Health 10Navigating through the vitamins and nutritional supplements section of the store can be overwhelming. There are so many brands and products on the shelves all for different needs and health conditions that it becomes difficult to find which supplement is right for you. Keep in mind that vitamins and other nutritional products are meant to supplement the diet and are not meant to replace nutritious foods. In no way should a dietary supplement replace the good habits of a healthy diet.

Although for many people, dietary supplements are not needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle, for some types of people. These include nursing mothers, pregnant women, people with food allergies or intolerance, strict vegetarians, senior citizens and those with certain medical conditions may have inadequate amounts of vitamins or minerals in their diet.

Finding The Right Supplement

Before taking any health product, it is wise to consult your doctor beforehand. They will alert you of any side effects or if the supplement may interact with medications or other health products you may be taking. Make sure to ask your doctor if you are interested in taking supplements while you are pregnant, nursing, have had surgery or have a health condition such as heart disease. In addition, be cautious about giving children health supplements as well. When meeting with your doctor, make sure to inquire about what supplements will be best for your current health needs and diet. Ask about the benefits and risks of taking a certain type of supplement such as vitamin B12, what dosage to take and how long to take the product. It is also very important that you let your doctor know what other medications and health products you are taking so he or she can look into whether a supplement will interact with the other medicines you are taking.

Safe Supplements

Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates nutritional supplements as if they were food and does not ensure their safety to their consumers, you can tell if a supplement has been tested by checking for a seal of approval from a company that tests supplements. Some of these companies include US Pharmacopeia, Consumer Lab, or NSF International. Products approved by these companies must not include any harmful contaminants and must contain all ingredients listed on the label.

Here is a list of some popular nutritional supplements. Remember to consult your doctor before taking any sort of product.


Also known for being a dietary insurance pill, multivitamins can be taken daily or whenever your diet is inadequate. Multivitamins are often taken daily and there are certain products geared toward certain people such as women, men, teenagers and senior citizens.

Meal Replacements

These include powdered or liquid supplements that replace some daily foods such as a glass of milk or water during dinner. A good alternative for people who cannot eat regular food, meal replacements can help provide consumers with the appropriate nutrients in their diets as well as help consumers manage their calorie intake.

Sports Nutrition Supplements

One of the broadest categories that encompasses supplements for weight loss and sports performance supplements, these products are meant to enhance your physical activity. Sports nutrition supplements have incremental effects. They do not magically make you stronger or miraculously shed some weight; it takes time to see their effects. Using sports nutrition supplements in combination with good diet and exercise often brings about the best results for users. Some examples of sports nutrition supplements include amino acids, creatine, fat burners and protein formulas.

In short, doing background research, talking with your doctors and deciding how you want to integrate supplements into your routine of health diet and exercise can help make you feel stronger and well-nourished.