How to Choose Vitamins and Supplements


You may know that a wide variety of vitamins and supplements are available. Around 43% of Asians and 54% of North Americans consume dietary supplements.

But what exactly are supplements and vitamins? What are the common vitamins and their sources? What are the best vitamins for me?

Choosing the right supplements and vitamins can be challenging. Do you need a supplement in the first place? How do you choose one correctly?

Keep reading, as this article will explore all these in detail. The motive is to help you opt for a suitable supplement. The key is that it should be ideal for your long-term health, safe, and effective.

What Are Vitamins and Supplements?

What Are Vitamins And Supplements-hdnutra

Vitamins and supplements are two terms you may use identically. You may want to know their exact meaning:


Vitamins are natural compounds found in vegetables, fruits, and other foods. Our bodies don’t normally produce vitamins, so we need them in smaller amounts to stay healthy.

Vitamins support numerous physiological functions in our bodies and ensure their proper functioning. Without vitamins, you can become prone to certain health problems.


Supplements, or specifically dietary supplements, are products that add nutritional value to your diet. They comprise vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, and other dietary components.

Dietary supplements are a combined term for products used as nutritional supplements to your diet. Vitamins are a supplement; supplements can be more than just vitamins.

Supplements take different forms, such as pills, gummies, liquids, and powders.

Keep reading to explore more details about supplements and vitamins.

What are vitamins?


According to the Oxford Dictionary, vitamins are natural and organic compounds in food. They are essential for animals and humans for growth and development and to stay healthy.

You can develop specific health issues if you have very little quantity of specific vitamins.

Currently, there are 13 recognized vitamins.


Vitamins are typically classified as either being fat-soluble or water-soluble.

Fat-soluble vitamins dissolve in fat. They are stored in the fatty tissue and the liver of the body.  Vitamins A, D, E, and K are grouped as fat-soluble.

Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water and are transported to the body’s tissues. They can’t be stored in the body and exit the body via urine.

Vitamin C and the B-complex vitamins (e.g., vitamin B6, B12, and folate) are water-soluble.

Common vitamins and sources

You now know about the definition of vitamins and their types. Let’s look at the common vitamins and their sources (foods from which you can obtain them):

Vitamin Solubility Sources
Vitamin A Fat Green leafy vegetables (e.g., spinach), carrots, sweet potatoes, yellow fruits such as mangoes and papayas, liver, meat, eggs, milk products, and fish
Vitamin B Water Meat, liver, eggs, seafood, dairy products, legumes, seeds and fortified foods, dairy products, bananas, nutritional yeast
Vitamin C Water Citrus fruits (e.g., oranges and lemons), potatoes, chicken, seafood, spinach, broccoli, strawberries and tomatoes
Vitamin D Fat Egg yolk, fish, liver, cod liver oil

Cereals, milk, yogurt, fortified cereals, cheese, orange juice

Vitamin E Fat Green leafy vegetables like spinach, almonds, peanuts, mangoes, avocados, sunflower seeds, sunflower, soybean, and safflower oil
Vitamin K Fat Green leafy vegetables (e.g., kale and spinach), cauliflower, cabbage, cucumbers, whole grains, peas, soybean, fish, and liver

The Necessity of vitamins for good health

You may have a question about what the best vitamins are for me.

Vitamins keep our bodies in a healthy state to grow and function properly. Each vitamin has a role in bodily functions. It depends on the specific vitamin and what benefit you get from it.

Here are some chief benefits of vitamins:

  • Vitamin A: helps in vision and maintaining your bones, teeth, skin, and soft tissues
  • Vitamin B6: required for forming red blood cells and healthy brain function
  • Vitamin B12: essential for maintaining your central nervous system, plays a vital role in metabolism
  • Vitamin C: needful for growth and repair of tissues, wound healing, bone and teeth repair
  • Vitamin D: required for absorbing calcium and phosphorus and forming healthy bones and teeth
  • Vitamin E: required for keeping the immune system strong and acts as an antioxidant
  • Vitamin K: helps your blood clot

If you get the daily recommended quantity of each vitamin, this helps to remain healthy.

A look at supplements in detail

A Look At Supplements In Detail

Let’s have a look at supplements in more detail. The DHSEA (US Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act) that was passed in 1994 describes supplements. These products contain dietary ingredients, and their ingredients can be the following:

  • Vitamins and minerals
  • Amino acids
  • Herbs and other plant medicines (botanicals)
  • Concentrates, constituents (active ingredients from plants), metabolites (products of metabolism), and extracts
  • Enzymes and probiotics
  • Any combination of the above ingredients

The forms of dietary supplements can include

Dietary supplements provide you with nutrients that you might be missing from your diet. For instance, you may be a vegetarian. Thus, you may not take in the required amounts of nutrients, e.g., B vitamins, in your daily diet.

Some people take supplements to lessen the symptoms of a determined health condition. Supplements could also prevent health problems. For example, you may be taking vitamin D or calcium to prevent bone loss.

Types of dietary supplements

Dietary supplements are of different types. Their most common types include:

  • Individual vitamins: Supplements consisting of one vitamin, like vitamin C or vitamin D
  • Multivitamins: Supplements comprising a mix of several vitamins and minerals in the required quantities
  • Minerals: Supplements of a specific mineral, such as calcium or potassium
  • Probiotics: Supplements promoting the growth of good bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract
  • Botanicals: Contain herbs and botanical compounds like ginger to provide health benefits
  • Amino acids: Contain any nine essential amino acids or additional non-essential amino acids

Functions and Benefits of Supplements

The chief function of dietary supplements is to provide added nutrients. You may be missing them in their daily recommended amounts. In addition, here are some important functions and benefits of supplements:

  • Enhance bone and dental health
  • Enhance the immune system to battle infections
  • Improve concentration and brain function
  • Promote heart health
  • Enhances blood lipid profiles and reduces blood pressure
  • Reduce symptoms of fatigue and insomnia (trouble falling and staying asleep)
  • Reduce the risks of congenital disabilities during pregnancy
  • Maintain ideal body weight

Do You Need a Supplement?

If you have a balanced diet, you can get all the vitamins and minerals. Thus, you don’t need to take dietary supplements.

A balanced diet comprises a variety of different types of food. It provides an adequate amount of the nutrients needed for good health.

Consuming a dietary supplement is a serious matter. You should pay attention to the potential benefits and risks a supplement poses. Speaking to your doctor or healthcare provider about what supplement interests you is better. Then you can decide together what is best for you to take.

You may think that you have a deficiency of vitamins or minerals. Then, it’s vital to bring that information to your healthcare provider. They can do lab testing to confirm the deficiency. They can then determine the best supplement based on your lab results.

It’s very significant. Some supplements provide large doses of vitamins or minerals your body doesn’t need. That can be unsafe.

Who Should Avoid Supplements and Vitamins?

Who Should Avoid Supplements And Vitamins-hdnutra

Many people decide to take supplements. However, taking them for too long or too much is harmful. Even the products from good quality supplement brands aren’t always safe.

Supplements aren’t good for you if you have particular health conditions. They can keep some medicines from working properly. In that case, you should be avoiding them.

For instance, you shouldn’t take too much vitamin A if you have liver disease. A surplus amount of vitamin A can injure your already ailing liver.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, some dietary supplements can be unsafe for you and your baby. Examples include those that contain excessive amounts of vitamin A and vitamin E.

If you are going to have surgery, some supplements can cause bleeding or other complications. If you take blood thinners, vitamin K supplements can reduce their effectiveness.

Some supplements and vitamins are comprised of ingredients listed but not on the label. These may be unsafe.

How to choose the correct vitamins and supplements?

How do you know what supplements to consume? With enormous choices, finding the right supplement can be very tough. Here are five valuable things to consider when buying your next dietary supplement.

1. Consult your doctor or pharmacist

As stated before, consult your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional before taking a supplement. You will get guidance on whether you require a supplement. You will also get to know the advantages and risks of each supplement product.

Be sure to inform your healthcare professional about any medication you are taking. They can suggest a supplement that doesn’t interact with your medicines. Also, inquire about the dosage and duration of taking a supplement.

2. Read the label and surely check the expiration date and dosage

Check the ingredients, percent daily values, and drug interactions via the label. Be sure to check the dosage.

You should check the expiration date because supplements lose potency with time. The expiration date is an important indication. It tells when the supplements’ nutrients have lost most of their potency.

3. Opt for natural whole-food supplements

It’s a better option to select natural and whole-food-based supplements. It means that the nutrients in a supplement should be made from whole food sources. Try to avoid those supplements that contain synthetic nutrients.

4. Choose active and bioavailable forms of nutrients

The best vitamin supplement brands typically provide supplements containing nutrients in active and bioavailable forms. When used, these are more suitable as their nutrients can be absorbed better.

5. Choose effervescent tablets or other forms in place of pills

For many people, the form of the vitamins and dietary supplements should be suitable. That’s why it’s better to select a supplement in the form of effervescent tablets. These are fully bioavailable and dissolve totally and quickly. The outcome is that the nutrients can be absorbed to their full potential.

Conversely, conventional pills dissolve slowly and have lower absorption rates. If you prefer other forms, like liquids or gummies, you can also choose them.


By now, you must be able to make better decisions when choosing dietary supplements.

The foods we eat contain essential nutrients, including vitamins. These are needed to perform bodily functions normally and stay and maintain good health.

Try to ensure you eat a varied and balanced diet. Then it’s enough to get all the vitamins your body requires.

If your diet is lacking, consult a healthcare professional before starting a supplement. It’s the best option. Other factors, such as supplement forms, should also be considered.