What Are Supplements? 6 Things You Should Know

From multivitamins to fish oils, we have been taking dietary supplements forever.  

You’ve heard about them and may have them filling up your bathroom cabinets. 

Well, you’re not alone, because there are millions of people who take a vitamin or supplement each day.

But what exactly are supplements?

Also known as food or dietary supplements, they are used worldwide to supplement your diet so that your body gets enough nutrients and enhances your health.

They contain at least one of the following ingredients, such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, amino acids or a combination of any of these ingredients.

Some of the most popular supplements are multivitamins, minerals like calcium and iron, products like glucosamine, fish oil capsules, probiotics, and natural weight-loss aids. They come in a variety of forms such as tablets, capsules, gummies, and powders, as well as drinks and energy bars.


While there is evidence that certain supplements can help improve overall well-being and health, it’s important to note that dietary supplements are not intended to treat, cure, mitigate, or prevent any disease.

Moreover, supplements should not be considered as a substitute for a balanced, healthy diet. 

Supplements should not replace complete meals, that’s a big no-no. Eating a variety of foods is essential for nurturing the body.

Can I Take Supplements on My Own, Without a Doctor?

Remember, safety first. Always consult with your healthcare provider/doctor before taking any supplements. 

If yes, what are your safe options depending on your individual situation and health concern? They can help you achieve a balance between the foods and supplements you need.

Some simple tips to keep in mind while choosing a supplement:

  • Take supplements as directed according to the label and your doctor’s instructions
  • Some ingredients may have adverse effects and may be harmful
  • A supplement labelled “natural” doesn’t always equal “safe”
  • Keep supplements stored properly, away from sunlight and children
  • Pregnant women, nursing mothers, or children need to take extra precautions before consuming supplements

Types of supplements

Some of the most commonly used supplements are – 

  • Vitamins
  • Calcium
  • Minerals such as zinc, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, etc
  • Folic acid
  • Biotin
  • Herbs or other botanicals
  • Proteins and amino acids
  • Essential fatty acids such as fish oil
  • Enzymes
  • Green Tea
  • Glucosamine
  • Probiotics
  • Or a combination of any of the above

How Do I Take Supplements?

  • Follow your doctor’s/physician’s instructions and the directions on the package
  • Ensure that it is safe to consume supplements along with other medications you’re taking.
  • Do not consume too many supplements and avoid high doses
  • Many supplements contain ingredients that can have side effects. Monitor the possibility of a bad reaction
  • It’s important to understand how, when, and for how long you should take it?

Vegetarian and vegan supplements

While it is possible to be vegan and stay well-nourished by eating whole foods, supplements can ensure you are getting the proper nutrition you need.

A vegan diet may be low in some nutrients, such as vitamin B-12, that are primarily present in animal products. Zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids are some other vital nutrients that can be consumed in the form of supplements to make up for these nutrients.


Always remember when taking supplements, one thing is certain: Don’t underestimate the power of a nutritious well-balanced diet.

They cannot make up for poor food choices, instead, they can only help bridge the gap between your daily dietary intake and nutrient needs.

And to the much-debated question of “Do we need them?”Yes, we do. At certain times of our lives, depending on our individual daily needs.

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From biotin and vegan omega to arginine & multivitamin basics, the HealthDoqtor has a range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian, chewable tablets.

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