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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


If your Diet isn’t Perfect, You May Wish to Supplement

By Michael McBurney

For many people, dietary supplements are an important source of vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. The newly released 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans highlight the fact most Americans fail to consume recommended amounts of vitamins A, C, D, E, dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and choline.

Count them: 9 nutrients with dietary intake recommendations based upon sex, age and physiological state (pregnancy and lactation), If you include iron, often a shortfall nutrient for menstruating females, that makes 10 shortfall nutrients. If you include EPA and DHA, omega-3 which are needed to maintain the brain, eye, and cardiovascular system but the Institute of Medicine has not reviewed to date, the total count of missing essential nutrients is 12!

The truth of the matter is that most people do not eat a nutritious diet. We may try to follow MyPlate recommendations for food groups - fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy- and too often fail. For many reasons – time, cost, food availability (both in the pantry/fridge at home and restaurant choices in proximity outside the home), and individual food preferences.

Dietary supplements help fill micronutrient gaps. Everyone needs to be encouraged to consume more fruits and vegetables.  A balanced diet, rich in variety, can provide our bodies with an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals. Choosing fortified foods helps even more.

But don’t forget, people using dietary supplements are more likely to make more nutritious food choices.

Our bodies need vitamins, minerals and omega-3s to function properly. One option to help obtain essential vitamins and minerals is to use dietary supplements.


US Department of Health and Human Services and US Department of Agriculture. 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available at

Wu C-H, Wang C-C, Kennedy J. The prevalence of herb and dietary supplement use among children and adolescents in the United States: Results from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey 2013 Complement Therapies Med doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2013.05.001

Dwyer J, Nahnin RL, Rogers GT, Barnes PM, Jacques PM, Sempos CT, Bailey R. Prevalence and predictors of children’s dietary supplement use: the 2007 National Health Interview Survey. 2013 Am J Clin Nutr doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.052373