Which Vitamins to Choose in an Online Supplement Shop
Do you feel lost when you walk into a vitamin store?
Do you spend hours researching a product on an online supplement shop, but you often don’t buy anything?
It’s easy to get lost in analysis paralysis when you buy supplements online. People need a guide that shows them how to order without fear.
Read this post to take the anxiety out of trying to buy vitamins online.
Do You Need to Take Supplements?
Do you need supplements to survive? Of course you don’t. Eating a balanced diet and exercising keeps anyone happy and healthy.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t use vitamins for better health. Nobody wants to suggest that you could take only supplements and survive, either. You can find the purpose right in the name: supplement.
No matter how hard we try, everyone has gaps in their nutrition. Do all supplements absorb 100% into your bloodstream? No, but the nutrition of everyone’s food isn’t what it used to be due to modern farming practices, either.
There’s strong evidence to suggest that you should consider taking supplements if you belong to one of these groups:
- Vegans or vegetarians
- Adults over the age of 50
- Pregnant or nursing women
- Children or adults with a nutritional deficiency
- People who had a recent gastric bypass surgery
- People with a disease that causes nutrient malabsorption
It’s nearly impossible to get enough vitamins from diet alone. You can absorb vitamin D, for example, from sunlight through your skin. Despite its abundance in the foods we eat and the sun as an alternative, most people in the world have some level of deficiency.
It’s standard procedure to recommend prenatal vitamins after a positive pregnancy test. With that said, while you’re nursing, you need to avoid supplements that your baby can absorb through breast milk.
Don’t allow high-pressure sales tactics or miraculous promises to lead you down the wrong path. Talk to your doctor before making any decisions.
Does the FDA Regulate Supplements?
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) doesn’t regulate the safety or quality of supplements in the United States.
That doesn’t mean that vitamins exist in a regulatory Wild West. The FDA does hold manufacturers to Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP).
With that said, there’s no guarantee that a product contains what it claims to have inside it. Some supplements even vary in dosage from pill to pill.
How Do You Know You’ve Found a Trustworthy Product?
There’s no legal requirement, but supplement manufacturers voluntarily allow third-parties to inspect their products. Look for a seal of quality from one of these companies:
- BSCG (Banned Substances Control Group)
Supplements that receive certification from one of these third-parties received testing for:
- Batch consistency
- Standardized batches
- Undeclared ingredients
- Drug contaminant testing
- Harmful contaminant testing
For athletes, look for products that state they’re NSF Certified for Sport. This certification guarantees your supplement doesn’t contain substances banned by most sports organizations.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor or Pharmacist
Before you add anything to your supplement routine, ask your doctor or pharmacist the following questions:
- How much should you take?
- How long do you need to take it?
- Are there any known side effects?
- Are there any foods you should avoid?
- When should you take the supplement?
- What brands offer the best safety and quality?
- Can you take it with your current medications?
- Does it absorb better as a liquid, powder, or pill?
- What does the latest research say about its benefits?
- Do you need to stop taking the supplement before surgery?
- Do you need to prevent disease or treat a medical condition?
How Should You Store Supplements?
Most supplements have shelf lives well beyond when you should run out, but they don’t last forever. After your vitamins arrive from an online supplement shop, make sure to do the following:
- Check the expiration dates each month
- Store your supplements in a dry, dark, cool place
- Avoid storing vitamins in damp environments like the bathroom
- Keep products in a locked cabinet or high shelf to keep children away
Essential Vitamins and Minerals for Men
Men tend to focus on macronutrients: proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. The essential vitamins and minerals on this list represent common blind spots.
Did you know that your body can store several years’ worth of B12? While deficiencies aren’t typical, there’s plenty of reasons to consider taking this supplement.
Vitamin B12 plays an essential role in the creation of DNA, nerves, and red blood cells. Symptoms of a lack of B12 may include:
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Memory problems
- Neurological changes
- Difficulty with balance
If you’re on a vegan or vegetarian diet, you’re at higher risk of a B12 deficiency. Natural foods rich in the vitamin include:
The average man should shoot for a goal of 2.4 mg daily.
You may have heard this called the “sunshine vitamin” because your skin absorbs it from sunlight. While most people associate this vitamin with bone strength, research shows benefits for men may include:
- Heart health
- Cancer prevention
- Diabetes prevention
- Increased testosterone levels
You get vitamin D from fewer foods than others, but fatty fish like salmon provide a good source. Foods with dairy or cereals contain more of this vitamin than other food products.
Most men choose a 600 – 800 IU D3 supplement to take with their multivitamin.
Iodine regulates hormones inside our bodies, so it’s responsible for a variety of your body’s necessary functions. This vitamin plays a role in controlling your metabolism, but it may promote immune health also.
If you don’t have enough iodine, you’re at risk of developing a goiter. A goiter’s not only an ugly enlargement of your thyroid gland, but it can also obstruct your airway or cause nerve damage. A deficiency can also lead to wild weight swings.
Iodine’s easy to find in most diets. Foods high in iodine include:
- Table salt
- Enriched bread
Men should try to get 150 mcg of iodine every day.
Iron provides an essential function for our bodies: it carries oxygen in the bloodstream. Most of the iron in your body exists in the hemoglobin in your blood, where it distributes oxygen wherever it flows.
Symptoms of an iron deficiency may include:
- Pale skin
- Chronic fatigue
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
It’s not difficult to find foods rich in iron on a Western diet. Excellent sources of iron from food include:
- Dark chocolate
- Beans or legumes
- Dark green vegetables
Most men should try to get around 8 mg of iron every day.
Zinc’s fundamental to DNA synthesis, cell growth, and cell division. You need this mineral to help with healing wounds and supporting your immune system. A 1996 study even linked zinc to testosterone production in men.
The best sources from food include:
- Fortified cereals
People at higher risk for a deficiency include vegetarians and vegans.
Men should try to take 11 mg daily.
Essential Vitamins and Minerals for Women
Beyond the vitamins a woman needs for everyday health, it’s crucial to understand what’s necessary for pregnancy. Women have unique needs that shift priorities after becoming pregnant or going through menopause.
Vitamin B Complex
Women should consider a vitamin B complex to take with their multivitamin. Each vitamin plays a crucial role in a woman’s life. The eight vitamins you will find include:
- Thiamine (B-1)
- Riboflavin (B-2)
- Niacin (B-3)
- Pantothenic acid (B-5)
- Pyridoxine (B-6)
- Biotin (B-7)
- Folic acid (B-9)
- Cobalamin (B-12)
These vitamins provide the foundation for a healthy body. Most people may have familiarity with their impact on brain function, cell metabolism, and energy levels. When you pair this with a collagen complex, you may see improved hair, skin, and nails.
Other benefits women may experience while taking a vitamin B complex include:
- Better eyesight
- Better muscle tone
- Healthier brain function
- Increased energy levels
- Improved nerve function
- Better cardiovascular health
- Balanced hormone and cholesterol production
Can you have too much vitamin B if you take a complex with a multivitamin? Water-soluble vitamins like vitamin B don’t get stored in your body. Any excess amount leaves your body through your urine daily.
Calcium plays an essential role in your body, and you need it for the following functions:
- Moving muscles
- Circulating blood
- Releasing hormones
- Carrying messages from your brain to your body
Women should pay special attention to their calcium intake to avoid risks of osteoporosis after menopause. If you have a genetic susceptibility to losing bone mass, calcium remains your best defense against painful symptoms.
American diets tend to include foods rich in calcium. Food options high in the vitamin include:
- Dairy products
- Dark green vegetables
- Fortified bread and cereal
The National Institute of Health recommends adults aim for 1,000 mg daily. Most multivitamins do not provide this much calcium, so you’ll likely want to buy this supplement to take with your regular products.
Iron made the essential list for men because it’s crucial to basic bodily functions. The same remains true for women, but this has particular importance for females after puberty. Depending on where you are in your cycle, you may want to take more iron.
Iron transports oxygen through your body, and when you’re deficient, you may experience:
- Pale skin
- Severe fatigue
- Chronic fatigue
- Inability to focus
- Cold hands or feet
- Weak hair, skin, or nails
If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you’re at a higher risk of iron deficiency. Common foods high in iron include:
- Red meat
- Pumpkin seeds
Most multivitamins include around 18 mg of iron. Look for ferric citrate, ferric sulfate, ferrous sulfate, or ferrous gluconate types on the label.
Most women hear about magnesium concerning energy production or bone health. Other benefits of taking this mineral may include:
- Relieving sleep problems
- Producing DNA, bone, and protein
- Regulating nerve and muscle function
- Promoting balanced blood sugar levels
- Reducing stress and calming the nervous system
Most people find that they have a magnesium deficiency because they’re not eating the right foods. Foods that provide a quality source of magnesium include:
- Brown rice
Adult women should look for no more than 350 mg daily. Studies show that aspartate, citrate, chloride, or lactate forms absorb the best in your body.
Folic acid (or folate) gets most of its attention because it helps with fetus development. Women also use this vitamin for the following:
- Relieving inflammation
- Hair, skin, and nail growth
Foods rich in folic acid include:
- Dark green vegetables
When pregnant, women should aim for 600 mcg. Otherwise, find a product with methyl folate and plan for 400 mcg daily.
Online Supplement Shop Tips
When you buy vitamins online, don’t forget the following:
- Avoid free trials or gimmick products
- Research respected brands in the industry
- Read labels with a healthy dose of skepticism
- Don’t believe anything that seems too good to be true
- Take advantage of price matching and compare prices before buying
- Research the recommended dosage for any vitamin, mineral, or herb
- Read reviews from trusted sources before committing to a product line
- Schedule an appointment with your doctor before you make any changes
- Products with “proprietary blends” may have weak amounts of the active ingredients
No matter which supplement shop you choose online, you can use these tips to avoid common mistakes.
Need More Help Choosing Vitamins?
You’ve taken your first step into a much larger world by reading this article. You can research vitamins, minerals, and herbs for years and still have much to learn.
What do you do when you have more questions? Contact us today, and we’ll exceed your expectations for a supplement shop.