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Beginner’s Guide to Choosing Vitamins & Supplements

Vitamins, Minerals, & Dietary Supplements: What are They?

Vitamins are micronutrients found within living things, like animals and plants. Our bodies produce some vitamins naturally, but others we need to get from food.

Minerals are also micronutrients, but they come from the earth and are not made by our bodies. Plants take minerals from the soil, and we get these nutrients from eating those plants.

Supplements are alternative ways to consume nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. These come in a wide variety of forms, like gummies, capsules, or even beverages. But are these alternatives a good source of the nutrients we need?

Are Dietary Supplements good for you?

Most people do not need supplements and can get all their nutrients from a well-balanced diet. However, some individuals' medical conditions, medications, or diets affect their nutrient intake. Dietary supplements can help these individuals get what they're missing.

If you're planning to take supplements, you should know that they're not FDA regulated. In fact, supplements are rarely even tested before they're sold in stores. Meaning that your daily vitamin may not even be what it claims. Scary, right? Well, don’t worry because there are some easy ways to find a safe supplement.

Choosing Supplements

1. Picking nutrients

To figure out what nutrients you need depends on numerous factors. Based on common deficiencies, American adults may benefit from calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. Vegans or vegetarians may want vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, iron, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids.

If you have a medical condition or are on medication, ask your doctor or dietitian which supplements are best.

2. Finding safe supplements

The FDA may not check them. But, some supplement companies will hire trusted labs to test their products. To find tested products, look for these certifications on the packaging:

With just these two steps, you can find safe supplements to benefit your health.


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