Dietary supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbs, and amino acids that can add a nutritional boost to a healthy diet. They may be taken for sports nutrition, as athletes need essential vitamins and amino acids to build muscle, to compensate for certain health conditions or by those who simply want to ensure they are getting proper vitamins and minerals in their diets.

Studies have found that use of supplements can aid in the prevention of heart disease and stroke, as well as contribute to brain health, eye health and bone health. Consistent doses of vitamins, C, E and three B-vitamins (B6, B12 and folic acid) significantly slash the risk of heart disease, according to the Council for Responsible Nutrition. Moreover, vitamins C and E are found to improve cognition and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease. A daily multivitamin regulates your metabolism, allowing your body to properly absorb nutrients to burn energy. In addition, multivitamin supplements enhance the immune system – as a result you are less likely to catch any illnesses, such as the common cold.

Despite these potential benefits, these supplements are designed to complement, not replace, a healthy, varied diet. If you eat a well-balanced diet you may not need a supplement; however, if you are postmenopausal, are pregnant, or a vegetarian, a dietary supplement will likely be appropriate. Talk to your doctor about the risks (too much of any vitamin can have adverse side effects), especially if you take prescription medications or have specific health conditions.