Vitamin supplements are a great way to consume nutrients that aren’t normally in your diet. However, to get the most out of your supplements, choose vitamins that serve specific purposes and which are delivered in healthy amounts.

Know Your Recommended Dietary Allowance for Vitamin Supplements

When you shop for vitamins, there are two numbers that matter: the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) and the upper tolerable intake level (UL).

The recommended dietary allowance of a vitamin or mineral is the suggested amount to avoid deficiencies and enjoy the benefits of the supplement. You should know that RDAs can differ based on factors like weight, age, gender, and lifestyle. RDAs are always backed by scientific evidence; if there is no RDA established for a supplement, the adequate intake level (AI) will be listed instead.

The upper tolerable intake level represents how much of a vitamin you can take without experiencing negative effects. Keep in mind that vitamins and minerals are meant to be taken in small doses measured in milligrams or even micrograms; if you take too much, the once-healthy supplement could become toxic. Familiarize yourself with the ULs of any supplements that you take, and stay between your RDAs and ULs for the best results.

Only Take One Supplement at a Time

Vitamin supplements are carefully crafted to provide the recommended dietary allowance of several different vitamins while staying well beneath the upper tolerable limits. While most supplement manufacturers assume that you will consume trace amounts of the same vitamins in your regular diet, they can’t account for you taking multiple supplements at once.

The easiest way to safely consume vitamins is to only use one supplement at a time. Find a single vitamin that meets your daily intake needs, and consume it according to the instructions on the packaging. Don’t mix supplements unless you receive a specific recommendation from a nutrition specialist.

Choose the Right Vitamin Supplements for Your Needs

Every vitamin supplement serves a different purpose. For example, you can find supplements meant to improve your focus, increase your energy, or even improve the shine and body of your hair.

Vitamin supplements usually include several different vitamins that are meant to produce a specific effect. A non-GMO healthy skin vitamin supplement probably includes omega-3s, vitamin A, vitamin E, zinc, and selenium. Energy-based supplements always include vitamin B12, and they might also include vitamin B6 or coenzyme Q10. Read the ingredients on each supplement, and make decisions based on the effects that you want to receive.

Balance Vitamins with a Healthy Diet

Vitamin supplements provide essential and beneficial nutrients, but they can’t replace the effects of a healthy diet. No matter how much calcium or Vitamin A you consume, you still need to eat a healthy mix of protein, vegetables, and whole grains every day.

Use vitamins as a supplement for the nutrients your diet already provides. Find out which vitamins are present in the meats and vegetables that you consume on a regular basis. Then, choose vitamin supplements that contain the rest of your dietary needs.

When vitamin supplements are paired with healthy eating, the result is a complete and balanced diet that keeps your energy levels high. Therefore, consume foods and supplements that help you feel good, and speak to your doctor for personal recommendations.

About the author

Lizzie Weakley

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