There are hundreds of vitamin and mineral supplements on the market that promise a myriad of health and wellness benefits, from weight control to anti-aging to disease prevention.
Knowing what product to choose can seem daunting, but there’s no need to feel overwhelmed!
Read on to find how to choose the right vitamin and mineral supplements to meet your health goals.
What are vitamin and mineral supplements?
Vitamin and mineral supplements are products, usually in pill form, that contain high concentrations of the necessary nutrients that keep your body healthy and running efficiently.
The most popular supplements include Vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, iron, potassium, and calcium.
All of these substances are found naturally in food and are required to sustain life. By taking a supplement, you can ensure that your body receives enough of these important vitamins and minerals to stay in optimum health.
All vitamin and mineral supplements are not created equal. Products on the market range from concentrated doses of a single vitamin like vitamin C supplements, to multivitamins that may contain a blend of multiple vitamins, minerals, and even herbs.
Many products are marketed for their specific benefits such as heart health or women’s health. They contain a variety of vitamins and minerals that target those specific health needs.
What are the benefits of vitamin and mineral supplements?
Each vitamin and mineral has a specific function in the body and therefore may provide a different benefit. Some of the more popular vitamins and minerals have widely known benefits.
- Vitamin A has antioxidant qualities. It may improve skin health and help protect the body against disease or infection.
- Vitamin B supports metabolism. It can aid immunity, promote cell growth, and improve muscle tone.
- Vitamin C helps boost your immunity. It may aid eye health and helps protect you against cardiovascular disease.
- Vitamin D improves mood, aids in absorption and metabolism, and promotes brain health and memory.
- Vitamin E may improve skin quality and help fight off the symptoms of aging. It has antioxidant properties.
- Iron increases oxygenation of blood cells. It promotes muscle growth and brain health.
- Potassium promotes heart and kidney health. It may reduce your risk of having a stroke.
- Calcium promotes bone health. It may reduce the likelihood of osteoporosis.
There are many more vitamin and mineral supplements and supplement blends. A comprehensive list of the most widely used vitamin and mineral supplements and their features and benefits can be found here, at MedicineNet.com.
Supplement claims are not evaluated or endorsed by the FDA. Be sure to do your research and read some reviews about specific supplements before you buy into the manufacturer’s claims.
Do vitamin and mineral supplements have side effects?
While most vitamins and minerals are fairly safe when taken as directed, some side effects are possible. Side effects are most common when vitamin or minerals have an adverse interaction with medications or other supplements.
For this reason, it is best to consult your doctor or health care professional to discuss any new supplements you would like to take.
Side effects may also occur when vitamin and mineral supplements are taken in excessive dosages. These may include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and numbness in limbs.
For this reason, it is important to pay careful attention to dosage instructions, and consider all vitamin intakes in total. This includes vitamins obtained from food and drink or other supplements.
Which vitamin and mineral supplements are best for me?
When it comes to taking vitamin and mineral supplements, more is not better. Taking too many vitamins will at best, do nothing for you, and at worst, could carry serious health risks.
In order to determine which supplements are right for you, consider your lifestyle and health goals. Target the compounds that are the closest fit for your age, gender, and needs.
Carefully examine your diet before starting to take vitamin and mineral supplements. By tracking a typical week of eating in an online food journal like Fit Day or My Fitness Pal, you can see what your typical nutrient intake is like.
This will help you identify if you are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals. If so, consider taking a supplement specifically to help fill the nutrient voids in your diet.