplement because nobody can. But it's nearly certain that many of their supplements will boost your health.
When you write to them, keep your questions brief (under 100 words) and about supplements. That's their specialty and they probably wouldn't be able to answer other types of health questions. And remember that legal constraints prevent them from answering questions about specific diseases. For example, if you have a kidney disease then don't mention it, just ask something like "what supplement(s) will help my kidneys perform better?"
Assuming your health is important to you, it's wise to try Healthy Way's supplements with zero delay. I hope that what you've read on this page was enough to convince you to do that. I sincerely recommend that you order five to seven of the supplements that are most likely to address your individual concerns about your health. With their money-back guarantee, it's both healthwise and moneywise to order as soon as possible.
Rex Smith has said that over 90% of supplements on the market aren't good for us, and that most people even feel better after they've completely stopped taking their supplements. While you're waiting for your mail order to arrive, you could try putting that suggestion to the test. When you receive your order, you will have at least partially recovered from any bad supplements you were taking.
Usually people settle on about 3-5 supplements sold by Healthy Way that they find work well, perhaps 3-5 more that give lesser results, and a few more that may not show detectable results but are strongly supported by nutritional research. It may be wise to keep cautiously experimenting with the dosage. It's also very important to eat nutritious food: I'll write another post about that, hopefully within a month or two.
AskHealthyWay.com can take your order anytime. Their brick-and-mortar store is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10-6pm (mail orders are taken by phone.) Mondays they are closed because that's their day for filling mail orders.
I also like a store with a similar product line, AbundantLivingNutrition in Portland. They have some good additional supplements on their website. If you find that one of these two sites is missing something, check the other one.