Do Supplements Actually Replace Nutrients in Food?

Do Supplements Actually Replace Nutrients in Food?

Nourishment from nutrients is essential for growth and the maintenance of life. There are seven main classes of nutrients that the human body needs to thrive—carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water.

Where is the best place to get these necessities of life? Keep reading to find out. 

Nutrients from Supplements

Supplements often contain (isolated) nutrients in concentrated amounts. These nutrients can either be synthetic in form or extracted from whole food sources. Generally speaking, nutrients in supplements are in a much higher quantity than those found in a normal food serving. [2,3]

Supplements are useful in maintaining optimal nutrient levels, which is critical to human health. For some people, supplementation is necessary to remedy or prevent deficiencies. 

On the other hand, studies have shown that most people just aren’t getting an optimal daily intake of essential nutrients. For example, one study done on a large group of American adults found that 45% had inadequate vitamin A intake, 15% for zinc, 46% for vitamin C, 84% for vitamin E, and 95% for vitamin D, all of which are nutrients that are vital for the immune system to properly function.[1]

Recent research suggests that the body can absorb some synthetic nutrients easier than its natural counterparts due to higher bioavailability, as well, though more research is needed. [4,5,6]

Nutrients from Food

In comparison, natural whole-food nutrients include things like vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and antioxidants from foods like fruits, vegetables, fish, dairy, beans, grains, and meat. These types of nutrients are essential for your overall health and wellness—from conception to old age. [8,9]

Ever see those cereal boxes at the grocery store that boast about their added vitamins and minerals? Some food products, typically fortified foods, contain extra synthetic nutrients like iron, calcium, copper, folic acid, or vitamin A for a little extra nutrient ‘zhoosh.’ [9]

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that you should be making “every bite count” by [7]:

- Focusing on meeting food group needs with nutrient-dense foods and beverages.
- Staying within calorie limits.
- Steering clear of foods loaded with added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.
- Sticking to the core elements that make up a healthy dietary pattern, such as: 
* Vegetables of all types: Dark green; red and orange; beans, peas, and lentils; starchy; and other vegetables.
* Fruits: Especially whole fruit.
* Grains: At least half of which are whole grains.
* Dairy: Including fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese, and/or lactose-free versions and fortified soy beverages, and yogurt as alternatives.
* Protein foods: Including lean meats, poultry, and eggs; seafood; beans, peas, and lentils; and nuts, seeds, and soy products.
* Oils: Including vegetable oils and oils in food, such as seafood and nuts.

    Is it better to get nutrients from food or supplements?

    Long story short—supplements are not intended to replace or replicate all of the nutrients and benefits of a healthy whole-food diet, such as fruits and veggies. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, your nutritional needs should be met primarily through your diet. [7]

    However, for those struggling with nutritional gaps or deficiencies, supplementation is a helpful way to fill in those lacking dietary areas. 

    Supplements can be helpful for [9]: 

    - Children and teens
    - People following restrictive diets
    - Pregnant and breastfeeding women
    - Older adults
    - People with certain medical conditions
    - Those who don’t have access to fresh and healthy foods

      Always consult with a physician if you are considering supplementation, before adding any new supplements to your diet. 

      When choosing and using your supplements, it’s critical that you: 

      - Check the label and read it carefully. 
      - Never take more than the daily recommended dosage.
      - Watch what you are eating alongside your supplement(s). Taking megadoses of vitamins and minerals can increase your risk of side effects, for instance—the consumption of both fortified foods and dietary supplements may lead to an excess of certain nutrients, which can throw certain bodily processes out of whack. [10]
      - Always stay in contact with your doctor if you ever have any questions or concerns. 

        Where do I start?

        What is the number one supplement that people turn to for added nutrition? 

        Daily Multivitamins

        Multivitamins should contain optimal amounts of both vitamins and minerals to support the body’s general wellness. However, most supplement brands opt for unnatural ingredients manufactured outside of the USA because they are cheaper, which makes shopping for a high-quality multivitamin not only confusing but mind-bending. 

        So, what on earth should you be searching for? A multivitamin that:

        1. Offers at least 18 to 19 essential nutrients for premium general wellness support.
        2. Has natural ingredients (manufactured within the USA and sustainably sourced) that are clean, safe, and effective.
        3. Vitamins and minerals formulated without the use of fillers, binders, or preservatives.
        4. Contains an optimal, potent dosage in a carefully crafted formula that is vegan-friendly, non-GMO, gluten-free, and dairy-free (to adhere to any dietary restrictions). 

        No need to fret, though, because you don’t have to look very far. 

        Queue Pattern Wellness Daily Multi. Choosing the right multivitamin shouldn’t have to be scary or such a pain. Our line of natural products believes in the simplicity and power of pure ingredients, which is why we made sure you won’t have to worry about nasties like fillers or binders.

        Curious about other supplements that can benefit your health and wellness? Click here to check out our shop. Your wellness is our priority. Shine, glow, and prosper when you choose our premium products!


        1. Reider, C. A., Chung, R. Y., Devarshi, P. P., Grant, R. W., & Hazels Mitmesser, S. (2020). Inadequacy of Immune Health Nutrients: Intakes in US Adults, the 2005-2016 NHANES. Nutrients, 12(6), 1735. 
        2. Ronis, M. J. J., Pedersen, K. B., & Watt, J. (2018). Adverse Effects of Nutraceuticals and Dietary Supplements. Annual review of pharmacology and toxicology, 58, 583–601. 
        3. Sacco, J., Dodd, K., Kirkpatrick, S. et al. Voluntary food fortification in the United States: potential for excessive intakes. Eur J Clin Nutr 67, 592–597 (2013). 
        4. Carr, A. C., Bozonet, S. M., Pullar, J. M., Simcock, J. W., & Vissers, M. C. (2013). A randomized steady-state bioavailability study of synthetic versus natural (kiwifruit-derived) vitamin C. Nutrients, 5(9), 3684–3695. 
        5. Chan, Y. M., Bailey, R., & O'Connor, D. L. (2013). Folate. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.), 4(1), 123–125. 
        6. Dainty, J. R., Berry, R., Lynch, S. R., Harvey, L. J., & Fairweather-Tait, S. J. (2014). Estimation of dietary iron bioavailability from food iron intake and iron status. PloS one, 9(10), e111824. 
        7. Current dietary guidelines. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 and Online Materials | Dietary Guidelines for Americans. (n.d.). Retrieved from 
        8. Lentjes M. A. H. (2019). The balance between food and dietary supplements in the general population. The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 78(1), 97–109. 
        9. Kubala, J. (2021, May 26). Synthetic vs. natural nutrients: What's the difference? Healthline. Retrieved from 
        10. Engle-Stone, R., Vosti, S. A., Luo, H., Kagin, J., Tarini, A., Adams, K. P., French, C., & Brown, K. H. (2019). Weighing the risks of high intakes of selected micronutrients compared with the risks of deficiencies. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1446(1), 81–101.

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