Health Supplements

Difference Between Suplements And Vitamins

Published at 01/17/2012 13:26:16


In these times of health consciousness when terms like suplements and vitamins are common knowledge; more people are getting into the bandwagon appeal of corporate pumped health furor rather than making conscious health choices in their lifestyle. One of the hot favorite topics among such circles is suplements and vitamins and anyone oblivious to some latest vitamin fad becomes an outcast.


Old civilizations like Egyptians had linked certain foods to cure vitamin related deficiencies without formalizing them into a separate category. During Renaissance, the need of vitamins was somehow felt more due to high incidences of vitamin related diseases. In 1749, a relationship between citrus and scurvy cure was scientifically proven but not much appreciated. Many similar studies were conducted after that but none was considered significant at that time. In 1897, Christian Eijkman, investigated the relationship between beriberi in chickens and polished/ unpolished rice.  After him, Frederick Hopkins found out that some “accessory factors" are also required for proper body functioning in humans as well. Both of them received Nobel Prize for discovering vitamins in 1929. Ancient civilizations had great knowledge of medicinal herbal use. Before 1990, FDA had tight regulations regarding essential food supplements. NLEA incorporated herbs and similar substances, but DSHEA in 1994 broadened dietary supplements category by including substances like steroids, enzymes, Ginseng, hormones, fish oils etc. This shows how broad the suplements and vitamins category is which will be discussed later.


A vitamin is an essential organic chemical compound obtained mostly from diet especially when the body is not able to produce it in required amounts. It does not include essential amino and dietary minerals that are usually required in small amounts. Vitamins vary in their biochemical structures and are classified by their chemical activities e.g. metabolic catalysts, growth regulators etc.13 types are known so far. These include vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, C, D, E and K. A supplement, on the other hand is made to replenish bodily needs by “supplementing” it with nutrients like fatty acids, minerals, fiber and even vitamins as individual diet may not guarantee sufficient amount of all required nutrients.Thus both suplements and vitamins are equally important for the body.

Tips and comments

As human diets, activities, medical histories, ages etc differ, so does the nutrient requirement which might not be replenished from daily food intake e.g. vegetarian and non vegetarians require different doses of supplements due to different dietary choices. A meat eater will require regular supplements than a vegan who needs to fill Vitamin B12 or iron deficiency by taking supplements that fulfill this deficiency exclusively. Here supplements prove worthy of your money. It seems that such formulations are the ultimate rational choice for a better health. It can be true but some side effects have been noted somehow when certain vitamins are taken in larger doses. The incidence of side effects was sharp in vitamin supplementation than those obtained from food. Side effects can be manifested as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Tendency to overdose all formulations was reported. Therefore, the ultimate source for Vitamins should be a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle and supplements be taken after a medical practitioner’s approval. Such a combination of suplements and vitamins can guarantee health and beauty beyond years.