Guide To The Most Common Vitamin Supplements

October 21, 2023

Vitamin supplements are typically used to enrich an individual's diet and provide nutrients they may not get from their food. When using any vitamin supplement, it is essential to follow the dosage recommendations on the label. Vitamin supplements can affect the efficacy of some prescription medications. Thus, patients should always ask their doctor before taking supplements. Some individuals who use vitamins experience side effects such as nausea, bloating, gas, and stomach cramps. If these occur, patients should discontinue the vitamin and inform their healthcare team.

Vitamin supplements treat and prevent many conditions. For instance, patients may take vitamin D supplements to lower their risk of fractures and conditions like depression. Calcium supplements may help in osteoporosis treatment and prevention. Vitamin C tablets appear to help with many skin and wound issues. The choice of supplement depends on an individual's needs. However, there are some common vitamin supplements that most individuals are currently taking or have considered before.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and antioxidant that helps protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. It is used to build a protein that makes and repairs skin, ligaments, tendons, and blood vessels throughout the body. Vitamin C is involved in the healing of wounds and the formation of scar tissue. It also helps repair bones, teeth, and cartilage. Since vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, it is not stored by the body. Thus, patients need to take regular doses of the vitamin through food or supplements to maintain adequate levels.

Deficiencies in vitamin C causes symptoms such as slower wound healing, decreased immune system function, anemia, bleeding gums, and nosebleeds. Major health organizations currently recommend women who are nineteen years old and above take seventy-five milligrams of vitamin C each day. They also recommend that men need to take ninety milligrams per day. Since smoking depletes vitamin C levels, patients who actively smoke should take an additional thirty-five milligrams of this vitamin daily.

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Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps regulate the body's absorption of calcium and phosphorus. It is involved in maintaining the normal function of the immune system. Vitamin D also supports the growth and development of bones and teeth. Research has shown that having sufficient vitamin D in the blood could reduce an individual's risk of multiple sclerosis, influenza, cardiovascular disease, and depression. Studies suggest the vitamin may also help improve weight loss.

Although the body can make vitamin D through sun exposure, many patients are advised to take a vitamin D supplement to prevent a deficiency. Deficiencies in vitamin D are associated with fatigue and weakness or pain in the bones and muscles. Patients with very low vitamin D have experienced stress fractures of the hips, legs, and pelvis. For children, teens, and adults under seventy, experts currently recommend a daily vitamin D dose of six hundred international units. Individuals over seventy years old need eight hundred international units each day.

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Calcium is a vital mineral for the growth and maintenance of healthy teeth and bones. Adequate calcium helps maintain bone density, and it reduces the risk of osteoporosis. In addition, calcium is involved in blood clotting, regulating heart rhythm, releasing hormones, and sending and receiving nerve signals. Doctors often recommend that older adults take a calcium supplement to maintain their bone health. Calcium citrate and calcium carbonate are the two major forms of the supplement that are readily available. Of the two, calcium citrate is the most expensive. Patients can take it on an empty stomach or with a meal. Calcium carbonate is slightly cheaper, and doctors recommend taking it with food to maximize absorption.

Experts suggest a daily calcium intake of one thousand milligrams for adults who are younger than fifty years old. Women between fifty and seventy years old need 1,200 milligrams per day. All adults who are seventy-one years old or older need 1,200 milligrams each day. Doctors recommend taking calcium in doses of five hundred milligrams or less at one time for the easiest absorption. Calcium supplements could increase the risk of kidney stones in some individuals. Thus, patients may want to check with their doctor before starting daily calcium supplements.

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Fish Oil

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that form part of the cell membranes within the body. They are involved in the production of hormones that regulate inflammation, blood clotting, and the contraction and relaxation of the arteries' walls. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids attach to cell receptors that regulate genetic function. As essential fats, the body cannot manufacture omega-3s, so individuals must obtain them through food or supplements. Studies have demonstrated that omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent cardiovascular disease and stroke. They may also aid in the control of conditions such as eczema, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.

Fish oil supplements contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Patients often choose to take fish oil supplements to maintain adequate levels of this essential fat. Other than fish oil, some plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids include walnuts and chia seeds. Most major health organizations suggest a daily omega-3 fatty acid intake of 250 to five hundred milligrams for adults.

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Multivitamins contain many vitamins and minerals in a single supplement. Since they contain more than one nutrient, multivitamins may increase the potential for drug interactions. Patients taking sulfa drugs, diuretics, antibiotics, antacids, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should always ask a doctor or pharmacist if a multivitamin is safe for them. Pregnant women should also ask a doctor before taking any multivitamin. Patients should never take more than one multivitamin without consulting a doctor, as this could lead to an overdose.

Multivitamins need to be taken with a full glass of water. They should be stored away from moisture and heat. Overdoses of vitamin A, D, E, and K are associated with serious side effects, including back pain, severe headache, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and blood in the urine. Patients who notice worrying side effects or believe they may have overdosed on a vitamin should seek emergency medical care or contact poison control.

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Iron is crucial. It keeps individuals full energy and benefits their overall health. Unfortunately, low iron is incredibly common. It triggers symptoms such as falling ill frequently, concentration problems, and extreme and persistent tiredness. Low iron must be treated quickly, since when it is left untreated, many patients develop iron-deficiency anemia. This form of anemia carries symptoms such as hair loss, headaches, lack of energy, swallowing problems, and pica. Of course, this is in addition to any symptoms that appeared with low iron first. Many patients with low iron levels may try making dietary changes. In most cases, this includes consuming dark, leafy greens such as spinach, as well as chicken, red meat, nuts, seeds, beans, and fortified foods.

However, when dietary changes are not enough, many individuals will have to take iron supplements. Most individuals obtain these with a prescription, especially when they have iron deficiency anemia. However, they are also available over-the-counter. The only catch is that patients must ask the pharmacist, since they are stored behind the counter rather than with the other supplements. This is due to the risk of overdose. Thus, patients must ask their doctor before taking iron supplements and always follow their dosage recommendations. It is also worth noting that calcium interferes with the absorption of iron. Thus, patients must not take these supplements with any dairy products or with calcium supplements. Vitamin C helps, so they may want to drink a glass of orange juice with their supplement or take a vitamin C supplement at the same time.

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Vitamin B12

Many individuals take vitamin B12 supplements. This is for many reasons. For instance, the human body needs vitamin B12 to work properly. In terms of diet, vitamin B12 is primarily found in dairy products, meat, and fish. This is why individuals on a vegetarian or vegan diet need to take vitamin B12 supplements to ensure that they get enough of it. Their diet is often lacking vitamin B12 due to the restrictions. Taking these supplements is crucial to prevent and treat a vitamin B12 deficiency. Symptoms of such a deficiency include weakness, fatigue, numbness and tingling, balance issues, and anemia. In addition, many individuals take vitamin B12 supplements to help their hair, skin, and nail health.

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B-Complex Vitamins

B-Complex vitamin supplements are also quite common. As the name suggests, these supplements contain a variety of B-vitamins, including vitamin B12, vitamin B5, biotin, and vitamin B3. The majority of individuals consume enough B-vitamins through their diet, since they are found in many foods. However, some individuals may need more B-vitamins. The factors that impact this need include genetics, dietary choices, medications, and various medical conditions. This is one reason why individuals take B-complex vitamins.

Of course, there are more reasons why these supplements are so common. Many individuals take B-complex vitamins to boost their energy and to reduce stress. It is also worth noting that most supplements for the hair, skin, and nails contain many B-vitamins. Thus, some individuals substitute B-complex vitamins for branded hair, skin, and nails supplements.

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Zinc is a crucial mineral in the body. However, individuals only require extremely small amounts of it for their health. It is vital to know, though, that the body does not store zinc. This means that zinc is one of the minerals that individuals must regularly consume in their diet. Thankfully, zinc is found in fish, poultry, nuts, dairy, lentils, beans, and eggs. The vast majority of individuals get enough zinc in their diet. However, supplements help treat a zinc deficiency and its symptoms, reduce illnesses like the common cold, and treat Wilson's disease.

The factor that makes zinc supplements so popular, though, is their effect on the skin. Reports indicate that zinc supplements do two major things for the skin. First, it seems that zinc helps regulate sebum production, which means that an individual's skin will be less oily. Zinc has both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, which reduce the bacteria that cause acne and manage the red spots that acne leaves behind. Topical zinc is an option, although studies show that oral supplements are more effective. Of course, individuals must consult a doctor or dermatologist to ensure that they are taking zinc supplements correctly. This also helps them avoid side effects, such as nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, headaches, and diarrhea.

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According to reports, approximately fifty percent of individuals in the United States do not consume enough magnesium in their diet. This is unfortunate, since magnesium is crucial. Insufficient magnesium increases inflammation and, as a result, the risk of many conditions, including diabetes and heart disease. Individuals are also at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis if they do not consume enough magnesium.

In addition, magnesium has many health benefits. One of the major benefits is improving sleep quality. Research also shows that magnesium supplements reduce the severity of migraines. Magnesium supplements also pair well with calcium supplements to prevent and treat osteoporosis. Along with compensating for insufficient dietary magnesium, these benefits are why magnesium supplements are incredibly common.

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