Maintaining a balanced diet can be difficult in this busy age. Thankfully, supplements provide an easy way to get those nutrients you might be missing. In this article, we will discuss Japan’s major vitamin and supplement brands, and highlight a few of their top products.
Vitamins and Supplements in Japan
Japan’s vitamin and supplement industry has a relatively short history as they weren't widely recognized until the early 1990s, when interest in public health became more prominent. In Japan, vitamins and supplements are classified as "health foods" and are used to help maintain health.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare defines them as “specialized ingredients condensed into a pill or capsule.” However, items outside of this narrow definition, such as snacks and drinks, are often also considered vitamins or supplements.
In Japan, roughly 70% of people use vitamins and supplements in their daily life.
Here are some points to keep in mind when choosing vitamins and supplements:
1. Do not choose based on marketing slogans or online reviews. Choose products that suit your body and situation.
2. Check the ingredients and additives before purchasing.
3. If currently on medication, consult a doctor or pharmacist before using.
DHC is a major global company with the highest market share in online health foods sales. They have opened over 200 stores across Japan, and their products are also available in convenience stores, drugstores, and other locations.
They have a wide selection of health foods at reasonable prices, making them a great choice for anyone looking to try vitamins and supplements.
Our recommended DHC product is their Multi Vitamins (30 Day Supply, 381 JPY (incl. tax)). Each tablet contains 11 vitamins, perfect for people with an irregular diet, or a diet lacking in vegetables. Their Vitamin C Hard Capsules (30 Day Supply, 270 JPY (incl. tax)) contain a combination of Vitamin C and its complement, Vitamin B2, allowing you to reach the recommended 1,000 mg of Vitamin C per day. We especially recommend the hard capsules for people who are not fond of acidity.
FANCL, founded in 1980, is a company that specializes in additive-free cosmetics and health foods. They are famous for being the first company in the world to start displaying the date of manufacture on their cosmetics products, as well as releasing single-use 5 mL trial bottles.
They sell a variety of vitamins and supplements, but their specialty is functional health food products that support a healthy lifestyle.
Our recommended FANCL product is their Vegetable Supplements (483 JPY (incl. tax)). These tablets contain 18 different vegetables, making it a great supplement for those with a diet low on vegetables. Having these on hand for any time you feel like you’re lacking in vegetables can be a great relief. FANCL is particular about providing types and flavors of vitamins and supplements that allow for stress-free daily use.
3. Kobayashi Pharmaceuticals
Kobayashi Pharmaceuticals specializes in the manufacture and sale of pharmaceutical and hygiene products. From vitamins to beauty and health products, their products are designed for people’s lifestyles, with a wide variety of vitamins and supplements available to meet various needs.
For people who live an active lifestyle, we recommend Kobayashi’s Multi Vitamins, Minerals, and Essential Amino Acids (1,400 JPY (excl. tax)). These tablets provide a healthy base of 13 vitamins, nine minerals, and eight essential amino acids. They are recommended for people active in sports, or those who tire easily. The tablets are small, so they are great for people who have trouble swallowing large capsules.
4. Nature Made
Otsuka Pharmaceuticals—a pharmaceuticals, health foods, and cosmetics manufacturer—created Nature Made in collaboration with the American company Pharmavite in order to sell vitamins and supplements that suit Japanese people.
All their vitamins and supplements meet strict American standards, as well as Otsuka’s own quality standards, meaning their quality is indisputable.
We recommend Nature Made Super Multi Vitamin & Minerals (2,400 JPY (excl. tax)). Each tablet contains 12 vitamins and seven minerals. It works great as a base supplement for nutrients that you might not get enough of in a regular diet. Plus, the oval tablets have a groove in the center, allowing you to conveniently regulate your own dosage.
5. Asahi Dear-Natura
Dear-Natura is a vitamin and supplement company formed by Asahi Group, which manufactures and sells food products, health foods, and pharmaceuticals. They make quality and safety their top priority and have been creating vitamins and supplements for generations.
They only use ingredients that meet their strict safety standards. From the receiving of the raw ingredients to the shipping of the final product, their products are made in their own manufacturing plants with consistent standards followed throughout and are free from artificial coloring and preservatives. The nutritional information and ingredients are all printed on the package for full transparency.
We recommend the Dear-Nature Style Iron x Multi Vitamins (20 pills, 430 JPY (excl. tax)). These pills are popular as a convenient supplement for iron, which is lacking in many diets. They also contain 14 vitamins. They are available at supermarkets and convenience stores at a low price, making them convenient to buy and use regularly.
Did any of these products interest you? Maintaining a balanced diet is important for your health, but for whatever nutrients might be missing from your diet, it’s good to use vitamins and supplements to replenish them.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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