You may choose to take vitamins and supplements for many reasons, including meeting your recommended daily intake of nutrients or treating a specific health condition.
Vitamins and supplements offer a range of potential benefits, from boosting immunity to helping manage stress.
But with so many options, what should you look for when choosing a vitamin or supplement for your needs? We’ve partnered with Swanson Health to offer advice on what to look for when browsing the vitamin aisle.
Do you need to take vitamins and supplements? You can benefit from it if you have a deficiency. Corresponding
How do you know if you have a deficiency? Some signs and symptoms may include:
- visual or skin changes
- bone changes
- neurological problems
- problems with blood clotting
- hair loss or brittle hair
- brittle nails
Discuss deficiency testing options with a doctor if you think you are deficient in an essential vitamin or mineral. Tests can help identify potential deficiencies and determine why you have a particular nutrient deficiency, whether it’s due to diet or an underlying health condition.
Read more about magnesium deficiency.
When shopping for vitamins and supplements, you have a variety of options to choose from. The type you choose depends on the health issue you want to address.
Here are some commonly sold supplements and what they are commonly used for:
- biotin for hair loss
- calcium and Vitamin D for bone health
- fish oil for joint health, eye health, heart health, bone health, depression and inflammation
- Ashwagandha for stress relief
- iron in anemia and iron deficiency
- magnesium for depression, heart health, bone health, migraines and inflammation
- Niacin (Vitamin B3) for skin health and digestive health
- Omega-3 fatty acids for heart health, eye health, inflammation and depression
- Vitamin B12 for people who don’t get enough of it through their diet, such as vegans and vegetarians
- vitamin C for antioxidants, skin health, bone health and boosting immunity
- vitamin E for heart health, eye health and inflammation
Read more about the potential benefits of Ashwagandha.
With a range of vitamins and supplements available in stores and even more online options, how do you know which options are effective and trustworthy? Here are some key factors to consider.
It’s important to consult a doctor to determine which vitamins and supplements will meet your needs and are safe for you. Some vitamins and supplements can interact with medications.
A doctor can also help you choose the right doses of vitamins and supplements for your needs. Ingesting inappropriate amounts can be dangerous.
Buying supplements from a reputable brand that offers a quality product is crucial.
When shopping for supplements and vitamins, choose brands that use reputable third-party testing. Finding a Certificate of Analysis (COA) is one way to ensure a brand takes the quality of their products seriously.
Some third party identifiers to look for are:
- NSF certification: This type of certification uses strict standards to evaluate products and includes regular on-site inspections.
- USP mark: This mark confirms that the ingredients, effectiveness and quantities are correct and free from harmful impurities. It also certifies that the products are manufactured in accordance with FDA’s current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs) and certifies that the products are manufactured in a hygienic and controlled manner.
- Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG) certified quality and GMP: BSCG Certified Quality verifies ingredients and checks for dangerous substances. BSCG Certified GMP audits manufacturers to ensure they comply with the CGMPs.
- USDA Certified Organic Farming: Products with this certification undergo rigorous testing to ensure their quality and integrity meet USDA organic regulations.
Swanson Health offers a wide variety of gummies such as magnesium, zinc, vitamin C, and multivitamins for both children and adults. The dietary supplements are also tested by internal and external laboratories.
A product’s label can contain a wide range of information, including:
- Ingredients and potency: A clear list of ingredients and information on nutrient content are important. If this is missing, that’s a red flag.
- Fillers and additives: Watch out for supplements that contain heavy fillers, sweeteners, and additives.
- Servings and Serving Size: Pay attention to the number of servings in the container and how the serving size is measured.
- Certifications: Certifications can include information about the dietary supplement, including whether it is vegan, USDA organic, gluten-free, kosher, and more.
Read more about how to choose quality vitamins and supplements.
The right type of vitamin and supplement depends on your preferences and needs.
Hate swallowing bulky capsules? Do you prefer a convenient single-dose pill? Or maybe you’re looking for a kid-friendly vitamin option.
Common forms of vitamins are:
- Softgels and Liquigels: Softgels and liqui-gels can mask unpleasant tastes, but they may contain gelatin, making them unsuitable for vegans.
- Tablets or Capsules: Capsule shells and tablets are widely available and are available in vegan and non-vegan formulas.
- Liquid and Mist: These vitamins and supplements are good choices if you have trouble swallowing pills or capsules.
- Gummy bears and chews: Chewable vitamins and supplements are a great option for children and people who don’t like swallowing capsules whole.
Vitamins and supplements can offer benefits that can help with various health conditions. Factors to consider when choosing the right supplements for your needs include the brand’s trustworthiness, safety, and your preferences.
Before you start taking any vitamin or supplement, talk to a doctor. They can help you determine if you are deficient and offer advice on how to supplement safely.