Getting Vitamins from Food vs. from Supplements
The Difference Between Food & Supplements
Multivitamins and supplements can’t replace food. Whole foods have benefits that supplements just can't provide. Some of the benefits to whole foods include:1
- Complex nutrition: Whole foods also contain more complex, varied nutrients.
- Antioxidants: There are numerous choices for antioxidant-rich foods. Whole foods, especially those with dark, rich color not only deliver antioxidants but other necessary nutrients as well.
Some nutrients are most potent when they come from food. Vitamins from food come with other nonessential but beneficial nutrients like carotenoids, and flavonoids.2
Who Should Take Supplements & What to Consider
Keeping all that in mind, there are some people who may want to consider a regular vitamin supplement. Consider speaking with a health care provider if you fall into any of the below categories:1
- Women who may get pregnant or are already pregnant
- Adults aged 50 and up
- Vegans and vegetarians
- People who follow a limited diet
When choosing the right vitamin or supplement, there are a few things you should consider:1
Read the labels – Check your vitamin labels to see what nutrients are included, any ingredients you may be allergic to, the serving sizes, and more.
Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist – It's possible some vitamins can interact with medications you currently take. You may also want to avoid certain supplements before surgery or medical procedures.
If you're unsure about how to eat a healthier diet or whether you should take a supplement, consider speaking with a healthcare provider.
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1. Supplements: Nutrition in a Pill? https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/supplements/art-20044894/
2. Should you get your nutrients from food or supplements? https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/dietary-supplements-do-they-help-or-hurt/
3. Vitamins and Minerals: How to Get What You Need. https://familydoctor.org/vitamins-and-minerals-how-to-get-what-you-need/
4. Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983.