What To Look For When Buying Nutritional Supplements

There is always plenty of debate as to whether nutritional supplements are essential, or an insurance policy for just in case. People who skip meals, and whose diets are not well balanced could well be deficient in essential vitamins and minerals. Those with frantic, stressful lives, and those who are recovering from illnesses may also opt to use a vitamin supplement. Planning on supplementing your diet with additional vitamins and minerals? Read on for some handy hints.

Supplements are one instance where it can be worthwhile to select quality over budget. In the US, vitamin companies are not policed the same way as pharmaceutical companies, and supplements come under the same rulings as foods. It is always a great idea to stick with reputable and well known supplement companies. The USP seal of approval ensures that the supplement you are purchasing has the ingredients that it is supposed to, and at the stated dosages.

Supplement Safety

* Take as directed. Many people feel that more vitamins must be better for you. This is wrong. Some vitamins can be dangerous in large amounts. Stick to the recommended dosage. Note also whether you should be taking your supplement with or without meals.

* Expiry dates.
Many vitamins lose their potency over time. Be sure to select vitamins that have plenty of shelf life left. If there is no expiry date on the label or bottle, purchase something else.

* Avoid mega doses. Generally, it is not wise to take supplements that provide over 100% RDA (recommended daily allowance) of anything. In fact, recent studies have revealed that taking mega doses of some vitamins and minerals can be harmful. For more information about on antioxidant supplements this click here.

* Take extra care when pregnant or breastfeeding.
Pregnant and nursing women should only take supplements that are specifically designed for this situation. These women should check with their medical providers before taking any medications.

* Do not mix with other medications.
Certain over the counter and prescription medications can have adverse reactions when combined with supplements. Some medications can be made more powerful and some can stop working altogether. People already taking medications in any form should check with their doctor or pharmacist before adding supplements. Blood thinners, heart medications, steroids, the Pill, some cancer treatments, diuretics, and immuno-suppressing drugs are some examples (but by no means all) of the medicines that can be effected by supplements.

* Pre-surgery. Anyone who is going to be having surgery should definitely check with their surgeon about the safety of their supplements as some can cause surgical complications including thinning of the blood.

* Storage. Supplements can easily be damaged by heat and light. Store in a cool dark environment away from the reaches of children. Some supplements even require storage in the refrigerator.


It is always a great idea when purchasing nutritional supplements to stick with reputable high quality companies and brand names that you know to ensure a superior and safe product. Be wary of supplements that are close to expiry, contain mega doses, or exceed the recommended daily allowance.

Do We Really Need Daily Vitamin Supplements?

Those of us who tend to skip meals, or don’t eat enough fresh fruit and vegetables, may benefit from daily vitamin supplements. While no synthetic vitamins are ever going to replace the nutritional value of real whole foods, they can assist in various situations. Fast foods and fast lifestyles often make it near impossible to have the recommended serves of fruit and vegetables daily.

Who can benefit from vitamin supplements?

Those people who suffer from chronic illnesses, have digestive problems, are run down, recovering from major illness or surgery, are heavy alcohol consumers, and pregnant women may all benefit from adding a supplement to their daily diet.

Do you need a vitamin supplement?

* Are you always feeling run down?
* Do you have problems shaking off coughs and colds?
* Do you move from cold to flu to cold with no breaks in between?
* Can’t remember the last time you ate a salad or fresh piece of fruit?
* Don’t eat fresh fruit daily?
* Do you drink a bit too much alcohol?
* Always tired or lethargic?
* Dry skin?
* Pregnant, nursing, or trying to conceive?
* Recovering from a major illness or surgery?
* Skip meals regularly?
* Can’t remember the last time you had a home cooked dinner?
* Had gastric surgery for weight loss?
* Do you smoke?

If you have answered “Yes” to any of the above you should probably be considering a nutritional supplement. If you answered “Yes” to more than a couple you may need a check up with your doctor and may possibly want to consider some lifestyle changes.

What to look for in a vitamin supplement.

* Check the expiry date is valid.
* Do not be tempted to purchase “megadose” vitamins. These have been proven to be damaging to your health, particularly taking larger then recommended doses of the antioxidants.
* Look for a well balanced supplement that incorporates all vitamins and minerals, and does not exceed any of the recommended daily allowances (RDA).
* Ladies trying to conceive may prefer specific formulations for pre-pregnancy that contain extra doses of folic acid.
* Children have different dietary requirements to adults and should only be given supplements specifically manufactured for children.


An apple a day may keep the doctor away. Those who have problems consuming an apple daily, or any of those other foods that your parents told you were good for you, may well benefit from a nutritional supplement. Fresh foods will always be best, but failing that, a synthetic vitamin is going to be better for your health than no intake of vitamins at all.

Do Vitamins Really Work Or Are They Just A Waste Of Money?

As with so many things today, we are being made promises about all sorts of products out of a bottle. Thinner, younger, better health, increased energy. The list goes on. However, the question should be asked, do supplements and vitamins really work? Does the average person need to take them?

The average person who eats a sensible, healthy and well balanced diet does not need to take vitamin pills. There is absolutely no substitute for fresh and healthy foods. For some folk with various medical and dietary issues, bottled vitamins may be of some assistance. Read on to see if this is you.

Why is real food better?

Vitamins and minerals are found in whole foods and fruits and vegetables. The exact amounts and unique combinations can never be replicated in a pill. Fresh fruits and vegetables also have several other benefits over vitamin pills:
* naturally occurring antioxidants. Antioxidants are important for fighting aging, repairing cell damage, and mopping up free radicals in the system. Recent research has proven that antioxidant supplements may actually be hazardous to your health when taken in inappropriate amounts. However, there is nothing harmful about consuming a variety of colorful and fresh fruits and vegetables. For more information on antioxidant supplements click here.
* greater variety of nutrition. Fresh fruit does not contain just one vitamin or mineral, but many, along with other essential nutrients. These complex ingredients cannot be found in a vitamin.
* fiber is found in many fruits and vegetables. Fiber is essential for maintaining good bowel health, as well as reducing harmful cholesterol (LDL), and reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes. High fiber foods will also make you feel fuller for longer. To replicate the fiber benefits found in whole foods and fruits and vegetables, one would have to be consuming several different types of manufactured fiber products daily. For more information on high fiber foods click here

Who really needs vitamin pills?

Vitamins can be of some assistance to those people who have limited dietary intakes or may suffer from any of these conditions:
* pregnant and nursing mothers. Women can also benefit from taking folic acid prior to falling pregnant.
* severe calorie restricted diets. Those who do not eat adequate portions of food will not be able to meet their daily nutritional requirements.
* vegetarians who do not adequately substitute animal products.
* people who have had gastric bypass operations for weight loss suffer from nutritional deficiencies and do need to take a quality vitamin supplement.
* some medical conditions and food allergies can leave those people deficient in specific nutrients. In these instances health professionals should be able to guide you in your requirements.
* people who are living in isolated locations and do not have access to fresh foods.

Precautions when taking vitamins.

If you fall into one of the categories of folk who may benefit from a vitamin supplement bear these points in mind:
* bigger is not necessarily better. Mega-dose vitamins should be avoided. An over supply of vitamins can sometimes be more dangerous than an under supply. Well rounded vitamins that supply a good percentage of recommended daily requirements are best.
* check the expiry date. Many vitamins lose their potency as they age. Purchase those with the longest shelf life. Expired vitamins should not be taken.
* take as directed. Vitamins work best when you follow the instructions as to dosage and whether they should be taken before or after meals.
* do not store vitamins in the bathroom or car. Hot and humid environments will destroy the nutrients rapidly.
* be child smart. Do not leave your vitamins lying around within reach of children.
* look for quality assurance labels. Various countries have differing organizations governing the vitamin industry. In the US, good quality vitamins will be verified by the label USP.


Vitamins can only be of assistance for those who for some reason do not consume, or cannot digest adequately, whole foods, and fresh fruits and vegetables. For the average person who enjoys a healthy well balanced diet of fresh foods, a vitamin supplement should not be necessary.

Do You Really Need Natural Vitamin Supplements?

In this day and age of take out meals, and eating on the run, many of us are not eating the freshest and best foods that we should. Will natural vitamin supplements really improve your health?

Take a look in your local grocery store and you will see shelves, and possibly whole aisles, dedicated to vitamins and supplements. Likewise on the Net, there are literally so many choices it becomes confusing. While the world happily swallows mouthfuls of pills and tonics to compensate for their busy lifestyles, stress, and poor eating habits, are they really improving their health?

Most nutritionists will tell you that there is no substitute for a healthy diet rich in fresh foods and antioxidants. However, if you find yourself consistently skipping meals and living on fast foods, then perhaps it is time to consult a nutritionist. An expert on nutrition will be able to evaluate your regular input and pinpoint what you are missing out on.

A good quality vitamin will assist in supplementing the parts of your diet that are lacking. It is always important to read the labels and to only take the recommended dose. Some vitamins and minerals can have toxic side effects when taken in large amounts, or when mixed with other medications. If in doubt, check with your medical practitioner before taking any new supplements.

Many herbal and vitamin tablets and tonics have not been tested by the FDA. This can ultimately mean that the quality of the ingredients can vary greatly from brand to brand, and that the safety of the ingredients has not always been researched and approved. Purchasing your supplements from a reputable and well respected company is probably a safer option.

Research has shown that diets rich in antioxidants provide anti-aging benefits and may protect against some cancers. Antioxidants work by soaking up all the free radicals in your system. Free radicals are the little nasties that help contribute to aging, cell damage, and cancers. Antioxidants are found in fresh fruits and vegetables. The more colorful the fruit or vegetable, the more antioxidants it will contain.

The juice of goji berries is now being added to supplements to increase the levels of antioxidants being provided. The manufacturers of these supplements claim that the juice of this berry will provide the highest amount of antioxidant in any herbal supplement.

Natural vitamin supplements can also be useful for those who are unwell, or recovering from illness, where their diet has been compromised, and their intake low. In these instances, supplements can be helpful to help restore vitamin deficiencies. Supplements can also be beneficial for those people who follow diets where major food groups are deliberately deleted. For example, many women who opt not to consume red meat may need iron supplements long term to prevent anemia.

While vitamins and minerals can help address nutritional deficiencies in your diet, the more healthy option is try and achieve better nutrition. Fresh fruits and vegetables are just jam packed with all those goodies that you are purchasing in a jar. Good quality natural vitamin supplements may be beneficial to those suffering from poor health and inadequate nutritional intake. Ultimately, it is always going to be better practice to consume a well balanced and healthy diet incorporating all the major food groups, and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.