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4 Steps to Buying the Right Supplements in 2024

We’ve already said our piece about New Year’s resolutions — how and why exactly we think they stink. But, if we’re being honest, there is one pact we think every wellness seeker should make with themselves this year. 

And that is: To stop wasting money on vitamins and supplements. 

Does that mean we think you should stop buying supplements altogether? Not quite. Although Dr. Neal is constantly encouraging folks to take fewer — hence why he makes a great holistic health advocate and a terrible supplement salesman

We just mean that, in the year of our lord 2024, there’s no reason for you or your friends to overspend on underwhelming supplements made with cheap, ineffective ingredients. 

Because the 14 mega corporations who own the vast majority of supplement brands might be clever with their million-dollar marketing schemes, but we can be cleverer! Or, at the very least, we can be more discerning of the skeevy sales tactics that inundate the natural health industry.

So before you new-year-new-you yourself into an overflowing supplement cabinet and an empty wallet, read through these 4 steps to buying supplements in 2024. Fresh from Dr. Neal’s boat-rocking, middle-path-walking desk. 

In This Article:

1. Do the Foundational Work First

The easiest way to avoid wasting money on supplements is to simply not need them in the first place. Pretty straightforward, right?

We’re being a little reductive here, considering that even the healthiest American eaters can still suffer from deficiencies thanks to rapidly declining food quality. But the point stands — you’re less likely to go bankrupt on unnecessary supplements if you focus on the basics first.

The basics of health are, of course, the lifestyle domains that make up the foundation of your well-being. Diet, exercise, sleep, stress management, and environmental changes.

Packaged in this simple, accessible concept we call the Wellness Pyramid, these mundane areas of everyday existence play a major role in your overall health and quality of life. If we ignore these basic building blocks, we can incur deficiencies, chronic inflammation, higher risk of disease, mental health difficulties, and more.

Because, as we oft say around these parts, you can out-supplement a Cheeto-based diet. Or, another one of our favorites, you can’t omega-3 your way through a sedentary lifestyle.

Start your supplementation journey a little closer to home by first clearing out the toxins, limiting beliefs, and unhelpful habits from your mental and physical spaces. Then focus on integrating more joy, gentle movement, nutritious food, and restorative rest into your life.


  • Address health concerns and reduce disease risk through diet, sleep, exercise, stress management, and lifestyle changes before taking supplements

Learn More: The Wellness Pyramid — Your Roadmap to Holistic Health

2. Create a Strategy

It should go without saying, but we better not catch you buying supplements willy-nilly in 2024!

Instead of buying based on hype, wield your hard-earned cash as an extension of your intelligence and buy supplements that make sense for your personal supplement strategy. Because supplements and vitamins, like their pharmaceutical counterparts, interact with your body, your other supplements, and your food in different ways.

And, if we buy into the hoopla around a particular vitamin or herb without doing our research, we can end up with overlapping nutrients, canceled-out compounds, and money down the drain.

Every supplement strategy is unique, but every good supplement strategy is rooted in science.

Start building your supplement strategy with the vitamins and nutrients that most people are deficient in, according to clinical research. The 5 most common nutrient deficiencies we can tackle first are also known as Dr. Neal’s Vital5.

Omega-3, probiotics, protein, bone support, and multivitamins.

After optimizing your intake of these 5 elements through diet and supplementation, check in with yourself before adding in more. You might just find, for example, that getting adequate amounts of probiotics and protein makes your gut issues and brain fog nonexistent.

No sea moss needed.

Keep moving forward by adding additional high-quality, data-backed supplements into your routine to target specific health concerns or conditions. Then, the next time you see a so-called miracle cure on TikTok, you can decide if and how it fits into your science-based supplement strategy.


  • Boost intake of 5 most common nutrient deficiencies first
  • Add additional, science-backed supplements to address specific health concerns

Learn More: Why You Need a Supplement Strategy — Plus 3 Steps to Get Started

3. Find Your Brands

It’s true that supplements and vitamins have never been more accessible than they are in 2024. But this is a blessing and a curse.

Why? Well, because slick branding and clever marketing speak reign supreme in the world of supplement sales. Which is due, in part, to the fact the wellness industry has even looser regulations than that of traditional pharmaceuticals.

Plus, the natural health market will be worth 15.5 billion dollars by 2024.

There’s quite a lot of money to be made off unwitting consumers who turn to supplements in hopes of simply feeling better and healthier. Is it totally unfair that wellness seekers have to get an unaccredited degree in supplement speak just to avoid buying cheap crap?

It is.

But it’s also empowering to use your influence as a consumer to support ethical brands

While it might take a little longer than shopping directly from your Instagram ads, it pays in the long run to buy from companies that prioritize safety and efficacy, environmental sustainability, and transparency. Thankfully, most supplement companies with rigorous standards will be upfront about these values.

Because it can be quite expensive and laborious to have strict quality control from source to shelf, and it’s not legally required. So in 2024, look for the supplement brands that don’t take the easy outs.

They’ll be the ones using data-backed, bioavailable ingredients from sustainable and traceable sources. And if they’re really great, they’ll have actual humans you can talk to about your supplements just a phone call away


  • Buy supplements from reputable brands that are GMP-certified and employ third-party testing
  • Avoid supplement brands that source from unethical, unsustainable, or unknown origins

4. Get Comfortable with the Supplement Facts Panel

One of the most important things to understand before buying vitamins and supplements is that the front label is, like influencer campaigns and viral videos, part of a meticulous marketing scheme.

You might think that the front of a vitamin bottle is legally required to be based on reality, but that’s not really the case. If we want the cold hard facts about what a supplement is and does, we’ll have to venture to the dark side of the bottle. 

The Supplement Facts Panel. Or SFP, for short. 

The SFP can be an overwhelming place to be, what with those tiny fonts and 13-letter-long vitamin names. Who wants to clog up the Whole Foods aisle reading through every unpronounceable ingredient in their Women’s Daily Multi? Not us. 

But we, unlike the front label of vitamin bottles, are grounded in reality, and we know that there could be trickery afoot if there’s money to be made. 

So 2024 is going to be the year of overcoming our fear of the dreaded SFP and getting educated on vitamin forms — which ones work, which ones are crap, and which ones could actually be detrimental to our health.

Here are a few key things to look for on the SFP before buying:

  • Pixie-Dusting: When a company fluffs up the ingredient list with minuscule amounts of nutrients to make the product seem more comprehensive.
  • The Practically-Laxatives: When a company puts cheap, ineffective forms of a nutrient in their formula that passes through the digestive tract almost entirely unabsorbed.
  • Serving Size Sleight of Hand: When a company makes a product seem like a great deal, until you realize you have to take 4 capsules per day and one bottle will last two weeks.


  • Research the bioavailability and proper doses of nutrient forms before buying
  • Remember that the front of a supplement label is marketing, not fact
  • Learn to read the SFP to avoid being duped, even from reputable brands

Or, Call an Expert

Above all, we want you to have autonomy over your health. That starts with knowing what you’re putting into your body — be it supplements, food, or medications — and why.

But if you skimmed this blog and felt the panic start to creep in, let’s take a deep breath together. The world of supplements and whole-person health can be overwhelming and wrought with misinformation. Thankfully, you don’t have to navigate it alone!

If you want to ignore all that blabber about bioavailable nutrients and, instead, just ask Dr. Neal to translate the SFP of your favorite vitamin to English, we can do that too. Our supplement experts are always available via our always-free Counterside Consults.


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