What Are Dietary Supplements?

A dietary supplement is intended to add further nutrition to your daily intake. All dietary supplements contain various ingredients that range from vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and even extracts or concentrates. These supplements are ingested mainly in a pill form but can sometimes be a liquid or powder.

The most common of dietary supplements are vitamins. Most of us rarely receive our daily value of nutrients from the food we eat which is why it is easier to obtain these from a supplement form. It is much more convenient to take a daily multi-vitamin than eating a bunch of different foods with the nutrients you need. If you eat from the basic food groups daily then you should have no problem getting a proper balance of nutrients, however, the majority of us do not.


In most cases the health benefits of taking supplements outweigh the cons which of course comes from proper education of the supplements you take. Please keep in mind that you should never solely rely on supplements for nutrient support and only use them when feeling a deficiency (they are not long term).

The benefits of bodybuilding supplements are perfect for bulking up your muscles. A popular supplement for building mass is protein powder which gives you large amounts of amino acids to help feed your muscles and prevent soreness, a very common problem with those new to the sport. Serious bodybuilders will resort to steroid supplements, which are often confused with regular anabolic steroids. You can get the same results but without the dangerous side effects.

Nutrition supplements, mainly vitamins, can greatly improve overall health skin, vision, bones, hair, and many more. The problem is there are so many out there it is hard to decide on which to get. A general multi-vitamin would be the easier buy because it has a little of everything, however, if you wanted to boost just your overall energy levels you would then choose some vitamin b complex. Knowing the difference between vitamins can save money and time in the end.

Struggling to lose weight? Weight loss supplements can help you shave off some necessary weight when properly combined with exercise and proper nutrition. These supplements help boost metabolism and energy levels to help you push through a workout. Not all weight loss products are effective so be sure to carefully research the ones that actually work.

How to Use

Dietary supplements come in various forms including pills (soft gel or solid), liquids, and powders. Regardless of the form supplements come in, they usually have comparable amounts of what you need. For those who have a hard time swallowing a large pill may be interested in liquid or powder form. Ingesting any supplement is pretty self explanatory but it may be wise to know the basics.

Make Sure to EAT

Always be sure to take supplements after or during your decent sized meal. This rule applies to most supplements especially multi-vitamins. Taking supplements on an empty stomach can easily lead to stomach upset or even regurgitation. This can discourage most people from ever trying supplements again.

Read Directions Carefully

There are countless times when people use supplements without consulting the label. Carefully look over the directions and nutrient information of any product you use. Some supplements suggest taking only once a day while others may say two or three times daily. Taking more than what is recommended could potentially cause side effects.

Mixing with Prescription Medication

If you are on any prescribed medication it is imperative that you speak with your physician before ingesting supplements. There are too many combinations of pills out there that will cause more harm than good.

Side Effects

It is rather hard to find credible information about the dangers and side effects of dietary supplements. This is why it is important to thoroughly research the supplements you are considering. Remember, taking over the recommended dosage of anything could potentially cause side effects.

Side effects from taking supplements generally come from those who are not educated on what dietary supplements really are. They often misinterpret the information because companies can be quite vague. Most of the time side effects are caused from taking too high a dosage and/or combining supplements with alcohol, prescription medication, etc. Also, manufacturers are not required to prove their supplement is effective which could ultimately cause more harm than good.


Dietary supplements are not meant to replace any food. They simply help fill the cracks of nutrients and minerals our bodies may be missing out on.

Vitamin supplements do not make up for an unhealthy diet. It is your job to ensure a proper and well balanced intake of the basic food groups, especially fruits and vegetables.

If you are always on-the-go you may resort to unhealthy eating habits. Consider taking a multi-vitamin if you feel you are falling short of your daily nutrient levels.

High priced supplements do not always mean high quality. Always research products that give you very little information. There is a substantial amount of knock-off supplements on the market with comparable prices, labels, nutrient facts, etc. These companies tend to destroy various supplement markets with their false claims.

Focus on getting your nutrients from the basic food groups. Knowing what to eat and how much is the key to healthy living especially increasing your fruit and vegetable intake. Try to avoid taking supplements long term.


Food and Drug Administration. (2015). "What is a dietary supplement?" Accessed from FDA on March 15th, 2016.

American Diabetes Association. (2014). "Types of dietary supplements." Accessed from ADA on March 18th, 2016.

American Cancer Society. (2015). "FDA regulation of drugs versus dietary supplements." Accessed from ACS on March 18th, 2016.

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