Dietary Supplements & Vitamins

Dietary supplements contain ingredients that can help supplement one’s diet. They include vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins, carbohydrates, enzymes, and probiotics and can provide key nutrients that may help fill nutritional gaps. They can also aid in managing certain health conditions or condition-related symptoms.

Supplements often come in the form of pills, tablets, capsules, powders, extracts, or liquids. Examples include your daily multivitamin, protein powder, fish oil capsules, and more. Learn about popular supplements and what you may want to consider if you choose to add them to your routine.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do supplements work?

    There’s a lot of confusion surrounding supplements and whether or not they work. Some supplements can enhance your health (especially if you have a diagnosed deficiency, eat a diet that restricts certain foods, or are going through a life stage like pregnancy), while others may not make a noticeable difference. Still, others might cause negative effects if you consume too much or if medications you are taking interact with the supplement. If you eat a balanced, nutrient-rich diet and don't have any health issues, there’s usually little need for nutritional supplements.

  • Are supplements safe?

    Supplements aren’t authorized for safety by the FDA before they come to market, so many wonder whether supplements are safe. There are side effects of taking supplements. Some products may interfere with medications or increase the risk of health complications. Always speak with a health care provider to explore whether supplements are right for you.

  • Do collagen supplements work?

    Collagen supplements are popular among those who want to reap the beauty benefits, such as firmer skin and stronger nails; however, there is little concrete evidence that they actually work. Some evidence suggests collagen may alleviate joint pain. Other research supports collagen's ability to increase skin elasticity and hair strength and growth.

    There is less evidence supporting the use of collagen for nail strength, but it is possible that collagen supplements might be beneficial. Regardless of these benefits, some collagen powders are significant sources of protein and can be used as protein powders.

  • What is NAC supplement?

    NAC stands for n-acetyl cysteine, which is an antioxidant. NAC supplements are associated with several benefits like reduced inflammation, cancer prevention, and brain health.

  • How should you take calcium supplements for best absorption?

    Always speak with a health care provider to discuss whether supplementation is appropriate for your individual health concerns. If recommended, consult the provider about dosage and instructions. To increase the absorption of calcium, you may want to take it in small doses. Split your dose into two doses taken at different times of the day. You can also take calcium with vitamin D to increase its absorption.

  • Is an iron supplement necessary?

    If you eat an iron-rich diet and have no issues with absorption, an iron supplement isn’t usually necessary. The most easily absorbed form of iron, called heme iron, is found in animal foods, such as beef, oysters, chicken, and turkey. Though iron from plant foods is less readily absorbed, pairing iron-rich plant foods with vitamin C-rich foods may increase iron absorption. Plant sources of iron include fortified cereals, dark leafy greens, beans, and quinoa.

    People with low levels of iron or other health conditions may need to take an iron supplement as directed by a health care provider. Those at the highest risk of deficiency are those who follow vegetarian or vegan diets, those with absorption issues, pregnant people, young children, adolescent girls, and people with heavy menstrual periods.

Key Terms

Page Sources
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