The Truth About What's Really In Vitamin Supplements

Supplements are a diet's best friend. The colorful bottles on pharmacy shelves have come to be an easy fix. If we're missing nutrients in our food, we can buy them in capsules. But should we? Are there added ingredients? Will the gummies be safe for the kids? So many questions arise, but we're here to answer them. Let's uncover the truth, so you can define what is best for your family.

The HealthStart Foundation divides nutrients into two categories: macros and micros. Macronutrients come from the main food groups plus water. Meanwhile, micronutrients are vitamins and minerals the body requires for optimal health. People with specific conditions like pregnant women, children with deficiencies, or vegetarians may need more nutrients than the average person (via Healthline).

Essential vitamins and minerals absent from a balanced diet must come from another source, so we supplement them. Experts at Healthline note powders, tinctures, and capsules are convenient supplements to take daily. All of this said, vitamin supplements contain ingredients you may not expect from a health-boosting alternative. 

The ingredients may surprise you

Maltodextrin. Citric acid. Soy lecithin. You may have seen similar ingredients listed on labels. According to Healthline, these are a few of the most common fillers. Others may include cellulose, gelatin, or silicon dioxide. This is an area of concern because, as WebMD writes, compounds like maltodextrin may adversely affect gut bacteria and rapidly increase blood sugar.

Inorganic supplements, whether in pill form, capsules, powder, or tincture may include flavoring and additives to preserve the shelf life of the product (via Healthline). When shopping for the highest quality vitamins, begin by asking health professionals for advice. Secondly, never cease checking nutrition labels for ingredients that include fillers and flavorings. However, know that supplements cannot fully guarantee quality or effectiveness. According to the National Institutes of Health, supplements do not undergo as rigorous testing compared to medications. Moreover, the FDA may pull any products found to be unsafe.

Supplements complement a balanced diet to provide essential nutrients. By and large pills, capsules, and powder supplements have additives including flavors, preservatives, or fillers. Reading nutrition labels and researching ingredients is desired when choosing new supplements. Overall, consulting health professionals for suggestions may be best.