We can find vitamins and supplement in almost every store and we see them being promoted everywhere online. But what is the difference between vitamins and supplements? Do we need them?
Vitamins and minerals are considered essential nutrients, and our bodies need them to maintain healthy bodily functions. We should gather the majority of our needed vitamins and minerals through our food and nutrition, but if we cannot succeed in doing that, we can utilize supplements.
There have been studies done on vitamins and supplement, but how do we know which ones are the best? You might be thinking, how can one be better than another or why?
The FDA regulates medications which means there are hundreds of studies done to gather data to prove its efficiency and outcome, but supplements are unlike medications and they are not regulated by the FDA which is why there can be some confusion around which supplements and vitamins are high quality and which should be left alone.
- The first step when finding a good quality vitamin or supplement is to always do your research. Find ratings from the specific brand and company, note the nutrient doses, and buy by price.
- Second, try to avoid vitamins and supplements that are a megadose. A megadose is a supplement with a higher volume of vitamins in one serving. In most cases, you do not need more than the 100% the FDA recommends, so any more could become harmful to you.
- Third, you’re going to want to avoid any special claims associated with the supplement. They are usually there to increase sales and won’t have much of an effect.
- Fourth, make sure you consider the age and gender associated with the person who will be taking the vitamin or supplement.
As mentioned previously, you can get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs from your daily nutrition. Food is the best vitamin, and for the typical healthy person, a good diet is all you need to reach your daily vitamin and mineral intake.
Vitamins and supplements are good to add in if you cannot reach all your nutrient needs through food, but food should always be your first priority when trying to increase your vitamin intake.
Written by: Kelsey Vitols, Dietetic Intern, Framingham State University
Reviewed by: Nazirber Maduro, RDN, CDN, CDCES