Supplements vs Vitamins: The Main Differences

Supplements vs Vitamins: The Main Differences

While vitamins and supplements are often described as interchangeable, they are not the same. Both are used to improve health, but knowing the difference helps you choose which one is right for you. 

Most people decide to include a vitamin or a supplement in their routine for health reasons. Combined with a nutritious diet and plenty of exercise, they can help ensure your levels of many nutrients are optimal.

However, you should never start taking either a supplement or vitamin without first consulting your doctor. The answer to supplements vs vitamins is an important choice that requires consideration.

What Are Vitamins?

The answer to what are vitamins is much simpler than supplements. A vitamin is a nutrient that is naturally occurring but that the body cannot produce on its own. 

Most vitamins are vital for some aspect of your health. A vitamin deficiency can lead to a wide range of health problems. For some people, taking a vitamin is the best way to cover nutrient deficiencies to ensure good health. 

Individuals with food restrictions are at a higher risk of these deficiencies. That includes people with celiac disease who cannot eat gluten as well as people with food allergies. 

There are several vitamins that people are commonly deficient in. When this happens, your doctor may prescribe a vitamin in pill, tablet, or powder form to help close the gap.

For example, vitamin D is not found in many foods, but its main role is to help the body absorb calcium. Without enough calcium, your bones are at risk of conditions like osteoporosis. 

The group of B vitamins, often called B-complex vitamins, are important for the brain, metabolism, and producing red blood cells. People who don't eat animal products are most at risk of deficiencies. 

Other nutrients that people may need to use vitamins for include vitamin A, K E, and C. These nutrients do many jobs, including protecting the immune system, making healthy blood, and keeping skin and teeth healthy.

Vitamins can be found over the counter at most drugstores and pharmacies. Be sure you follow dosage instructions carefully to get the most benefit from the product you choose. 

What Are Supplements?

The answer to what are supplements is a bit more complicated than discussing vitamins. Vitamins are considered a supplement, but not all supplements are considered vitamins.

Confused? Keep reading to find out more. 

A supplement is anything that adds nutrition to your diet or improves your health in some way. They are often comprised of more than one nutrient and are sometimes called multivitamins. 

There are thousands of supplements on the market, many of which are available over the counter. They are created to support a healthy diet. In addition, some are marketed for exercise recovery and other specific needs. 

Supplements can contain vitamins, minerals and/or herbs. They can be used for many reasons. Some common ones include improving mood, protecting joint health, and increasing energy levels.

Other reasons people may choose to take supplements include building muscle after a workout, controlling pain, and getting blood sugar levels under control. 

Using supplements to boost overall health is something that many people do. However, they should not replace a healthy diet that contains a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, low-fat dairy, and whole grains. 

Supplements are best used in conjunction with other healthy lifestyle choices. It's important to talk to your doctor before adding one to your routine. This is especially true if you have any health problems or are taking any medications. 

Choosing Supplements vs Vitamins

So, how do you know whether you need a vitamin or a supplement? Your first step should always be talking to a physician. However, a bit of research on your own is never a bad thing. 

Some supplements and vitamins should not be mixed. It's vital to read the manufacturer's information before you begin a regimen. 

A vitamin is your best choice if you are trying to cover a specific deficiency. For example, if you are low in vitamin D, a specific vitamin to help increase your levels is a good choice.

On the other hand, if you have health conditions that a single vitamin won't make an impact on, a supplement may be a better choice. For example, a multivitamin covers nutrient gaps if you are allergic to certain foods. 

Supplements are also a good choice for certain health problems. This includes pain, insomnia, and many others. Vitamins likely won't improve these conditions like a supplement can.  

Benefits of Vitamins

There are many benefits of vitamins. The main one is that taking one can improve your levels of certain nutrients, warding off health problems that are associated with deficiencies. 

Vitamins are easy to find and are often available over the counter. They are simple to add to your routine and can often produce noticeable results in a short amount of time. 

Benefits of Supplements

One of the top benefits of supplements is the way they can improve health without the use of medications. Supplements are available for a huge range of symptoms and health conditions, giving you plenty of options. 

Like vitamins, supplements are a simple way to improve health, boost your nutrient intake, and keep certain health problems at bay. They are available in pill, tablet, and powder form, allowing you to take them in several ways. 

Safety Considerations

While both vitamins and supplements are generally recognized as safe for most people, a bit of caution is necessary when choosing which ones you will take. 

Be sure to buy your products from reputable sellers, such as drugstores and pharmacies. Online sellers are also a viable choice, provided they offer high-quality products.

Don't just buy the first vitamin or supplement you come across. Research the seller and make sure you're getting exactly what you think you're getting, in dosages that match the label. 

What's Next?

Now that you know the difference between supplements vs vitamins, you're ready to make some decisions about which ones are best for you. Choose from any of the quality products we offer for your good health. 

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