How to Choose High Quality Vitamins and Supplements
Dietary vitamins and supplements are products that people use to add nutrients or other compounds to their bodies.
From individual vitamins and minerals to blends of nutrients and herbs, there are numerous supplement products on the market that have specific health benefits.
However, it’s not always clear which supplements are high quality, nor which are a waste of your money or even potentially dangerous.
This guide covers all you need to know about what supplements are and how to choose a safe and high quality product.
What are Supplements
Supplements are products that are taken by mouth and contain a “dietary ingredient,” such as vitamins, minerals, herbs and botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, probiotics, antioxidants, or other nutrients.
Available in numerous forms, including capsules, gummies, tinctures, powders, and liquids, dietary supplements are typically marketed as an easy and efficient way to boost physical and mental health as well as maintain general well being.
What are Vitamins
Vitamins are essential nutrients that your body needs to function properly and stay healthy. Many help regulate vital metabolic functions, including growth, nerve function, and digestion.
These vitamins dissolve in fat and can be stored in your body. They include vitamins A, D, E, and K.
These vitamins dissolve in water and are not stored by the body. They include vitamin C and B vitamins.
Minerals are inorganic elements that are essential for specific bodily functions, such as growth, bone health, and fluid balance.
A proprietary blend is a unique combination of ingredients that’s created by a supplement manufacturer.
For most healthy individuals, it should be possible to consume all the vitamins and minerals you need through diet alone. However, because of modern farming techniques and other conditions, such as medications, and circumstances when supplements may be needed to meet nutritional needs.
Supplement not Replace
Still, a key point to make when talking about dietary supplements is that they’re designed to supplement — not replace — nutrients or other compounds in your diet.
This means that even if you’re taking a supplement, it’s still important to consume a varied and balanced diet if possible.
Supplements are products containing ingredients like vitamins, minerals, and botanicals. They’re taken by mouth to support or improve some aspect of health.
Different foods contain varying amounts and combinations of nutrients. For example, citrus fruits are known for being high in vitamin C, while leafy greens are an excellent source of vitamin K.
In addition to vitamins and minerals, foods contain other essential nutrients, including protein, healthy fats, and fiber — all of which are needed for overall health and optimal bodily functioning.
Furthermore, plant-based foods, in particular, are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals, two classes of compounds that are linked to benefits reduced inflammation and protection against chronic disease.
Individuals with nutrient deficiencies or those at increased risk of inadequate nutrient intake, such as women who are pregnant, can benefit from taking supplements as recommended by a medical professional.
Other Individuals who may benefit from supplements include
- women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
- exclusively or partially breastfed infants
- adults or children with diagnosed nutritional deficiencies
- individuals with conditions causing nutrient malabsorption
- those who have undergone bariatric surgery, such as gastric bypass
- adults or children with restricted access to foods
- some vegans and vegetarians
Some nutrient deficiencies are also more common, for example, vitamin D.
Like other vitamins, it’s difficult to get enough vitamin D from your diet alone. While your body can make vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, it’s estimated that one billion people worldwide have low levels of this vitamin.
Frequently wearing sunscreen, living far north or south of the equator, staying indoors, and having darker skin are all risk factors for being deficient in vitamin D.
Furthermore, older adults may not be as effective at synthesising vitamin D due to biological changes in the skin that naturally occur with age.
As a result, vitamin D supplements are commonly recommended.