Starting off the new year with a better you can be difficult with all the different choices for natural supplements. It can be hard to figure out which vitamin and supplement regimen is right for your body among all the options out there. With this guide, you’ll get some more information about why you should choose a natural supplement, the different types of vitamins, and hear the answers to some of the most-asked questions.
What Is a Natural Supplement and Vitamin?
A natural supplement is made from the food itself, which is put into a capsule or pill form. A vitamin is a synthetically-created alternative. They both work in the body with the same effects but may absorb differently and, thus, be less effective. Knowing which you are taking can help you pay attention to whether your symptoms improve—meaning it is absorbing properly—or if you may need to switch.
Are Natural Vitamins Better? What’s the Difference Between a Synthetic and a Natural Vitamin?
When we eat food, we naturally consume quantities of vitamins, nutrients, calories, and minerals for our bodies to use as fuel. The food contains a unique blend of vitamins and nutrients that allow for optimal absorption. For those who are unable to obtain everything they need from meals, vitamins and supplements may help them make up their deficits.
- Whole food supplements are made from the food we eat. They are dehydrated and concentrated into a pill or capsule form in order for us to get the desired nutrients.
- Vitamins are synthetic nutrients that act in your body in the same way, but the absorption can be different.
Natural food and supplements are able to be absorbed better due to their combination of minerals, carbohydrates, fats, and nutrients rather than being isolated into individual qualities in a pill. The food eaten is designed by nature for maximum health potential and nutrition. A natural supplement uses this to its advantage.
How Do I Find a Natural Supplement?
Read the ingredient label. Look for the foods or herbs by name to make sure no artificial alternatives have been used.
Look for a USP seal. These are from the US Pharmacopeia, and meet certain quality guidelines and have undergone independent testing.
Find products with “100% natural”, “100% plant-based” or “Certified Organic” to know that the ingredients are all-natural and not from synthetics. This is not a shortcut, though—you should still read through the entire label.
Avoid products with dyes, sugars, and other additives.
Talk with your doctor if you are on prescription medications. Some medications interact with certain foods or supplements, and you should know this ahead of time.
Which Vitamin or Natural Supplement Should I Take?
Starting a vitamin regimen can be confusing at first. There are so many choices that it can be hard to know which ones to take. There are essential vitamins that you need each day, listed below. You can also select a multivitamin or a system-specific vitamin, which eliminates having to each vitamin individually and ensures you get complete nutritional values.
What Are the Essential Vitamins? Which Vitamins Are Most Important?
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K or Potassium
- Thiamine (B1)
- Riboflavin (B2)
- Niacin (B3)
- Pantothenic Acid (B5)
- Pyridoxine (B6)
- Biotin (B7)
Your body stores Vitamins A, D, E and K within fat tissue. Fat-soluble vitamins are capable of causing overdoses and you should monitor the amount taken carefully. These can also play a role in excessive weight loss or gain, as they may change the fat levels in your body.
All of the other vitamins listed above are water-soluble, and each day your body gets rid of the excess through urination. Each of these vitamins plays an essential role in daily bodily functions and should be replenished through a healthy diet—and supplements if needed.
- Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. Your body can store extra in the fat cells of your body.
- You can find it in carrots, spinach, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, mango, fish, eggs, pumpkin, milk, grapefruits, kale, papaya, apricots, and other dairy products.
- Vitamin A is responsible for healthy skin, nails, and hair. It helps with the growth and development of cells.
- It is also great for your eyes.
- Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, and your body gets rid of excess via urination.
- It can be found in sprouting broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, kiwi, citrus fruits, pineapples, mango, and berries such as strawberries, cranberries, and blueberries.
- This vitamin works with your immune system and helps with iron absorption, strengthens blood vessel walls, and helps heal wounds.
- Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin.
- You can find Vitamin D in cheese, eggs, salmon, tuna, mushrooms, and milk.
- This vitamin helps with calcium absorption, as well as bone and teeth health.
- Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin.
- It can be found in eggs, margarine, sunflower seeds, avocado, spinach, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, peanuts, mango, lobster, and cod.
- This vitamin is responsible for supporting the immune system and keeps blood from clotting.
Vitamin K, or Potassium
- Better known as potassium, vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin.
- It can be found in bananas, cantaloupe, honeydew, apricots, prunes, cooked broccoli and spinach, potatoes, mushrooms, peas, and cucumbers.
- This vitamin helps blood clot, regulates calcium levels, and aids bone metabolism.
- Magnesium is found in dark chocolate, avocado, legumes, tofu, whole grains, and some fatty fish.
- Magnesium is used by the body to support the immune system, help with nerve and muscle functions, aid cardiac health, regulate blood sugar levels, and keep bones strong.
- Calcium can be found mostly in dairy products like milk and cheese but is also present in smaller quantities in dried fruits, leafy greens, and tofu.
- Though best known for helping achieve strong bones, calcium also helps blood clot, muscles function, and your heart to squeeze.
- Iron is found in meats like fish and poultry. It can also be found in smaller amounts in tofu, dried fruits (e.g. prunes), lentils, and beans.
- Iron is a mineral that is necessary to allow the hemoglobin in your blood to transport oxygen throughout the body
- Vitamin B is water-soluble and needs to be replenished daily.
- All the Vitamin Bs help in different ways to break down fats and carbohydrates and change them into energy for your body. Read more about Vitamin B Complex by visiting our blog.
- Thiamine (B1) is found in whole-grain cereals, macadamia nuts, beans, lentils, and pork.
- Riboflavin (B2) is found in foods like eggs, green vegetables, lean meats, milk, cereals, and bread.
- Niacin (B3) can be found in poultry, meats, avocado, peanuts, whole grains, mushrooms, and peas.
- Pantothenic acid (B5) is found in meat products, eggs, milk, mushrooms, avocado, and leafy vegetables.
- Pyridoxine (B6) can be found in meats, bread, eggs, certain vegetables, and soybeans.
- Biotin (B7) can be found in meat, eggs, fish, nuts, and sweet potatoes.
- Cobalamin (B12) can be found in poultry, meats, milk, and eggs.
What Are the Different Types of Vitamins and Supplements?
There are several different types of vitamins and supplements, and each is designed to support different areas of your body. Targeting or selecting a vitamin for a troubled area of your health could be beneficial. If you don’t have any specific health concerns, you may opt to choose an overall vitamin. Below are some of the many different types of supplements:
- Heart-healthy supplements contain ingredients designed to help with heart health by lowering cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, and giving you more energy.
- Immune system support vitamins contain ingredients with antioxidants and Vitamin C and are designed to give you immune support if you are compromised or dealing with flu season.
- Multivitamins are great for individuals who want an overall healthier body and do not want or need, to target a specific system. They contain the recommended amounts of all of the essential vitamins and minerals to help elicit better general health.
- Sleeping vitamins are an alternative to overly-sedating prescriptions and medications. They contain melatonin, a natural relaxant, which helps ease you to sleep.
- Probiotics are vitamins that help with digestive health by improving digestion. They help intestines better absorb nutrients and can ease frequently upset stomachs.
Is It Good to Take Multivitamin Every Day? Do We Really Need to Take Vitamins?
YES! Vitamins come in many forms and are support a healthier lifestyle because they can yield a multitude of benefits. They supplement your diet and ensure that you receive everything you need, nutritionally.
Different types of vitamins support areas of your health you may want to improve or might struggle with. Multivitamins are great for improving overall health and make a great springboard to helping you achieve a healthy lifestyle.
Can Vitamins Make Up for a Poor Diet? Can I Get Enough Nutrients From Everyday Meals?
It is possible to get the nutrients you need from food if you follow and eat all of the recommended daily amounts. To do so, you will need to measure portion sizes, calculate the percentages in each food, and have a very broad diet, every single day. This can be difficult for busy individuals or picky eaters. Vitamins are designed to supplement a diet when you don’t eat all the food groups every day, or have health problems that restrict you.
What is the Best Natural Supplement for Overall Health?
Taking a multivitamin that contains all of the mentioned ingredients can support better overall health. There are many different brands and varieties, but a multivitamin is the best approach if you want overall improvement.
What Can I Take to Get More Natural Energy?
Taking a vitamin with all of the recommended values of vitamin B, vitamin C, and iron has been shown to boost energy. Meeting your daily requirements will help boost your energy naturally.
Things to Consider when Choosing a Supplement Regimen
Though we all want better health, there are things to consider before starting a regimen. Following this list will give you a higher success rate and can prevent dangerous health complications:
- Talk to your doctor. Make sure there are no negative interactions between the medicines you take and the supplements you want to add.
- When unsure of what to choose, ask your pharmacist. You can take more than one supplement, but you don’t want to have too many vitamins. Trained professionals can give you guidance.
- Set a goal of what you want to improve; if you want to lower your cholesterol, lose weight, or be in better shape overall, you should set a goal and take the steps to reach that goal.
- Pair supplements with a healthy diet and exercise. Any activity is better than none and can help you gradually increase the amount of exercise you do, improving your health.
Best Natural Supplements and Vitamins
Here are some of the best natural supplements. These can be used for their specific areas to help improve areas of your health and make you feel better each day.
- Natural Factors DGL is designed to help with digestion and diminishes stomach aches from heartburn, heals ulcers, soothes and protects the stomach lining, and helps with chronic gastritis. It contains licorice root and can be taken even if you have high blood pressure.
- Astaxanthin Plus is an amazing antioxidant that can boost the immune system, protect the skin from sun damage, support eye health, and even aid in digestion.
- Hi Potency Multi are multivitamins designed to support overall health. They are vegetarian-friendly and contain everything you need in a day and naturally support your body.
- Melatonin Peppermint is a tablet that dissolves in your mouth quickly to gently ease you to sleep. Using the natural hormone, melatonin, it gets your internal clock in check so you can sleep peacefully and wake refreshed.
- Ultimate Protec Multi Probiotic Veggie Caps are designed to help support digestive health. With 12 billion active cells of lactobacillus to aid your intestines, they can help you better absorb nutrients, support your immune system, and restore intestinal flora.
Are There Side Effects for Vitamins?
Vitamins have been ruled safe, with minimal effects. Certain individuals may show signs of an allergic reaction to some ingredients, especially if they have many drug allergies, which can result in rash, hives, or itching. Some common side effects reported are:
- Upset stomach
- Unpleasant taste in your mouth
Taking the vitamin with food and plenty of water can help to negate these effects in many cases.
Who Needs to Take Vitamins?
While many adults choose not to take vitamins, there are health benefits from taking a supplement daily. There are a number of benefits from taking multivitamins, and individuals with the following health concerns may want to try them:
- Pregnant women and teenage girls are at higher risk for developing anemia from menstruation. Pregnant women may also need additional nutritional support and folic for the health of the fetus.
- Seniors may have multiple health conditions, such as a reduced capacity for absorbing nutrients. If they have poor diets, they may also benefit from picking up a vitamin regimen.
- People with food allergies or restrictive diets (e.g. picky eaters, vegetarians, vegans) may need additional support from the foods they can—or do—not eat
- Bariatric surgery patients may not be able to absorb nutrients as well and need support in their diets.
Symptoms of Vitamin Deficiencies
If you are wondering if you need to take a vitamin, you should speak with your doctor and be watchful for these common signs of vitamin deficiency:
- Lack of energy
- Leg cramps
- Brittle hair or nails
- Mouth ulcers or bleeding gums
- Scaly patches of skin and dandruff
- Visual disturbances
- Hair loss
Any of these, or a combination thereof, can be a sign that your body is lacking nutrients it needs to function on a daily level. By adding a multivitamin to your daily routine, you may improve your symptoms quickly. Having a vitamin deficiency simply means that you are not getting everything that you need from your diet each day and may benefit from a supplement regimen.
Tell Us About You!
Tell us in the comments about yourself. Do you have a vitamin regimen that works for you? Have you found yourself feeling better after starting a routine? Do you use any of the suggested supplements? Comment below!