Are you interested in knowing the difference between vitamins and supplements? A healthy and balanced diet is necessary for our body to perform well. A balanced diet consists of multiple food nutrients such as proteins, carbs, fats, vitamins, and minerals in the right proportion. Failing to get enough of these nutrients organically or naturally makes us go for alternative options, such as supplements. People often think that supplements are just synonymous with vitamins only. But, the thing is, there is a difference between vitamins and supplements.
This article will explain how supplements are technically different from vitamins and why we need to know the difference.
What are vitamins? – Types of vitamins
Vitamins are micronutrients means the human body essentially requires vitamins in small concentrations. Our body can’t synthesize vitamins; therefore, we need to take a vitamins-containing diet. Some of the go shield vitamins with their metabolic roles are as follows:
- Vitamin A; you can obtain vitamin A from cheese, eggs, fish, milk, yogurt, green leafy vegetables, carrots, mango, papaya, and apricots. It strengthens our immune system and improves eyesight.
- Vitamin B complex is a compound of 8 vitamins. We can extract vitamin B from dairy products, meat, seafood, cereals, green vegetables, bananas, and citrus fruits. Vitamin B-12 is crucial for producing red blood cells.
- Vitamin C is an antioxidant and is readily available in citrus fruits and fresh uncooked vegetables. It helps in iron metabolism and provides strength to gums and teeth.
- Vitamin D is necessary to keep bones strong: sunlight is the best source to absorb vitamin D.
- Vitamin E is also an antioxidant that plays an important role in the formation of red blood cells.
What are Supplements?
The term supplement means “to complete” or “to make an addition.” Therefore, the role of supplements comes into play when our body is lacking in a food component of nutritional value.
Supplements can be in the form of powder or pills containing vitamins, minerals, probiotics, amino acids, fatty acids, or a combination of these (multi-vitamins). We can’t consider supplements a substitute for food. However, we can use them as supporting units to fill the gap in our diet.
What Is The Difference Between Vitamins And Supplements?
The major differences between vitamins and supplements are
- Vitamins are an organic component of food, while supplements can be a natural or synthetic product of nutritional value.
- We can take vitamins as a supplement along with other minerals, herbs, antioxidants, etc. There is also a difference between vitamins and minerals: minerals are inorganic elements, and their source is soil and water, unlike vitamins that we can only get from plants & animals.
- The types of vitamins include vitamin A, B, C, D, E & K, and the common types of supplements are vitamins, dietary minerals, flavonoids, etc.
- Vitamins are a mandatory ingredient for the human body. On the contrary, we occasionally need supplements like in case of some nutritional deficiency, pregnancy, older age (over 50 years), medical conditions (causing indigestion), surgery, etc.
Similarities Between Vitamins And Supplements
There are some basic similarities between Vitamins and Supplements, such as:
- Both vitamins and supplements hold nutritional value.
- Different metabolic processes need vitamins and supplements as co-enzymes.
- We can cure different diseases with the help of vitamins and supplements.
- Both are required in a suitable concentration as the excess or deficiency of either vitamins or supplements has adverse effects on health.
Why Is It So Important To Take Vitamins and Supplements In The Right Quantity
There is always a U-shaped curve in health that means if you are taking any dietary component in less quantity than required, it will have consequences, and the same goes with when you are having something in excess.
For instance, deficiency of vitamin C causes scurvy, dental problems, dry hair & skin, while the excess of vitamin C can result in diarrhea, heartburn, headache, insomnia, and abdominal pain.
Similarly, the excess of multivitamins and minerals can cause gastrointestinal disturbances, hair loss, fatigue, and nerve damage.
- Therefore it is important to consult a medical specialist before taking supplements.
We should know the difference between vitamins and supplements so that we can use them in the right way. A diet containing every nutrient in the right proportion is the key to healthy living!