Supplements are generally regarded as the catalyst that provides specific nutrients. Dietary and food supplements contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, or amino acids essential for life.

A supplement provides nutrients extracted from food sources or that are synthetic. Despite their similarities, let’s look at where the line is drawn and the various components.

What is a Food Supplement?

A food supplement is a concentrated nutrient source or other substances with a nutritional or physiological effect. The main purpose of food supplements is to curb nutritional deficiency. They don’t pose any pharmacological, immunological, or metabolic action, so their usage cannot treat or prevent diseases or modify physiological functions.

What is a Dietary Supplement?

Dietary supplements are substances used in place of diet to provide certain desired results. Liquid, powder, tablets, capsules, and pills are some of the forms you find in dietary supplements.  

In other words, any vitamin, minerals, herbal product, or other ingestible preparation that is extracted from food sources that are added to a diet or supplements a diet is referred to as a dietary supplement.

What is the difference between Food supplements and Dietary Supplements?

There is no major distinction between food and dietary supplements as they provide essential nutrients, fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins necessary to augment the diet. 

The most important thing here is that dietary supplement is often extricated from food sources into different forms but serves the same purpose.

What are the Similarities Between Food Supplements and Dietary Supplements?

We have just established that the difference between these two important elements is not much. One is an extract of the other, but they serve the same purpose.

In USA and Canada, a dietary supplement is considered a subset of food and is regulated accordingly. The food and drug board indicated that dietary supplements are not to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease as done by drugs. 

The analogy between these two is in the nutrient composition. These are proteins, amino acids, essential fatty acids, probiotics, and natural products

  1. Vitamins

Vitamin A, B [thiamine B1, Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Pantothenic Acid (B5), Vitamin B6, Biotin (B7), Folate (B9) and Vitamin B12], C, D, E, and K are the main forms of vitamins in supplements.

  1. Minerals 

Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese, copper, iodine, chromium, molybdenum, selenium, and cobalt can be taken as dietary supplements. They are very ubiquitous in food.

  1. Proteins

They are chains of amino acids that perform regulatory functions and metabolic functions in the body. With the right amount, people can recover from illness and injury. It can also be taken for strenuous physical activity. 

Whey protein, casein protein, egg protein, pea protein, hemp protein, brown rice protein, etc., are a few types of protein supplements. 

  1. Essential fatty Acids(EFA)

These polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are essential for health but cannot be produced by the body. Thus, they must be obtained through diet. The two families of EFA are omega-3 (ω-3) and omega-6 (ω-6).

  1. Probiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria that improve one’s health when ingested or administered topically. Probiotics speed up digestion.  Yogurt and other fermented foods, nutritional supplements, and cosmetics contain probiotics.


There you have it. The difference between dietary and food supplements is little. A dietary supplement gives the body critical nutrients, known as a food supplement.  Some of these nutrients are vitamins, dietary vitamins, proteins, amino acids, fatty acids, probiotics, and other bodybuilding supplements.


1. “What Is a Dietary Supplement?” Quality Supplements, 22 Sept. 2016, Available Here

2. “What is the Difference Between Food Supplement and Dietary Supplement”, 31 Jan. 2019.

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