Sometimes, the food you eat isn’t enough to ensure your body receives the right vitamins and nutrients. You might need to supplement your diet with vitamins to manage your health and wellness regimen. Otherwise, a vitamin deficiency could lead to painful side effects.

For example, vitamin D deficiency can cause bone pain and muscle weakness. It also increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, asthma, cancer, and diabetes. That’s only if you’re missing one vitamin!

Over two billion people around the world suffer from a micronutrient deficiency. However, it’s not enough to take every vitamin under the sun. Instead, use these essential supplement guide to make sure you’re taking your supplements safely.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about which supplements and vitamins everyone should take.

Know What You Need

Before you start taking supplements, it’s important to understand your unique health needs. Otherwise, you could end up taking supplements that will do your body more harm than good.

Consider visiting a registered dietitian or doctor. They can run a blood test and determine which vitamins and minerals your body needs. They’ll also ask questions about any health changes you’ve noticed recently.

For example, are you more prone to bone fractures? In that case, you might need vitamin D and magnesium. If you find you’re feeling sluggish and fatigued, you might need more B-vitamins in your essential supplement routine.

Before your appointment, take the time to track what you eat and drink over the next week. Your diet could indicate which supplements you need, too.

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Everyone’s body is a little different. The supplements you need might differ from someone else’s (including a family member’s). Your supplemental needs can differ based on your diet, any medical conditions you have, or your family history.

An increased risk for certain health problems in the future could alter your supplement plan as well. For example, maybe you’re pregnant. Your doctor will adjust your supplement plan accordingly to help prevent major birth defects.

If your family has a history of osteoporosis or cancer, your doctor might suggest vitamins to strengthen your bones.

In order to better gauge your unique health needs, you should also inform your doctor of any health problems you’re experiencing. Are you having difficulty sleeping? Are you experiencing headaches, dry mouth, or chronic fatigue?

Let your doctor know about your symptoms to determine which supplements you need most.

Become a Savvy Shopper

In order to develop your own essential supplement plan, it’s important to know the best practices for choosing supplements. You can start with these five beneficial supplements and vitamins everyone should take.

Here are a few tips that can help you become a savvy shopper as you search for supplements. Don’t choose the cheapest options available. In fact, choosing the cheapest supplements could have dangerous consequences.

Here are a few tips that can help you become a savvy supplement shopper.

Understand FDA Regulations

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates dietary supplements. However, it looks at supplements as foods, not medications.

With drugs, manufacturers have to prove their products are safe and effective before they can start selling them to consumers. With supplements, however, manufacturers don’t have to prove the product’s safety and efficiency. Keep that in mind as you start exploring different supplements.

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When reading the label, it’s important to note the product doesn’t always match what’s printed. Sometimes, the supplement inside the bottle contains ingredients that aren’t even listed on the label!

To narrow down your options, first, make sure the supplement was certified by an organization that verifies the supplement is safe. For example, you might see the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) symbol. Other supplements might have a seal from ConsumerLab.com or NSF International.

Make sure the label provides you with a complete list of ingredients. Does it include the manufacturer’s contact information? If not, look elsewhere.

Does the label list a serving size along with how much of a nutrient is within each supplement?

It’s important you don’t exceed the tolerable upper intake level (UL).

Don’t forget to check the FDA’s website to ensure your supplement wasn’t recalled. If you find them on this list, keep searching.

Speak With Your Doctor or a Pharmacist

It can sometimes feel confusing to determine which vitamins should not be taken together. If you’re unsure, take the time to speak with a pharmacist. They can help you avoid taking the wrong supplements and medications together.

For example, you don’t want to take vitamin B3 with medications for your cholesterol. Meanwhile, taking vitamin E and warfarin together can increase your risk of bleeding. Calcium supplements, on the other hand, could make it difficult for your body to absorb iron.

If you have the time to speak with a pharmacist, ask them if there’s medical research that backs up the product’s safety.

Ask about where the product was made, what safety standards were used to make it? Was the product recalled or did patients experience adverse effects after using it?

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Questions to Ask Your Doctor

As you start to make a list of potential supplements to take, consider having your doctor review your list. That way, you’ll have peace of mind before you begin taking your supplements.

Here are a few questions you should consider asking your doctor during your next appointment:

  • Is this supplement safe for me to take?
  • Can I take this supplement while nursing or pregnant?
  • Will this supplement cause excessive bleeding?
  • Should I stop taking this medication before surgery?
  • What are vitamins and supplements to avoid before surgery?
  • What side effects might I experience after taking these supplements?
  • How soon will I begin seeing positive effects?
  • How long can I take these supplements?
  • What brands would you suggest?
  • What happens if I begin experiencing side effects?
  • Should I take a specific dosage based on my age, weight, or health needs?

These questions will give you peace of mind before you begin using your supplements.

Supplementing Your Overall Health: Your Essential Supplement Guide

By taking the right supplements, you can improve your overall health. Without the right research, however, the supplements you take can do more harm than good. Make sure to consult this essential supplement guide beforehand!

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