Nutritional needs of a body should be met through a healthy and balanced diet. However, for most people, it is not possible to be cautious about their food and eating habits due to strict work schedules or lack of knowledge. Supplements help by providing essential nutrients to the body. However, against common belief, food supplements are not in any way comparable to or substitutes for food. This is mainly because food supplements can not at the same time replicate all the nutrients that your body requires. So if a person is generally healthy and eats a wide variety of foods (that is inclusive of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, legumes, lean meats and fish, etc.), it is likely that the person does not need additional supplements to take care of his bodily nutritional needs. There are certain situations wherein it is next to impossible to enjoy a meal and be confident that the meal will certainly present all the nutrients that are required by the body.

Also, there are certain cases wherein dietary guidelines recommend supplements to be taken along with regular food intake. These situations generally arise in the case of pregnant women, adults of the age of 50 and older, persons with special dietary needs due to a prolonged illness, kids who are malnourished, and other such cases.

In any situation, if a person decides to take vitamin or mineral supplements, it is essential that he / she considers some essential factors before going ahead. In the age where internet makes it extremely easy to get health supplements online, it is prudent to observe caution before blindly taking up certain health supplements based on someone else's review of the product.

Check Label
When buying health supplements online or from a physical store, make sure you check carefully the label, the active ingredients, the serving size, and the amount of nutrients in each serving.

Dosage
Typically, the dosage is stated on the cover. It is however, advisable to consult a physician for the exact dosage that is apt for you.

Manufacturing and Expiration Dates
Dietary supplements or Health Supplements are tested for quality and have a timeline stated on them that states the time of manufacture. These supplements are prone to lose potency with time, especially when kept in adverse temperature and humidity conditions. Therefore it is essential that one checks the expiration date before buying health supplements and discards them if they've passed their expiration date.

Supplemental Diet
When taking Health Supplements, it is essential that you follow a diet that supplements the supplements so as to accentuate the efforts of the supplement. Taking more or less than the prescribed nutrients can have adverse effects on the body.

These guidelines when followed strictly can bring immense benefits to a person taking health supplements of all kinds.