A collection of different types of pills and capsules spread out on a table, indicating a range of supplements.

Are Supplements Good for You? (Explained!)

Getting our nutrients straight from a pill sounds easy. It's no wonder half of Americans rely on vitamin and mineral supplements to get the nutrition they need.

But do supplements deliver on the promise of better health? Are supplements beneficial or just a waste of money? The short answer is that supplements can be beneficial for filling nutritional gaps, but they should never replace a balanced diet.

In this article, we'll explore the various types of supplements, their potential benefits, who might need them, and how to use them safely and effectively.

What are the benefits of supplements?

The benefits of supplements include: 

Helps you stay healthy in general

Some supplements can help you stay healthy. These include probiotics, vitamins, and mineral supplements. You could take these daily to compensate for a poor sleep schedule, diet, or exercise program. 

These focus on improving general physical and mental well-being rather than specific health concerns.

Addresses particular medical conditions

You may follow a supplement regimen with a particular health goal in mind. For instance, you can take vitamin D to strengthen your bones. 

To be more precise, people who suffer from age-related macular degeneration may benefit from taking AREDS, which is a mixture of vitamin C and vitamin E, zinc, copper, lutein, and zeaxanthin, to slow down the loss of eyesight.

Prevents illness

Consider taking supplements as a preventive measure rather than a way to help with an existing problem. This could also entail using a particular supplement for a particular objective. 

For example, pregnant women frequently take folic acid or folate supplements to reduce the risk of specific problems with fetal development. 

Vitamin B12 plays a critical role in protecting the health of nerve and blood cells. Vegans should consider supplements to ensure adequate vitamin B12, as most come from meat, fish oil, and dairy products.

Read also: How Does Vitamin B12 Help the Body (9 Benefits)

Enhances athletic performance

A woman holds a bottle of protein, a supplement that can aid in muscle recovery, increase endurance and improve performance.

Supplements like protein powders, creatine, and certain vitamins and minerals may benefit athletes and active individuals. When combined with a healthy diet and a workout routine, they can aid in muscle recovery, increase endurance, and enhance overall performance.

A healthcare expert may advise you to take dietary supplements. For example, they may suggest taking calcium if you risk osteoporosis or an iron supplement if you have iron deficiency anemia.

A medical practitioner may suggest a food supplement if:

  • You are pregnant or nursing, and you have a higher risk of developing a disease.
  • You have a medical condition like renal failure that impairs your body's ability to absorb nutrients.
  • You have a restricted or specialized diet deficient in a particular nutrient. 
  • Suffer from malnutrition and don't obtain enough nutrients from food. 

What are the types of supplements?

There are various types of supplements available in the market. However, common categories include:


Multivitamin pills and tablets arranged in wooden spoons.

These supplements contain appropriate concentrations of various vitamins and minerals. Certain multivitamins may contain extra substances and be advertised as offering a particular advantage, such as a boosted healthy immune system or energy. 

Individual vitamins

They are single-nutrient supplements that contain only one specific vitamin, like vitamins C and D. One vitamin supplement can address a particular deficit.


In a similar vein, deficiencies in certain minerals, including calcium and potassium, can be treated with supplements.


Many people utilize herbs and botanical compounds—including coffee and ginger—for their alleged health benefits, like lowering inflammation or boosting energy.


Probiotic pills, also referred to as live microbials, are designed to promote the development of healthy bacteria in your digestive system.

Amino acids

These supplements may present any of the nine essential or additional non-essential amino acids. Amino acids, which make up protein, provide several potential advantages. 

For example, they may be included in supplements that promote athletic performance and healing.

Who needs to take supplements?

Woman holding a glass of water and a pill, taking a supplement.

Although a well-balanced diet is the best way to obtain essential nutrients, some individuals may benefit more from supplementation. They include: 

  • Pregnant women or nursing mothers. These people have higher nutritional demands and could need supplements, especially for folic acid, iron, and calcium.
  • Individuals with Crohn's disease or celiac disease, disorders that impair nutritional absorption.
  • Those who are deficient in vitamin B12 almost always need to take supplements.
  • Those who follow a vegetarian diet.
  • Those who consume fewer than 1,200 calories each day.
  • Those who struggle to eat healthy due to a medical condition, such as heart disease and prostate cancer.
  • Over-65-year-olds may find supplements beneficial because their bodies' capacity to absorb certain nutrients from food may decrease with age.
  • Athletes and active people need extra nutrition to recover, build muscle, and perform well.

Are supplements safe?

Supplements often don't present any health dangers. Nevertheless, you should exercise caution while putting anything inside your body. 

The following are some things to think about when it comes to dietary supplement safety:

Are dietary supplements as good as food?

Whatever your reason for using supplements, one thing is certain: They cannot replace a nutrient-dense, well-balanced diet.

The purpose of supplements is to supplement, increasing the advantages that a well-balanced diet already provides.

Minerals and vitamins are necessary for your body to grow and function properly. 

While most people who eat healthy meals obtain all the recommended amounts, some require extra help from nutrients. Supplements can help by giving your body the support it needs to be healthy.

Who should avoid taking supplements?

Some people should proceed with caution or avoid such supplements altogether:

  • Women who are expecting or breastfeeding should see a healthcare provider before taking any supplements since some could be hazardous to the developing fetus or nursing infant.
  • Children and teenagers should exercise caution when taking supplements without a doctor's supervision because their nutritional requirements and the correct dosages may differ from those of adults.
  • If a person is taking medicine or has any medical problems, they should consult their healthcare professional because some supplements may interact with their medications.

Do supplements have side effects?

There are long-term risks and consequences associated with heavy doses of supplements, including:

  • Harm to the liver or other organs
  • Decreased bone mass anomalies in prenatal development
  • Elevated risk of bleeding, altered anesthetic response, decreased chemotherapy efficacy, harm to the neurological system
  • A high dose of beta-carotene increases the risk of lung cancer in smokers.
  • It has been shown that excess calcium and vitamin D can lead to kidney stones
  • High doses of vitamin E can cause a stroke if the brain bleeds

Furthermore, there are interactions between certain vitamins and prescription drugs.

Certain supplements or the combination of certain supplements and drugs can cause certain negative effects. For example, vitamin K may reduce the effectiveness of the blood thinner warfarin.

It's crucial to inform a healthcare provider about all supplements you use because of this.

Is it good to take supplements every day?

It depends on the particular vitamin or mineral supplement and your unique requirements. Certain supplements, like multivitamins, might be better taken daily, whereas other supplements, like specialty or certain herbs, might work better when taken sporadically or in cycles. 

It's crucial to adhere to each supplement's suggested dosage and usage guidelines.

How do I know the supplements my body needs?

There are several ways to determine which supplements your body needs. You should consider doing the following: 

  • Have a blood or urine test for vitamins and nutrition to determine what micronutrients your body lacks.
  • Seek advice from a physician regarding the appropriate supplements to take.
  • If you need nutritional advice, think about speaking with a nutritionist.

The daily vitamins that your body requires are B vitamins, plus vitamins A, C, D, E, and K.

Remember that a balanced diet should always come first when taking dietary supplements.

You may also like: Which Vitamin D Should You Choose? Expert Insights to Guide Your Decision!

What are the guidelines for safe and effective supplement use?

To ensure the safe and effective use of supplements, follow these guidelines:

Consult an expert

Nutritionist with young female client discussing meal plan and supplements during office visit.

Always consult a competent healthcare practitioner to guarantee the safe and appropriate use of supplements. This is especially important if you have medical conditions or are taking prescription drugs.

Pay close attention to the labels

Examine the ingredient list, dosage guidelines, and possible cautions or interactions.

Select reliable brands

Look for independent certifications from organizations like ConsumerLabs, NSF International, or the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) attesting to the quality and purity of the supplements.

Begin with the recommended dosage

Start with the lowest prescribed dosage and raise it gradually, if necessary, under a healthcare provider's supervision.

Be consistent

To get the most out of vitamins, take them consistently and as your doctor advises.

Observe how your body reacts

Monitor your body's reaction to the supplements and inform your healthcare practitioner about any negative reactions or side effects.

Takeaway: Supplements can be beneficial, but moderation and guidance are key

Supplements can help ensure you get enough nutrients each day and help treat deficiencies in vitamins and minerals. Additionally, they provide health advantages and can lessen the symptoms of specific medical disorders. 

However, they should never replace a healthy diet rich in whole foods. They should only help fill nutritional gaps under the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional.

Are you interested in exploring high-quality supplements to complement your healthy lifestyle? Browse our natural supplements. They are in bioavailable forms and free of preservatives and fillers!

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