Are you paying too much for vitamins? We reveal how to get your supplements for a fraction of the price

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Health fanatics are paying up to 14 times more for branded vitamins and minerals than cheaper versions that are just as effective.

Last year, we spent nearly £400million on supplements as 24 million adults popped pills daily.

But a Daily Mirror study reveals how to keep your bank balance healthy too by shopping around.

We found eight vitamins and minerals that have exactly the same ingredients as more ­expensive options.

A box of 30 Active Iron tablets will set you back £14.99 at Boots – but Asda ’s Wellbeing Iron tablets are £1 for 90.

You can get Folic Acid for less

Both products contain 14mg of Iron but the Asda version offers a 1,399% saving.

Effamol Woman Evening Primrose oil 500mg capsules cost £9.50 at Waitrose for 90.

But you get a saving of £7.52 at Aldi on tablets with the same active ingredient.

Our probe also found that health shop specialists boost prices.

Holland and Barrett sells a 60-capsule jar of Glucosamine Sulphate (500mg) for £8.49.

But at Poundworld, two 30-pill pots at £1 each save you £6.49. UK Association of Dietitians spokeswoman Frankie Phillips said: “Check the recommended daily allowance in the supplement and if it’s the same, both contain exactly the same amount of vitamin.

You don't need to pay a fortune for iron

“The difference comes from other things. It might be formulation – for example, it is smaller and easier to swallow. It could also be the quality of the ingredients.

“It’s like moisturisers or shampoos – they all do the same thing but it’s what you pay for marketing, packaging, higher quality ingredients and the research behind it.”

However, she warned: “Be wary of buying supplements cheaply over the internet as you can’t ­guarantee what you are getting.

“The cheaper vitamins on the high street have been tested and have to adhere to rules on ingredients.”

Solvotrin Therapeutics, the manufacturer of Active Iron, said: “Even if two products seem to be the same, they can still have important differences.”

Vitamin E doesn't have to cost a fortune

A spokesman for Vitabiotics said: “Our Ultra Vitamin C Fizz uses British Pharmacopeia quality grade vitamins, which may not be the case with all supplements.”

And a spokesman for Solgar said: “The source of our Vitamin E is in natural form, compared to the synthetic version in the Boots option.”

Seven Seas and Effamol were unavailable for comment.

Same vitamins for a fraction of the price

Iron

  • Active Iron (30) 14mg iron, £15.99 Boots
  • Asda wellbeing Iron (90) 14mg iron £1 Asda

Vitamin C

  • Vitabiotics Ultra Vitamin C Fizz (20), 1,000mg Vitamin C plus Zinc, £4.99, Boots
  • Activ-Max effervescent (20), 1,000mg Vitamin C plus Zinc, 79p, Aldi

Evening Primrose Oil

  • Effamol Women Evening Primrose Oil (90), 500mg £9.50, Waitrose
  • Sctiv-Max Women's Health Evening Primrose Oil (45), 500mg, £1.998, Aldi

Cod liver oil

  • Seven Seas Cod Liver Oil Simply Timeless (20), 525mg, £5, Sainsbury's
  • Tesco Cod Liver Oil (90), 550mg, £1.75

Vitamin D

  • Vitabiotics Vitamin D (96), 25mg Vitamin D, £5.39, Boots
  • Vitarenew Vitamin D (90) 12.5mg, £2,.11, Home Bargains

Folic acid

  • Holland and Barrett Folic Acide (250), 400mg folic acid, £7.99
  • MinVit Folic Acid Tablets (180), 400mg folic acid, £1.50, Lidl

Glucosamine

  • Holland and Barret Glucosamine Sulphate (60), 500mg, £849
  • Everyday Health Glucosamine Sulphate (30, 500mg, £2, Poundworld

Vitamin E

  • Solgar Vitamin E 400 iu (50), 268mg vitamin E, £14.59, Holland and Barrett
  • Boots Vitamin E 400 iu (90) 268mg vitamin E, £7.99

Tips to supplement you knowledge

  • Always buy supplements from a reputable source. For example your local chemist or supermarket, not an unknown company on the internet.
  • Check the label – it should tell you the amount in each dose and have an expiry date.
  • Make sure you really need the supplement by asking your doctor, dietitian or chemist.
  • Pick a supplement that gives you a wide range of vitamins and minerals, and up to the RDA. Having mega-doses isn’t necessarily better, so getting 100% of the RDA is ideal if you are in reasonably good health.
  • Supplements can’t patch up a bad diet as most vitamins we need come from foods.
  • There can be times when there is a benefit to taking higher strength vitamins. If you don’t eat oily fish it is worth taking a higher dose of Omega 3. Other conditions require extra vitamins and minerals but take advice from a doctor.

From The Mirror