The 12 Best Supplements, According to a Dietitian

Thorne Research Basic Nutrients 2/Day is NSF Certified for Sport

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Best Supplements According to a Dietitian

Verywell Fit / Brian Kopinski

A healthy, balanced diet is the best way to get the nutrition you need. However, if you have a nutrient deficiency, follow a restrictive diet that eliminates entire food groups, or have a medical condition and/or take medications that interfere with nutrient absorption, you may want to consider a supplement. Additionally, some specific stages of life require increased vitamin and mineral needs, such as before, during, and after pregnancy. Therefore, supplements may also be recommended during these life stages.

A multivitamin can help to fill in nutritional gaps in your diet and prevent deficiencies, while single-nutrient vitamins can help target existing deficiencies or increased requirements. Other products, such as probiotics and omega-3s, are more specialized and may benefit specific health concerns such as gut function and heart health, respectively. Additionally, protein powder can be a helpful supplement for those with increased protein needs, such as athletes, that have difficulty getting enough protein from food alone. Magnesium, calcium, potassium, vitamin D, iron, and fiber are other common nutrients that can be lacking in a typical American diet.

It is important to note that nutritional needs are highly individualized and dependent on many factors, including height, weight, gender, age, physical activity level, and overall health status. It is best to consult a healthcare professional to identify if you may benefit from supplements. “In certain circumstances, there are set populations that all need supplements for a certain period of time, like during pregnancy and breastfeeding, for example, but overall it is more effective to evaluate supplement needs based on an individual diet and lifestyle,” says Katie Andrews, MS, RD. When selecting our top list of supplements, we considered USDA nutritional recommendations, common deficiencies, quality of ingredients, dosages, and third-party testing.

Always speak with a healthcare professional before adding a supplement to your routine to ensure that the supplement is appropriate for your individual needs and to find out what dosage to take.

Best Overall

Thorne Research Basic Nutrients 2/Day

Thorne Research Basic Nutrients 2/Day


  • NSF Certified for Sport

  • Free of gluten, soy, and dairy

  • Contains most essential nutrients

  • Multiple capsules per serving

  • Low in certain nutrients like iron and calcium

Finding the best multivitamin for you requires taking a closer look at your overall diet, including nutrients that may be lacking. Some people may benefit from a general multivitamin, whereas others may require a multivitamin with more or less of some specific nutrients. 

We like Thorne’s Basic Nutrients 2/Day multivitamin because it contains a balance of essential vitamins and minerals and is third-party tested and NSF Certified for Sport. It is also suitable for those who need to avoid gluten, soy, or dairy ingredients. Thorne Basic Nutrients 2/Day meets or exceeds the Daily Value for most of the essential nutrients. We also like this multi has nutrients in their most absorbable form like vitamin D3 and methylated folate, and B12. 

Note some medications may interact with nutrients in a multi, so it’s important to always consult a healthcare professional if you are taking medications before adding a multivitamin supplement. 

One drawback of Thorne Basic Nutrients 2/Day is it does not contain iron and is very low in calcium and magnesium. Both iron and calcium are important nutrients for perimenopausal or pregnant people, and those following a vegetarian or vegan diet may not get enough in the diet. A healthcare professional can give individual guidance on what nutrients may be best for your needs when looking at a multivitamin.

Price at time of publication: $36 ($1.20 per serving)

Key Specs:
Key Nutrient(s):
Most vitamins and minerals | Serving Size: 2 capsules | Servings Per Container: 30 | Amount of Key Nutrient(s): Varies | Other Nutrients: No | Added Sweetener (Y/N): N | Vegan (Y/N): N | Third-Party Tested (Y/N): Y

Best Prenatal

FullWell Prenatal Multivitamin

FullWell Prenatal Multivitamin


  • Third-party tested

  • Developed by a registered dietitian

  • Capsules can be opened and mixed into foods

  • One serving contains multiple capsules

  • By design, this prenatal does not include iron or omega-3 fatty acids

FullWell prenatal was developed by a registered dietitian and is specifically formulated to support women’s health during and after pregnancy. This prenatal is different from many others on the market, as it contains more of some nutrients such as choline and magnesium while eliminating other nutrients like iron and omega-3 fatty acids, which are commonly found in other prenatal vitamins. Additionally, the FullWell prenatal contains the methylated forms of both B12 and folate, which may be better absorbed. However, it’s worth noting that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) continues to recommend folic acid versus the methylated form of folate for the prevention of neural tube defects because the methylated form hasn't been studied in preventing neural tube defects.

Unlike many other prenatal vitamins, one dose of FullWell includes eight capsules. This may make it challenging for some people to take. However, FullWell offers tips and tricks for getting all capsules in per day, such as opening capsules to mix into foods. FullWell does not contain omega-3 fatty acids or iron, so note these nutrients may need to be added via additional supplementation if recommended by a healthcare professional.

Price at time of publication $49.95 ($1.67 per serving)

Key Specs:
Key Nutrient(s):
Multiple nutrients related to pregnancy and postpartum health | Serving Size: 8 capsules | Servings Per Container: 30 | Amount of Key Nutrient(s): Varies by nutrient | Other Nutrients: N/A | Added Sweetener (Y/N): N | Vegan (Y/N): N | Third-Party Tested (Y/N): Y

Best Vitamin D

Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3 Gummies Sport

Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3 Gummies Sport


  • NSF Certified for Sport

  • Suitable for vegetarians

  • High concentration of vitamin D

  • Only one flavor available

Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3 Gummies Sport are easy-to-chew gummy vitamins with 1000 IU vitamin D3—125% Daily Value—in one gummy. Vitamin D3 is one of the two types of vitamin D available in supplements. While both vitamin D2 and D3 are absorbed in the gut, research shows that vitamin D3 more effectively increases concentrations of vitamin D in the body.

Vitamin D plays an essential role in bone health and has multiple other functions related to immunity and metabolism. It’s difficult to eat enough vitamin D in food since there are few naturally-occurring food sources of vitamin D. Vitamin D can be made in the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight. People at risk for low serum vitamin D levels include those with limited sun exposure, older people, those considered to be obese, and those of certain racial and ethnic groups. A healthcare professional should check vitamin D levels in your blood to determine what dose of vitamin D—if needed—would best suit your needs.

We like that Nordic Naturals vitamin D is a third-party tested supplement that’s NSF Certified for Sport. It’s suitable for vegetarians and comes in one flavor—wild berry. 

Price at time of publication: $20 ($0.17 per serving)

Key Specs:
Key Nutrient(s):
Vitamin D3 | Serving Size: 1 gummy | Servings Per Container: 120 | Amount of Key Nutrient(s): 1000 IU (25 mcg) | Other Nutrients: n/a | Added Sweetener (Y/N): Y | Vegan (Y/N): N | Third-Party Tested (Y/N): Y

Best Omega-3

GNC Triple Strength Omega 3 Fish Oil

GNC Triple Strength Omega 3 Fish Oil


  • Third-party tested

  • Enteric coating

  • Gluten-free

  • Sourced from wild fish

  • Not suitable for those with a soy allergy

  • Not vegan

It’s recommended adults eat 8 ounces or more of a variety of fish per week to get enough omega-3’s in the diet. However, many Americans fall short of this recommendation which may be a reason some people take an omega-3 supplement. However, it should be noted that fish offers a variety of other nutrients not found in an omega-3 supplement which is why the health benefits of eating fish are usually greater than taking an omega-3 supplement in research studies. Also, if you are on blood thinning medication or have a seafood allergy, consult a healthcare professional before adding an omega-3 supplement.

If you’re looking for an omega-3 supplement, we recommend GNC Triple Strength Fish Oil because it contains 1000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids in one softgel. Made with a combination of EPA, DHA, and other omega-3s, this fish oil supplement is a highly concentrated source of EPA and DHA.

This supplement was approved in a 2022 review of omega-3 supplements through’s voluntary certification program. This verifies that the product contains what it says it contains without potentially harmful contamination. It’s sourced from wild fish, and it is purified to amounts of heavy metals and other contaminants that can be found in fish.

The enteric-coated pills help to prevent a fishy aftertaste and burps—two side effects that can often occur after taking fish oil supplements. The dosage of this supplement is one softgel, but you can opt for the same formulation as mini softgels, which require taking two pills to meet the same omega-3 dose.

Fish oil supplements are not vegan, as they’re made from fish. Additionally, this supplement contains soybeans, making it inappropriate for anyone with a soy allergy. However, the GNC Triple Strength Fish Oil is gluten-free and is made without artificial colors or flavors.

Price at time of publication: $50 ($0.42 per serving)

Key Specs:
Key Nutrient(s):
Omega-3 fatty acids | Serving Size: 1 softgel  | Servings Per Container: 120 | Amount of Key Nutrient(s): 734 mg EPA and 266 mg DHA  | Other Nutrients: n/a | Added Sweetener (Y/N): N | Vegan (Y/N): N | Third-Party Tested (Y/N): Y

Best B-Complex

Nature Made Super B-Complex

Nature Made Super B-Complex


  • USP certified

  • Gluten-free

  • Budget-friendly

  • May interact with certain medications

B vitamins are used for a variety of functions in the body, including making new cells and breaking down fats, protein, and carbohydrates for energy. However, despite popular claims, taking a B complex won’t boost your energy levels.

B vitamins are found in a variety of foods, including grains, vegetables, meat, dairy, nuts, and legumes. While you can supplement individual B vitamins, a B complex has all eight B vitamins in one supplement. If you eat a varied diet, you may not benefit from taking a B complex. However, if you have a limited diet or absorption issues, a healthcare professional may recommend a B complex supplement.

We like Nature Made Super B-Complex, as it offers a high dose of B vitamins and vitamin C. One tablet contains well over 100% Daily Value for all eight B vitamins plus the addition of 167% Daily Value for vitamin C. 

Nature Made is a reputable, budget-friendly supplement company that offers many USP-certified supplements. The Super B Complex is third-party tested and USP-certified. 

B vitamins are water-soluble and not stored in the body, meaning excessive amounts are excreted. However, high doses of some B vitamins may interact with some medications, so it’s worth speaking with your doctor prior to starting a B complex. Additionally, if you’re already taking a multivitamin or another supplement with B vitamins, it’s possible that adding a B-complex could push your intake over the upper limit for niacin and vitamin B6. A healthcare professional can help determine if you need a B complex in addition to other supplements.

Price at time of publication: $7 ($0.12 per serving)

Key Specs:
Key Nutrient(s):
Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Folate, Biotin, Pantothenic Acid | Serving Size: 1 tablet | Servings Per Container: 60 | Amount of Key Nutrient(s): >100% DV | Other Nutrients: Vitamin C, Calcium | Added Sweetener (Y/N): N | Vegan (Y/N): N | Third-Party Tested (Y/N): Y

Best Calcium

Citracal Petites Calcium Citrate

Citracal Petites Calcium Citrate


  • Third-party tested

  • Easily absorbed

  • Small tablet size

  • Budget-friendly

  • Two tablet dose

  • May interfere with certain medications

Calcium is one of the main nutrients involved in bone health, and many people do not get the recommended daily calcium amount in their diet. Specifically, postmenopausal women and those who do not eat dairy products are at an increased risk of not getting enough calcium. Calcium needs for adults are 1,000 mg per day, but women over 51 years of age (and men over 71 years of age) have a higher need for calcium at 1,200 mg per day.

If a healthcare professional has recommended a calcium supplement, we recommend Bayer Citracal Petites because it is budget-friendly and includes a combination of calcium and vitamin D from calcium citrate and vitamin D3. A two-tablet dose contains 400 mg of calcium—31% Daily Value—and 500 IU of vitamin D—63% Daily Value. Calcium absorption from supplements is best in amounts of 500 mg or less of calcium, so we like that the calcium dose in this supplement is in this range for optimal absorption..

This calcium supplement may be better tolerated by some people, as the calcium comes from calcium citrate, which is a readily absorbed form that can be taken with or without food. The form of vitamin D3 is also readily absorbed. 

Bayer Citracal Petites is third-party tested, so you can feel confident in the potency and purity of this supplement. An additional benefit to the Bayer Citracal Petites is the small tablet size making them easy to swallow, but note you must take two tablets to get the full dose. 

One thing to note about calcium supplements is they can interfere with some medications. Therefore, before taking a calcium supplement, talk to a healthcare professional. Note the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for calcium is 2,500 mg per day for adults 19-50 years and 2,000 mg per day for those 51 years and over. If you take other supplements that have calcium, be sure you are staying under the UL for calcium unless directed otherwise by a healthcare professional.

Price at time of publication: $20 ($0.11 per serving)

Key Specs:
Key Nutrient(s):
Calcium and vitamin D | Serving Size: 2 caplets | Servings Per Container: 187 | Amount of Key Nutrient(s): 400 mg calcium citrate, 500 IU (12.5 mcg) Vitamin D | Other Nutrients: N/A | Added Sweetener (Y/N): N | Vegan (Y/N): N | Third-Party Tested (Y/N): Y

Best Iron

NOW Iron 18 mg Veg Capsules

NOW Iron 18 mg Veg Capsules


  • Third-party tested

  • Vegan

  • Less likely to cause gastrointestinal upset

  • Available in single and double strength

  • May need higher or lower dose to fit your needs

Iron can be a common nutrient that you may not get enough of in the diet, especially for women. Women with heavy periods, those who are pregnant, those who frequently give blood, those with gastrointestinal disorders, or those with heart failure are at a higher risk of not getting enough iron and may benefit from an iron supplement to avoid becoming deficient in iron. Additionally, those who don’t eat food sources of iron may also benefit from an iron supplement.

A healthcare professional can help determine if an iron supplement is best for you and what dose would be appropriate. If you are deficient in iron, a higher dose iron supplement may be recommended until your blood iron levels return to normal.

NOW Iron 18 mg is our top pick for the best iron supplement because it contains 100% Daily Value for iron, and it’s a third-party tested supplement. NOW Iron is made from ferrous bisglycinate, a form of iron that has been shown to reduce gastrointestinal symptoms often associated with iron supplements.

NOW Iron is also available in a double-strength formula if you find that you need a higher dose. Discuss your needs with a health professional prior to starting an iron supplement, as too much iron can have negative health consequences and may interact with certain medications. Additionally, the 18 mg dose in this supplement may be higher than you need if you do not have iron deficiency or take other supplements with iron.

Price at time of publication: $13 ($0.11 per serving)

Key Specs:
Key Nutrient(s):
Iron  | Serving Size: 1 veg capsule | Servings Per Container: 120 | Amount of Key Nutrient(s): 18 mg | Other Nutrients: N/A | Added Sweetener (Y/N): N | Vegan (Y/N): Y | Third-Party Tested (Y/N): Y

Best Protein Powder

Nutiva Hemp Seed Protein Powder

Hemp Protein


  • Certified Organic

  • Vegan and gluten-free

  • Good source of minerals

  • Third-party tested

  • May have a gritty texture

Whether you need a protein powder supplement can depend on your protein needs and what other protein foods you eat throughout the day. In general, those having a hard time meeting their protein needs, such as athletes or those wanting convenient protein sources on the go, may benefit from using protein powder.

Hemp protein powder is a relatively new type of protein that’s gaining popularity due to its versatility for a variety of dietary preferences. Nutiva Hemp Seed Protein Powder Peak Protein is our top pick for a protein powder supplement, as it provides much more than just protein and is a third-party tested product, so you can be assured of its quality and purity.

One serving contains 15 grams of protein and is an excellent source of essential nutrients such as magnesium, iron, and zinc. Additionally, many hemp protein powders also contain fiber, and Nutiva is no exception. The Peak Protein variety contains 6 grams of fiber per serving which makes it an excellent choice for upping your daily fiber intake. 

Note this protein powder may require using a blender to avoid a gritty texture. Otherwise, the pleasant, nutty flavor makes for a great addition to smoothies or baked goods to help you get an extra boost of protein, fiber, and minerals.

Price at time of publication: $34 ($0.76 per serving)

Key Specs:
Key Nutrient(s):
protein | Serving Size: 4 tablespoons (30 g) | Servings Per Container: 45 | Amount of Key Nutrient(s): 15 g | Other Nutrients: fiber, magnesium, iron | Added Sweetener (Y/N): N | Vegan (Y/N): Y | Third-Party Tested (Y/N): Y

Best Collagen Powder

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Powder 20 oz


  • Third-party tested

  • NSF Certified for Sport

  • 20 grams of collagen per serving

  • Not a complete protein source

Collagen is a popular supplement for those looking to improve joint, skin, and bone health. While collagen supplements vary in the amount and types of collagen they provide, most people can tolerate collagen well, and is generally considered a safe supplement if you don’t have a food allergy to fish, shellfish, or eggs or avoid eating animal-based foods. 

If you want to add collagen powder, we recommend Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, which provides 20 grams of collagen per two-scoop serving. It's sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows kept in alignment with the Global Animal Partnership's five-step animal welfare rating standard, so you can feel good knowing you're getting a high-quality and thoughtfully sourced product.

In addition to grass-fed bovine collagen, Vital Proteins adds vitamin C and hyaluronic acid to their powder. These two nutrients can be helpful as the body uses them for collagen synthesis.

While collagen contributes to your overall protein intake, note it is not considered a complete source of protein because it is lacking in one of the essential amino acids, tryptophan. Because of this, it’s important to avoid relying on collagen supplements as a primary source of protein in the diet.

The tasteless powder is soluble in hot or cold liquids, so it can easily be added to your coffee, smoothies, or other beverages.

Price at time of publication: $25 ($1.92 per serving)

Key Specs:
Key Nutrient(s):
Protein (Collagen Peptides) | Serving Size: 2 scoops (20 g) | Servings Per Container: 13 | Amount of Key Nutrient(s): 18 g protein (20 g collagen peptides) | Other Nutrients: vitamin C, hyaluronic acid | Added Sweetener (Y/N): N | Vegan (Y/N): N | Third-Party Tested (Y/N): Y

Best Psyllium Husk

NOW Supplements Psyllium Husk Caps 500 mg

NOW Supplements Psyllium Husk Caps 500 mg


  • Third-party tested

  • Budget-friendly

  • Effective for constipation

  • Multiple pills per serving

Getting enough fiber is important for many reasons, but unfortunately, many people don’t get enough fiber in their diet. Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. If you don’t get enough of these foods or have a health condition that can benefit from added fiber, a fiber supplement may be recommended for you.

NOW Psyllium Husk Caps are our top pick for the best fiber supplement due to their effectiveness and quality. Psyllium husk is a fiber supplement that’s known to aid in digestion and may improve constipation. Additionally, research shows psyllium husk can help lower cholesterol in those with high cholesterol levels.

NOW Psyllium Husk Caps are third-party tested so that you can feel confident in their purity and potency. A potential downside to the NOW Psyllium Husk Caps is the requirement to take three capsules multiple times per day with 8 ounces of water. The manufacturer recommends two to three doses per day for maximum effectiveness, but a healthcare professional can give individualized recommended dosing.

Price at time of publication: $17 ($0.26 per serving)

Key Specs:
Key Nutrient(s):
Fiber | Serving Size: 3 veg capsules | Servings Per Container: 66 | Amount of Key Nutrient(s): 1.1 g total fiber (1 g soluble, 0.1 g insoluble) | Other Nutrients: n/a | Added Sweetener (Y/N): N | Vegan (Y/N): Y | Third-Party Tested (Y/N): Y

Best Magnesium

Klean Athlete Klean Magnesium

Klean Athlete Klean Magnesium


  • NSF Certified for Sport

  • Easily digested

  • Budget-friendly

  • May require multiple doses per day

Klean Athlete Klean Magnesium is our top pick for magnesium supplements because it’s made from magnesium glycinate—a form of magnesium that has high bioavailability. It’s also a third-party tested supplement that’s NSF Certified for Sport, so you can feel confident in its quality. Magnesium is a mineral that plays an essential role in many functions in the body, including protein synthesis and muscle function. 

According to the National Institutes of Health, many Americans do not consume the recommended intake of magnesium from food. Certain populations may be at a greater risk for inadequate intakes, such as older adults, those with diabetes, and those with gastrointestinal disorders.

One capsule of the Klean Athlete Klean Magnesium contains 29% Daily Value for magnesium which may mean you need to take multiple capsules per day depending on your needs. Remember to discuss your needs with a health professional before adding a magnesium supplement to your diet.

Price at time of publication: $21 ($0.23 per serving)

Key Specs:
Key Nutrient(s):
Magnesium | Serving Size: 1 vegetarian capsule | Servings Per Container: 90 | Amount of Key Nutrient(s): 120 mg | Other Nutrients: n/a | Added Sweetener (Y/N): N | Vegan (Y/N): Y | Third-Party Tested (Y/N): Y

Best Greens Powder

Garden of Life Raw Organic Perfect Food Green Superfood

Garden of Life Raw Organic Perfect Food Green Superfood


  • Third-party tested

  • Does not contain added sweeteners

  • Gluten-free

  • Taste may not be appealing to some

Getting enough fruits and vegetables is critical to meet your vitamin and mineral needs; however, only one in ten Americans meet the recommended intake for fruits and vegetables per day.  While it's best to prioritize real, whole foods, green powders can be a way to boost nutrient intake if someone doesn’t eat whole vegetables or is traveling and has limited access to fresh produce. Just note they are not a substitute for eating vegetables.

Nobody said green powders taste yummy, which is why many brands add stevia to their powder to increase palatability and sweetness. However, we appreciate Garden of Life’s Raw Organic Perfect Food Green Superfood Juiced Greens Powder is free of stevia and other sweeteners.

Featuring 34 raw, organically grown greens, Garden of Life dries their greens at the farm within an hour of harvesting, which can help lock in all the nutrients of the powder. If you take medications, especially blood thinners, check with a healthcare professional before adding this supplement. Also note the digestive enzymes and probiotic strains added may not be beneficial for everyone, especially if you have any gastrointestinal disorders. 

Price at time of publication: $43 ($1.43 per serving)

Key specs:
Key nutrient(s):
Vitamin K, Vitamin A, fiber, folate, among others | Serving size: 1 level scoop (6.9 g) | Servings per container: 30 | Amount of key nutrient(s): varies by nutrient | Other nutrients: n/a | Added sweetener (Y/N): N | Vegan (Y/N): Y | Third party tested (Y/N): Y

Is Taking a Supplement Beneficial?

Taking supplements can be beneficial for some people, but they’re not a requirement for everyone. Supplements are not meant to be the primary nutrient source. “Supplements are meant to be just that—supplemental to the diet. This means their need is based on the individual,” says Andrews. In other words, supplements should complement the diet and potentially help to fill the nutrient gaps where needed. 

However, certain groups may have nutrient requirements that make supplementation necessary.  “Among individuals who are vulnerable to under-consuming nutrients through food (including infants, those who are planning or are capable of pregnancy, older adults, and those with certain medical conditions, including food allergies or intolerances), it might be necessary to take a supplement,” says Emma Laing, PhD, RDN, the director of dietetics at the University of Georgia and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“A supplement may be warranted if a person eliminates food groups from their eating pattern, has a diagnosed vitamin or mineral deficiency, or has a health condition/takes medications that affect appetite or interfere with nutrient digestion and absorption,” Laing says. “Competitive athletes and persons serving in the military are also among those who might need supplements if their performance demands make it difficult to meet their nutrition needs from food alone.”

In summary, a supplement may be beneficial in the following circumstances:

  • When following a restrictive diet or eliminating one or more food groups.
  • Those who are pregnant and/or breastfeeding.
  • Those with certain chronic conditions.
  • Highly active and/or an elite athlete with increased nutrient demands.

Who May Not Benefit From Taking a Supplement?

Adding supplements to the diet requires taking an individualized approach to determine which supplements—if any—are best for you. Keep in mind more isn’t always better when it comes to supplements. In fact, there are some nutrients that can be taken in excess resulting in negative health consequences. 

In general, there are some circumstances where supplements are not beneficial to add to the diet, such as:

  • When nutrient needs are met through food.
  • In cases where the supplement is not supported by science.
  • When taking certain medications that may interact with a specific supplement.
  • In diets where supplements replace nutrients from food versus adding to total nutrient intake.

Supplements We Do Not Recommend

The supplement market is crowded and making a choice about which supplement is best for you can be extremely difficult without expert guidance. While we can’t cover all the supplements on the market, we can offer a few tips for identifying which supplements to avoid. Please note that some supplements that are a good addition to one person’s diet may not be a good fit for another person. For this reason, it’s best to look at supplements individually in the context of the diet as a whole. 

Here are a few of the supplements we don’t recommend. 

  • High-dose single nutrients above the Tolerable Upper Limit (UL). Tolerable upper limits offer guidance for the maximum dose of a nutrient that’s considered safe for consumption. In general, supplements that exceed the UL should be avoided by the general population unless specifically prescribed by a healthcare professional.
  • Supplements with inefficient research to show a health benefit. Supplements are intended to be taken when there’s a deficiency present or to support general health. Additional reasons for taking a supplement include improving athletic performance, benefiting sleep or other bodily function, and preventing injury, among others. Research showing a benefit to adding a supplement to the diet is especially important to ensure you’re taking the most appropriate supplement to meet your goals. Supplements with insufficient research to show a benefit are not recommended. 

How We Select Supplements

Our team works hard to be transparent about why we recommend certain supplements; you can read more about our dietary supplement methodology here.

To help come up with this list, we consulted three experts. Those experts included:

  • Katie Andrews, MS, RD, a registered dietitian nutritionist and corporate wellness expert in Connecticut
  • Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, an inclusive plant-based dietitian in Stamford, CT, and owner of Plant Based with Amy
  • Emma Laing, PhD, RDN, the director of dietetics at the University of Georgia and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

We support supplements that are evidence-based and rooted in science. We value certain product attributes that we find to be associated with the highest quality products.

It's important to note that the FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they go to market. Our team of experts has created a detailed, science-backed methodology to choose the supplements we recommend.

What to Look For in Supplements

Third-Party Testing 

Supplements that are third-party tested are sent to a lab where they are tested to ensure they contain what they say they contain and are not contaminated with specific high-risk, common contaminants. However, it’s important to note:

  1. Third-party testing does not test to see if a product is effective or safe for everyone, and it does not ensure the supplement will not interact with other supplements or medications.
  2. Not all third-party testing is created equal. It is not uncommon for supplement companies to pay labs for certificates after conducting minimal to no testing. 
  3. The third-party certifications we can trust are:, NSF, and USP. However, these certifications are difficult to obtain and/or expensive for manufacturers, so many companies choose not to get their products tested by one of these three organizations. 
  4. Sometimes products tested by these three companies are more expensive to try to offset the cost they pay for certification.
  5. Just because a supplement is not tested by one of these three companies, it does not mean it’s a bad product. We recommend doing some research on the reputability of the manufacturer and calling up the manufacturer and their testing lab to determine their protocols and decide if you feel comfortable consuming the supplement.


The form of supplement you choose depends on the supplement type and nutrients it contains. Some supplements are better tolerated in pill form, whereas others are best as a powder. Additionally, the nutrient forms vary between supplements, with some types being better tolerated and/or more bioavailable. 

Ingredients & Potential Interactions

The ingredients of the supplement you choose are also important to consider when it comes to effectiveness and potential interactions with medications and other supplements in the diet. Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, an inclusive plant-based dietitian in Stamford, CT, and owner of Plant Based with Amy, says you want to be sure you’re purchasing a supplement from a brand you trust. 

“Typically, this means a few things—that the brand has scientific research to back up the claims that they are making, that the brand uses quality ingredients, and that the brand conducts third-party testing,” she says. All of these factors play an important role when deciding which supplement is best for your diet.


Dosage varies by supplement type, and special consideration should be given to ensure tolerable upper limits are not surpassed while taking an effective dose.  

In general, most adults are likely to cover their nutrient needs by taking a multivitamin that meets the RDA for all the essential nutrients. However, it should be noted that some populations may exceed upper limits for certain nutrients when taking a multivitamin, especially combined with single-nutrient supplements. It’s best to work with a nutrition professional to determine your needs prior to taking multivitamins or other supplements.

How Much Is Too Much?

The amount of a supplement that is considered too much will vary depending on the type of supplement. Importantly, supplements are active compounds that have an effect on the body, so taking the recommended dose is essential. 

“Dietary supplements consumed either as a single nutrient or as a multivitamin/mineral supplement can have side effects,” says Laing. “Adverse events, ranging from less serious to life-threatening, could occur if you take more than the suggested dose if you take a combination of supplements, or if you are taking a supplement that interacts negatively with your medications.” As always, working with a nutrition expert like a registered dietitian is recommended before taking a supplement. “If you are concerned that you are not getting enough nutrients through food, seeking the advice of your healthcare provider can help you determine if a supplement is needed,” says Laing.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Which supplements are actually worth taking?

    Supplements that are worth taking will vary significantly based on the reason for supplementation. For example, someone who restricts one or more food groups due to dietary preferences or allergies may benefit from certain supplements more so than someone who has a more liberal diet. People with specific conditions, such as pregnancy or those with certain chronic diseases, will benefit from some supplement types more so than those without these conditions.

  • What are the best supplements for muscle growth?

    Gaining muscle mass requires the combination of eating enough calories and optimal protein while also participating in training that effectively promotes muscle gain. No single supplement can promote muscle growth by itself. However, ensuring you’re eating enough calories and protein can help to promote lean muscle mass.

  • What are the best supplements for hair growth?

    Limited evidence exists on the effect that vitamins and minerals have on hair loss. While deficiency of certain nutrients such as biotin can result in hair loss, consuming extra biotin when you’re already getting enough biotin has not been shown to prevent hair loss.

  • What are the best supplements for eye health?

    Research shows that many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants play a key role in eye health. For specific conditions of the eye, such as age-related macular degeneration, some supplements like beta-carotene may be beneficial. Additionally, vitamin E and vitamin C have been shown to play a role in the prevention of age-related macular degeneration. Always talk with a health professional before adding any supplements to the diet, especially those with a risk for toxicity with excess intakes like vitamins A and E.

  • What are the best supplements for gut health, and are probiotics worth it?

    Some supplements are specifically intended to promote gut health. These include fiber supplements and probiotics. While there is research to support the use of fiber supplements to promote regularity, some people may not benefit from the addition of fiber supplements to their diet. People with irritable bowel disease or other chronic conditions of the bowel should work with a health professional before adding a fiber supplement to their diet. Probiotics may be beneficial for gut health in some cases, however, research is evolving on how diet, prebiotics, and probiotics impact gut health long term.

Why Trust Verywell Fit?

Allison Knott, MS, RDN, CSSD, CDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist and board-certified specialist in sports dietetics with a master's degree in nutrition communication from Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. She is the founder of Anew Well Nutrition, a virtual nutrition consulting practice with a focus on fitness and performance nutrition.

20 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  17. Multivitamin/mineral Supplements: Fact sheet for health professionals. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements.

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