Various types of supplement pills and capsules.

How Supplements Impact Your Body (The Essential Guide)

Supplements are becoming more popular. Most customers take specialized supplements like fiber, probiotics, or omega-3s. Although the supplement market is expanding, it is important to know how these products affect health. 

In this in-depth article, we'll examine the effects of supplements on your body, including how they are absorbed, processed, and used. Before adding supplements to your regimen, learn about the possible benefits, side effects, and things to consider.

Understanding supplements

Natural herbal and mineral dietary supplements in capsules.

A supplement is a product designed to enhance the diet's nutritional content by adding extra nutrients.

A supplement must:

  • Be offered in tablet, capsule, powder, or liquid form.
  • Contain nutrients that can be classified into one of four supplement categories (see below).
  • Be used to accomplish a particular objective (such as improved sleep, weight loss, pain alleviation, etc.).

The Council for Responsible Nutrition categorized all supplements into the following major groups:


Multivitamins are the most commonly used kind of supplementation. All multivitamins, single vitamins, and single minerals are considered vitamins and minerals. 

Our B complex liquid supplement contains all 8 B vitamins, ensuring you get the full spectrum of these essential nutrients. 

Individual vitamins

These supplements are single-nutrient formulations that contain only one particular vitamin. A single supplement can take care of a specific vitamin deficiency. The following are typical examples of individual vitamins:

  • Immune-stimulating vitamin C
  • Vitamin D (health of bones)
  • Energy-producing vitamin B12


Similarly, deficiencies in certain minerals, including calcium, zinc, magnesium, and potassium, can be treated with supplements.

Specialty supplements

A supplement is classified as a specialty if it enhances cardiovascular health or reduces the symptoms of a medical condition. The following are a few of the most well-liked instances of specialty supplements:

  • Fish oil and cardiac health
  • Probiotics for healthy digestion
  • Glucosamine (health of joints)

Botanicals and herbals

Botanical and herbal supplements are made using plant extracts. These supplements are available as tinctures or capsules. The goal is to offer a highly concentrated plant extract so that the advantages of the component can be obtained with only a tiny amount of the food.

  • Echinacea, an immune-stimulant
  • Ginseng (vigor)
  • Anti-inflammatory turmeric
  • Rishi mushroom (health of the liver)
  • Digestive system: rosemary


Live microbials, or probiotic pills, are designed to help grow healthy bacteria in your digestive system. 

Amino acids

These supplements contain nine essential and non-essential amino acids. As the building blocks of protein, amino acids provide several potential benefits. 

It is possible, for example, to incorporate them into supplements that enhance athletic performance and promote healing. 

What happens to the body when you start taking dietary supplements?

When you start taking dietary supplements, your body may experience various changes depending on the type of supplement you’re using. They offer the following benefits to your body: 

Higher levels of nutrients

Dietary supplements can help your body get the vital nutrients it may be missing, improving your overall health and well-being. 

Improved health of bones

Vitamin D and calcium are necessary to keep bones strong and healthy. If you're an older adult, taking a calcium and vitamin D supplement can lower your chances of getting bone fractures.

Assistance with cardiovascular health

Many dietary supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil have been demonstrated to offer several heart health advantages. They can lessen the risk of heart disease and stroke by improving cholesterol levels and reducing inflammation.

Enhanced immune function

Consider supplements as a preventive approach rather than a treatment for an existing issue. This might also mean using a specific supplement to achieve a certain goal.

For instance, folic acid or folate supplements are commonly taken by pregnant women to lower their risk of certain fetal development issues.  

Vitamin B12 plays a critical role in protecting nerve and blood cell health. Vegans who don't consume meat, fish oil, or dairy products should consider taking supplements to ensure they get enough vitamin B12.

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

Faster recovery from exercise

Fit man drinking a protein shake at the gym after a workout.

Supplements such as creatine, protein powders, and specific vitamins and minerals may benefit athletes and those who lead active lives. 

When paired with a good diet and exercise regimen, they can help with muscle recovery, boost endurance, and improve overall performance.

A medical professional can advise on the use of dietary supplements. For instance, they can advise taking an iron supplement if you have iron deficiency anemia or calcium if you risk osteoporosis.

  • Your doctor can recommend a dietary supplement if you are more likely to contract an illness while you are pregnant or nursing.
  • Your body can't absorb nutrients because of a medical problem like renal failure.
  • You follow a customized diet that is lacking in a certain nutrient. 
  • Suffer from malnutrition and consume insufficient amounts of food.

Better mental and emotional health

Evidence links supplements such as vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids to better mental and emotional wellness. They can support general emotional well-being by reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

How long will it take to see results from taking supplements?

The amount of time it takes to notice results varies. There are several factors that can affect how long it takes to see the effects of supplements. They include; 

  • Individual factors: Your body's response time to supplements can be influenced by age, gender, metabolism, and general health.
  • Kind of dietary supplement: Compared to fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D3-K2, which take longer to achieve optimal levels in the body, water-soluble vitamins like B-complex are often absorbed and used more quickly.
  • Bioavailability and dosage: More bioavailable forms and higher dosages (like the liquid Vitamin A supplements offered by Why Not Natural) may yield benefits more quickly than less bioavailable forms or lower dosages.
  • Desired effect: While certain effects, like better bone health from vitamin D3-K2, may take many weeks or months to manifest, other effects, like improved energy from B vitamins, may be apparent in a matter of days.

Most procedures generally seek to achieve optimal levels in approximately three months. 

It is important to give the supplements time to work within the body—at least four to six weeks—for them to have the greatest effect.

People frequently start to respond to iron pills within two weeks, and a doctor can use a blood test to see whether supplementation is effective. Results from hair growth pills might not appear for five to six years.

Also read: Supplements or vitamins to boost your energy? (Answered).

Do supplements have side effects?

Prescription medication side effects are well-known; television advertisements remind you of this. 

Furthermore, many individuals are aware that using over-the-counter medications might cause unintended side effects (just consider how some antihistamines can induce sleepiness).

Common side effects of supplements may include:

Chest pain and heart palpitations

According to a 2015 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, adverse events brought on by nutritional supplements result in over 23,000 visits to the emergency room annually. 

The researchers found that heart palpitations and chest pain were among the reactions, and hospitalization was more common in those 65 years of age and older as a result.


A woman with nausea and symptoms of indigestion.

Using excessive amounts of supplements increases the risk of nausea. For instance, this side effect is more common in individuals who take vitamin C supplements in dosages greater than 2,000 mg, and nausea is a known adverse consequence of magnesium supplements. 

Supplement users should notify their physician if they start feeling nauseous frequently, particularly if it starts right after taking a new supplement. 

In rare instances, nausea may be among the initial symptoms of a magnesium or other supplement overdose.

Constipation or diarrhea

Constipation or diarrhea are among the bowel habit alterations linked to several vitamins, herbs, and minerals. For example, either iron or calcium can cause constipation

Spreading out calcium dosages throughout the day may be helpful for patients who experience constipation from calcium supplements. Alternatively, patients may want to use calcium citrate tablets instead of calcium carbonate. 

Healthcare providers advise eating a high-fiber diet to lower the risk of constipation from both iron and calcium. Some individuals might need to take laxatives or stool softeners to relieve their symptoms. 

Supplements containing magnesium, aloe vera juice, senna, turmeric, and lobelia are known to have a laxative effect and may induce diarrhea.

Stomach cramps

Many vitamins, herbs, and minerals can cause digestive problems, including heartburn, stomach cramps, and abdominal pain. 

For instance, supplements containing cocoa and vitamin B6 may occasionally aggravate stomach irritation, while arginine itself has the potential to raise stomach acid. 

Some patients may be more susceptible to stomach cramps after taking zinc, a mineral that is present in many multivitamins. Additionally, many patients have stomach cramps when taking iron. 

Patients may want to ask their doctor about alternate supplement formulas that may be less harsh on the stomach and try taking an enteric-coated supplement to lessen the likelihood of experiencing pain and cramping in the stomach during supplementation. 

For instance, slow-release iron supplements are easier on the stomach. 

Are there possible risks of taking supplements?

Multivitamins often don't present any health dangers. However, you should exercise caution while putting anything in your body. Although using supplements has many advantages, there are possible hazards involved as well, especially if they are not taken as prescribed or without the right guidance:

Toxicology and overdose

Overdosing on some supplements, particularly those high in fat-soluble vitamins (like vitamin A) or minerals (like iron), can be toxic and potentially harmful to internal organs.

Kidney stones

Studies have indicated that individuals who consume calcium or vitamin C supplements have an increased risk of kidney stones

Additionally, research has indicated that taking calcium supplements may raise the chance of developing calcium oxalate stones, a particular kind of kidney stone. This danger significantly increases if food is skipped while taking the calcium tablets.

Liver damage

Supplements can be hazardous to a person's essential organs because they must pass via the urine and the liver to be processed in a diet. Actually, a lot of liver ailments necessitate liver transplants and are linked to supplement adverse effects, which can even be fatal.

The FDA alerts customers about using some supplements, including those that have been studied, such as kava, ephedra, and Total Body Formulas.

For more information, see the FDA's 2002 warning to the public regarding supplements, including kava. 

This supplement is used as a complementary medicine to treat premenstrual syndrome, anxiety, and stress. Nonetheless, the FDA states that kava may result in liver failure.

Cancer and hormone imbalances

Studies on supplements have shown that androstenedione and DHEA, used in high amounts, act as potent anabolic steroids and cause hormone abnormalities.

Some people have oily skin and acne. Men who use steroids may have a decrease in sperm counts and an enlargement of the prostate gland.

Steroid-using female athletes may develop more masculine features, such as thicker waists, broader backs, deeper voices, flatter chests, more facial and body hair, and wider shoulders. Their menstrual cycles may also cease or vary in length.

In addition, consuming androstenedione and DHEA may increase the risk of testicular cancer, heart disease, stroke, infertility, and breast development in males.

Medication interactions

Additionally, supplements and other medications may interact in dangerous ways. Vitamin E can increase the potency of blood thinners and raise the risk of bleeding, while vitamin K can reduce their efficacy.

Erroneous labeling and contamination

Poorly regulated or low-quality supplements may pose health hazards because they may be tainted with dangerous compounds or have false ingredient information. 

The FDA has discovered supplements that, in certain cases, contain prescription medications and extraactive substances not disclosed on the dietary supplement labels, increasing the possibility of further adverse reactions and side effects. 

According to a study published in JAMA Network, 776 nutritional supplements were discovered to contain medicinal substances between 2007 and 2016. The majority were advertised as aiding in weight loss, muscle growth, or sexual enhancement.

Delay in diagnosis or treatment

Relying only on supplements in place of seeking appropriate medical attention or treating underlying health issues might cause delays in critical interventions and exacerbate pre-existing disorders.

Factors to consider before you start taking a supplement

Before incorporating supplements into your routine, it's essential to consider the following factors:

Determine the kind of supplement that is best for you

Deciding which form of supplement to take can be daunting with so many options available. Consider your digestion: capsules or alternative forms are easier to break down, making them preferable if you have digestive difficulties. 

Capsules are ideal for bitter botanical supplements and B-complex vitamins, while herbal teas like mint, chamomile, ginger, and licorice offer a soothing tactile experience. Overall, you need to consult your physician before taking any supplement. 

Consider the medications you’re presently taking

Some drugs and dietary supplements are just incompatible. L-tryptophan, for instance, should be avoided if you're taking an antidepressant since it may increase serotonin levels, which could have undesirable or even harmful side effects.

Quality of the products

It might be economical to buy name-brand dish soap and cereal instead of generic. However, don’t do the same with your vitamins. Your health is at stake. 

Additionally, before buying or consuming any new supplements, be sure you have trustworthy information on the manufacturer.

Look deep and refine what your body is attempting to tell you. Your best friend's claim that dandelion tea relieved her bloating doesn't guarantee it will work for you. What if you find the flavor intolerable?

In summary, weigh the benefits and drawbacks of the supplements you intend to take, determine whether you should try to change your diet to make up for the nutritional shortfall, and gain a firm understanding of any possible adverse effects.

Takeaway: Choose the right supplements for your health

You can use supplements to enhance your general health and well-being if you have the correct information and assistance. 

Remember that supplements are meant to enhance, not replace, a healthy diet and way of life.

Why Not Natural knows how important it is to offer natural supplements of the highest caliber that are compatible with your body. Our highly bioavailable liquid vitamins, such as the B-Complex Liquid, are designed to provide your body with the best possible absorption and utilization.

Browse our natural supplements to start your journey to a more vibrant, healthier version of yourself.

Don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter to learn which supplements to take, how to combine them for maximum benefit, and other health tips to boost your energy and vitality. Plus, discover natural strategies to reduce hormonal imbalances, stress, and anxiety. Click here to get started!

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.