How to shop for vitamins: Standardized vs Non-Standardized Vitamins

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Supplement Comparison on whether to buy the standardized version of the vitamin, or the non-standardized vitamin.

All of this information about specific vitamins were being pulled off of Google shopping, the references are below. Also, the book, Mosby’s Handbook of Herbs and Natural Supplements (must read!) Which you can find right here!

Mosby’s Handbook of Herbs and Natural Supplements

When looking up different supplements I honestly had no idea what the difference between standardized and non-standardized was. The more I investigated it, I realized the non-standardized supplements seemed to always have way more than the recommended dose in Mosby’s Handbook. The prices were also completely different, as it seemed like the standardized medication did not cost as much. I am not totally sure why someone would need to take triple the amount of a supplement, I was thinking it was to get the most out of it. My partner and I used to take Saint John’s Wort for depression, and we were taking a total of 300mg, the bottle mentioned that we can take up to three capsules daily. That matches up to Mosby’s Handbook perfectly, whereas the non-standardized version of this same medication would have had me take over 1000mgs. Some other things I noticed were that the standardized supplements always had a better and clearer ingredient list on the bottle. It said every single ingredient that was in it, including what the capsule or tablet was made out of. It also mentioned that it was an herbal supplement and a dietary supplement, but that was mentioned on both bottles.

I think that the standardized supplements are used more than the non-standardized because it is easier to read, and very well labeled. Taking just one capsule from the bottle seemed to be a good daily dose when recommended by Mosby’s Handbook. Sometimes it would mention to take the supplement with a meal, but it never mentioned those things on the non-standardized bottles. Both bottles listed the correct number of milligrams and dosages in each bottle, as well as what herbs or minerals are in the product.  

When looking up the supplements, finding the standardized versions was always so much easier since it was labeled on the bottle as “standardized”. The non-standardized version would just be the same thing but not labeled, and I of course realized the difference very shortly after starting the research since the dosages was completely different. I did not get a chance to travel anywhere to look at supplements in a store since I do not have a car, so I ended up using google and going straight to the shopping section. You can buy both kinds of supplements at the same stores usually, like Vitamin Shoppe or even Walmart. The non-standardized supplements sometimes would not have photos of the ingredients listed, so I would have to scroll down to the bottom of the page and search for it. I would eventually find it, but if I could not find it, I just went ahead and switched up the supplement I chose to write about, so I can make sure I am giving the world valid information and facts, and not just assumptions. The ones I chose, I chose for a reason. I use all of these supplements, or I plan too someday.

The St. Johns Wort (standardized version) had a few other herbs in it, like rosemary and Spirulina, which I just found out was a fancy way to say seaweed! In the ingredients list, it mentions that they use the stem, the leaf, and the flower. The non-standardized version only used the flower buds and the tops. I’m pretty sure the standardized version of all these supplements use most or all of the herbs instead of the non-standardized supplement only using just parts of the herbs. The standardized version of Black Cohosh however seemed to use and extract whereas the non-standardized version simply used the herb itself.


In the end, I found that the non-standardized herbs and supplements always had a higher price than the standardized version, they had a much higher dosage, and the ingredients were sometimes not even on the bottle making it quite difficult to figure out what was in it. The standardized supplements seem like more of a safe choice, especially if you did not have Mosby’s Handbook to read. I think that if I did not know anything about herbs, then I could easily grab the wrong version for me, and it could end horribly wrong. Sometimes, even taking just herbal supplements, you need to talk to your doctor and make sure its won’t affect you negatively. Especially if you are taking other medications or vitamins with it. So, I think the standardized supplements are the way to go.             

You NEVER want to take too much of something, everything in moderation is the key with anything in life. You CAN overdose by taking too many vitamins, it is not good for you. If you do not know what you are about to buy, don’t buy it. If you do not know the dosage of what you should be taking, rent or purchase Mosby’s Handbook and it will tell you EXACTLY how much of everything you should be taking. I highly recommend it!         


Linda Skidmore-Roth. (2001). Mosby’s Handbook of Herbs & Natural Supplements., 4th edition. Retrieved from!/4/2@0:0.00

Google Express. (n.d) retrieved at

Vitamin Shoppe. (2019). Retrieved at

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