What Are Vitamin Supplements and What Do They Do? | Exercise.com Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

What Are Vitamin Supplements and What Do They Do?

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • Vitamin supplements are vitamins or food products that contain vitamins.
  • The amount of vitamins you should be taking depends entirely upon your personal diet.
  • The effectiveness of vitamin supplements depends on a variety of factors, including quality of manufacture, absorption rate, and your personal physiology.
The purpose of vitamin supplements is to provide you with any missing nutrients so that your body can maintain a healthy balance, which can lead to living a longer healthier life.

Scientifically speaking, a vitamin is a natural compound that any organic being requires in order to function correctly.

Vitamins are best obtained through food, in terms of the body’s ability to absorb and use the vitamins.

However, when this is not possible, vitamin supplements can aid in that attempt.

Obtaining the proper vitamins with a well-rounded exercise routine can be very beneficial to your health. Go PRO today for access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, and more.

How Many Vitamin Supplements Should I Be Taking?

Everyone’s needs are different when it comes to how many vitamins you should take. If you eat a well balanced and healthy diet, then it is quite possible your body is already getting all the nutrients it needs.

However, if you are someone who doesn’t eat a lot of veggies, you might need to consider vitamin supplements. You should look for ones containing vitamins obtained through veggies — such as vitamin A, which is found in orange and green vegetables.

If you are a vegetarian, you will want to take vitamin supplements that provide you with the nutrients you aren’t getting from fruits and veggies, at least not in large amounts, such as protein.

As you grow older, your body absorbs less of the nutrients that are contained in the foods you eat. When this happens, your doctor might recommend a multivitamin or a series of vitamins based on your specific deficiencies.

You might eat a healthy diet and still be deficient in certain vitamins because your body doesn’t absorb them correctly.

In this case, your doctor will recommend vitamins to boost the nutrients you are getting to eliminate the deficiency.

How Effective Are Vitamin Supplements for Providing Nutrients to the Body?

Unfortunately, many supplements are only absorbed at about a 30 percent level. What this means is that if, for example, you are taking vitamin C tablets and you are taking what would equate to your daily dose of vitamin C, you are actually only absorbing 30 percent of that vitamin into your system.

The good news is that supplement companies have found clever ways to increase absorbency levels. One way is through powdered supplements.

Powdered supplements are actually foods that are freeze-dried, dehydrated, or cooked and then ground into powder. They can be used as shakes or in pill form.

The reason this has become such a popular method for supplementing vitamins is that the body absorbs vitamins from food at higher levels than it does synthesized vitamins.

By using the actual food to create the vitamins, this ensures that your body absorbs much higher levels of the nutrients.

Another way to increase the body’s absorption of nutrients from vitamins is through an IV. This is a method doctors will use if you have such a severe deficiency in any vitamin that it might become life-threatening.

The real benefit from a standard multivitamin comes when you are eating healthy but you aren’t getting quite enough nutrients from the foods you are eating. Perhaps you aren’t eating enough or your meals aren’t well rounded. In this case, a standard multivitamin may be in order.

Be sure to know what you’re getting into with all the vitamins you take, as well as multivitamins, as this video explains:

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What Brand of Vitamin Supplements Should I Use?

This is a tricky question to answer because someone might swear by one brand while claiming another doesn’t work at all. Essentially, what brand of vitamins you take will come down to personal preference.

Many of the vitamins you see on the market are made by the same company — a company that actually sells branding. Often two vitamin C products, for example, with different brand names on them, are actually manufactured by the same company and contain the exact same ingredients.

Always look for a GMP seal on any vitamins you purchase. GMP stands for “good manufacturing practices,” which is regulated by the FDA. Vitamins manufactured in other countries often don’t have a GMP.

You may also want to look for something certified organic if you prefer to only put organic products in your body. These are usually regulated by independent agencies.

How Much Do Vitamin Supplements Cost?

As with any product, you will find that the cost of vitamins will vary depending on the manufacturer and the supplier. You will want to compare the cost of vitamin supplements as the cost differences can be substantial.

One thing you do want to be careful of is buying too cheap. Often when you see a vitamin that is two dollars, when every other vitamin of the same type is eight dollars, you can know for certain the ingredient quality is lower in the cheaper product.

This could also mean that seeds, roots, and fillers were used to create a much lower-quality product.

Overall, vitamin supplements can be very reasonably priced; however, a good vitamin isn’t going to be dirt cheap and it is always important to know the reasons for what vitamin supplements you are trying to buy.

And don’t forget that taking supplements and eating right is just part of a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to stay active and work out. Go PRO today for access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, goal trackers, and more!

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