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Week 5: Dietary Supplements and Vitamins

Nutritionist and fitness guru Rovenia Brock -- aka Dr. Ro -- is back to give Farai Chideya some advice on the best way to incorporate vitamins, minerals and other nutritional supplements into your weight-loss regimen.

• Take a multivitamin that includes calcium, antioxidants and minerals.

• Don't rely on vitamins for nutrition -- the bulk of nutrients should be absorbed through food, because that's the most efficient way to nourish the body.

• When it comes to expense, brand names can matter -- get your vitamins from a reputable manufacturer.

• Don't take megadoses -- they aren't effective, and in some cases too much of some vitamins can be harmful. Stick to the U.S. government's recommended daily allowances.

• Phytochemicals, minerals and antioxidants are often marketed as a boost to ward off disease -- sometimes they help, but remember vitamins and minerals work in tandem with food.

• Some supplements work best in conjunction with another supplement that boosts effectiveness or absorption -- like calcium and vitamin D, and vitamin C and iron.

• If you're cutting down on foods like dairy or meat, remember to make up for crucial nutrients that may go lacking. Drink calcium-fortified orange juice, for example, or take iron supplements.

• Diet pills should only be used by those people diagnosed as obese, and then only under the advice of a doctor. Rapid weight loss is almost always detrimental to health, and diet pills can do serious damage to the heart and other organs if abused.

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