HomeAnswersDo vitamin supplements work?

Do vitamin supplements work?

This question is about Nutrition
Sarah Achleithner
Yes, vitamin supplements can work, though success may be dependent on diet, medications, nutritional deficiencies, and lifestyle preferences, as well as the quality and efficacy of the supplement product [3]. 
Research has shown that taking vitamin D, magnesium, and calcium supplements may eliminate some nutrient deficiencies [1, 2]. Additionally, supplementing with alpha lipoic acid has been shown to be beneficial for cholesterol reduction, and vitamin C may reduce the duration of cold symptoms [4,5]. Moreover, folic acid decreases the risk of neural tube defects, whereas omega-3 fatty acids might help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease [6,7]. 
To maximize the effectiveness of your supplements, look for a personalized supplement service, underpinned by science, that conducts third-party testing on their product (e.g. Elo!). Supplement needs vary wildly from person to person, and what is best for you is unlikely to be the same as what is right for someone else. 
At Elo, our Smart Supplement service marries at-home biomarker testing, the latest nutrition research, expert 1:1 coaching to provide exactly the right supplements for you at the right dose. Learn more here.
Herbal supplements in a jar and on wooden spoons


  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2019, January). Using dietary supplements wisely. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/using-dietary-supplements-wisely.  
  2. Blumberg, J. B., Frei, B. B., Fulgoni, V. L., Weaver, C. M., & Zeisel, S. H. (2017). Impact of Frequency of Multi-Vitamin/Multi-Mineral Supplement Intake on Nutritional Adequacy and Nutrient Deficiencies in U.S. Adults. Nutrients, 9(8), 849. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9080849 
  3.  Elo - nutrition with precision.(n.d.) Elo Health.https://www.elo.health/ 
  4. Baziar, N., Nasli-Esfahani, E., Djafarian, K., Qorbani, M., Hedayati, M., Mishani, M. A., Faghfoori, Z., Ahmaripour, N., & Hosseini, S. (2020). The beneficial effects of alpha lipoic acid supplementation on LP-PLA2 mass and its distribution between HDL and Apob-containing lipoproteins in type 2 diabetic patients: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2020, 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/5850865 
  5. Hemilä, H., & Chalker, E. (2013). Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2013(5). https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.cd000980.pub4 
  6. He, Y., Pan, A., Hu, F. B., & Ma, X. (2016). Folic acid supplementation, birth defects, and adverse pregnancy outcomes in Chinese women: A population-based mega-cohort study. The Lancet, 388. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0140-6736(16)32018-9 
  7. Mohebi-Nejad, A., & Bikdeli, B. (2014). Omega-3 supplements and cardiovascular diseases. Tanaffos, 13(1), 6–14.