Questions and Answers for People New to Vitamins & Supplements

by Melissa Chichester

Have you ever walked down the aisle of vitamins and supplements at your local convenience store, only to leave confused?

Today there are more supplements available than ever before. With eye-catching packaging, bold marketing, and celebrity endorsements, it can be confusing to know where to get started. 

If you’re new to vitamins and supplements, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. This convenient Q & A guide will help you make informed decisions and get started.  

What are supplements for?

The best way to get the nutrients you need is through your diet. However, nutritional supplements can help ensure you receive enough nutrients that are hard to get through food. For example, it is challenging to receive enough Vitamin D in your diet. That’s where Vitamin D supplements can help. 

I’m new to supplements. What steps should I take to get started?

If you’re new to supplements and haven’t taken them before, it’s important to speak with your doctor first. Your doctor will be able to help you find what is best for you. For example, many pregnant women are recommended prenatal supplements by their physicians. 

Your doctor will also be able to help you determine if supplements will interfere with any medications you are taking. You can get blood testing done to determine if you have any nutritional deficiencies. 

>>What to Expect from a Vitamin D Test

man taking vitamins

What vitamins should I take first?

This will depend on what your doctor suggests based on your current health. For many people, it makes sense to bridge nutritional gaps with a multivitamin supplement. Multivitamins are available for all ages and formulated for the unique needs of men and women. 

>>Are Senior Multivitamins Necessary?

Can I get everything I need in a multivitamin? 

No. Multivitamins can help you increase your intake of some essential nutrients, but not all. Why? The full recommended amount of certain nutrients can’t be included in a multivitamin because it would be too large to swallow. It’s also important to make sure you are receiving most of your nutrients from food. 

Should I take Vitamin D?

This is a common question since Vitamin D has been in the spotlight recently. Most people who live above a certain latitude do not receive enough Vitamin D. In addition, certain populations may be more at risk of deficiency, such as older adults. If you suspect you may be prone to Vitamin D deficiency, you can ask your doctor for a blood test to determine where your levels are. 

What does RDA mean?

You will see RDA listed on certain nutrients. RDA stands for Recommended Daily Allowance. The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements explains RDA is the “recommended daily intake of a nutrient for healthy people.” These amounts vary based on age and gender. 

Where can I find more information about dietary supplements?

The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements has extensive fact sheets about vitamins and minerals that you can use to conduct research before talking to your doctor.  

What brand of supplements should I take?

If you’re going to use vitamin and mineral supplements, it’s important to use a brand that you trust. Quality is also essential. Puritan’s Pride’s mission is to make high-quality nutritional supplements available at a great value. And as we head into our 50th anniversary, that is as important as ever. Learn more here to start your supplements journey.