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Vitamin and Mineral Supplements


Tell any doctor or other health care provider you visit what supplements you take.

Everyone has his or her own vitamin and mineral needs. Your health care provider can help you choose the right supplement for you.

We need vitamins to live. We also need certain minerals. Together, these substances, which are naturally found in food, help our bodies grow and function. At times, adding vitamins and minerals to your diet can give your body a boost. But supplements alone cannot provide all that you need to stay healthy. That’s why it’s best to eat a balanced diet.

Food Sources of Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are found in almost all foods. Yet each food has a unique makeup. That’s why it’s best to eat a balanced diet that includes all of the following:

  • Fruits

  • Vegetables

  • Whole grains and grain products (rice, breads, cereals, tortillas)

  • Low-fat dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese)

  • Lean meat, poultry, and fish; nuts or beans

Who Might Need a Supplement?

Supplements can be helpful for people who have special nutritional needs. They may also help people who eat small amounts or limited types of foods. You might need a supplement if you fall under one or more of the following:

  • I rarely eat a balanced diet. (A balanced diet includes vegetables, fruits, dairy, and grain products. It also includes protein foods, such as meats, eggs, and beans.)

  • I am pregnant or breastfeeding.

  • I am a vegetarian.

  • I am often on a diet.

  • I cannot eat certain types of foods.

  • I have dental or health problems that limit my diet.

  • I am in poor health or recovering from an illness or injury.

If You Take Supplements

  • Read the label to find out which vitamins and minerals a product contains. Make sure the product will not expire soon.

  • Store supplements in a cool, dry place, away from sun and heat.

  • Take supplements with food or at bedtime to help prevent nausea.

  • Eat a balanced diet to provide all the nutrients your body needs.


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