Q. I often buy vitamins at a warehouse club. Does where I get them really matter?

A. The best place to buy vitamins is in a natural-foods store or other place that focuses on dietary supplements. Their products, unlike those at chain pharmacies, are most likely to contain the most potent forms—and no artificial colors or preservatives. What to look for…

  • Vitamin E: The gamma tocopherol form is natural and more potent than dl-alpha tocopherol, the synthetic form.
  • Vitamin C: The best forms come from rose hips, tapioca or other natural sources. In addition to ascorbic acid, they contain powerful bioflavonoids.
  • Vitamin B: Supplements should contain equal amounts of B-1 (thiamine), B-2 (riboflavin) and B-6 (pyridoxine). The best ones are made from rice, yeast or other natural products.

Also important…

If possible, buy vitamins in dark-colored or opaque containers. They will last longer.

Don’t purchase more than a two-month supply at a time. And make sure that products are not past their expiration dates.

Keep vitamins away from moisture. When you open the container, remove any cotton balls, which absorb moisture and can cause vitamins to disintegrate. Don’t store vitamins in the bathroom or refrigerator unless the label tells you to.