Supplements can be enticing because they offer a variety of benefits by just taking a pill or powder. The supplement industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. Supplements are available at grocery stores, pharmacies, health food stores, and on the Internet. Since there are so many supplements, it can be confusing to figure out which ones you need, if any.
Before purchasing supplements, you should determine if your diet is lacking in any particular area. I have always taken a basic multivitamin, but some people go overboard and confuse good health with how many pills they take.
Supplement manufacturers don't have to prove the claims on their labels. Many of them feature the following obligatory notice "these statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease". Unlike the drug industry, herbs and supplements are not closely regulated. I'm sure there are honest companies with quality products available, but there are also a those who sell useless garbage that is nicely packaged. If you end up buying the latter, just hope the placebo effect works for you.
Some body builders chose to use creatine, protein powder, glutamine, and other supplements as a way to ratchet up their results and give them an advantage, but if they are not already eating healthy food and exercising like they should, then it is probably just a waste of money. If you think a supplement is going to get you into shape or undo the results of an unhealthy lifestyle, then you are going to be disappointed. Remember what the word supplement means. It is not a replacement for food but rather a way to supplement your nutrition.
When talking about vitamin, remember that whole foods are more complete and beneficial. If you eat a balanced diet with a variety of foods, you should be able to cover your bases. If you decide to take supplements, check expiration dates and shop around for the best deal since some supplements can be expensive. Watch out for products that promise too much and sound too good to be true and buy them from a reputable company so you don't end up wasting your money.
There are obviously certain groups of people who are more likely to benefit from supplements. These include pregnant and nursing women, vegetarians, the elderly, and those with food allergies or intolerances. I am not against supplements, I just think people should make sure they really need them first before spending their money.