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What is a Vitamin Supplement?

Ken Black
Ken Black

A vitamin supplement is a dietary aid taken by those who need or desire additional vitamins beyond what is provided in their normal daily diet. Often referred to as a dietary supplement, it may be recommended for people with certain conditions or limited diets. While a vitamin supplement should not be used as a replacement for food, they can offer many benefits.

Some vitamin supplements are called multivitamins. These vitamins provide a number of different vitamins and other minerals in one dosage. Often, the daily dose will give a recommended value of many of the major vitamins and some other lesser known vitamins.

Multivitamin supplements.
Multivitamin supplements.

It is important to do research and determine which vitamin supplement is right for you. For those who are starting a multivitamin, it may be best to consult a doctor first. Often, your personal physician will be able to recommend a product that he or she feels will best help meet your needs.

Also, there are many consumer reports listing the pros and cons of each vitamin supplement, especially the major multivitamin brands. Many undergo stringent testing. Some may provide more than they say they do of certain vitamins, which can be harmful. Others may not provide enough. Still others may not dissolve properly, limiting any benefit they may have in the body.

There are many different types of supplements on the market today.
There are many different types of supplements on the market today.

Further, it should be noted that for those in competition, it may be possible to choose a vitamin supplement that is legal on the open market, but have ingredients that are banned by certain sporting agencies. This is especially true of certain stimulants. It is ultimately up to the athlete to understand what they are putting into their bodies.

Most vitamin supplements come in pill form, though it is possible to get them in other forms as well. A drink mix is also a popular way to intake vitamin supplements. These may be more readily absorbed by the body as they are in a smaller form. Thus, they can be more effective quicker. While an immediate effect with vitamins is not what is sought, it can help if those supplements include other desired stimulants.

In addition to multivitamins, it is possible to get a vitamin supplement or mineral supplement that only has a particular vitamin or mineral. This is for those people who have a deficiency in one particular area. Such vitamins are often cheaper than a multivitamin.

If you decide a vitamin supplement is right for you, it does not replace the need for eating healthy, but it may provide some additional benefits. Many may find it hard to meet the daily recommended vitamin requirements each day, and in those cases a supplement may be the answer. Most vitamin supplements come in 30 to 90 daily doses, meaning the smallest supply will at least provide for a month's worth of vitamins. The cost ranges from $10 US Dollars (USD) per bottle to more than $30 USD, depending on the size and brand.

Discussion Comments


It is best to get all the vitamins and minerals by eating a variety of food, such as fruit, vegetable and whole grains. Of course if that is not always possible a supplement can be helpful.

I have found that taking a chewable vitamin C tablet or two a day, as soon as I see symptoms of a cold or flu generally stops the illness from developing.

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    • Multivitamin supplements.
      By: compuinfoto
      Multivitamin supplements.
    • There are many different types of supplements on the market today.
      By: pixelrobot
      There are many different types of supplements on the market today.