How to Order Food Supplements from the UK

Updated: 11/04/2023
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As a growing number of people seek to maintain good health and wellness, the use of food supplements has become increasingly popular. Food supplements can provide essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to help support a healthy lifestyle. In this article, we'll explore the benefits of food supplements, the different types available, and what to consider when choosing a supplement.

We're also here to help you order high-quality food supplements from reputable UK retailers with international delivery as we detail regulations and shipping restrictions. If you're interested in ordering vitamins, sports nutrition products, beauty supplements, and more from the UK, here's all you need to know.  

What Is Considered a Food Supplement?

A food supplement is a product that contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, fibre, various plants and herbal extracts, or other nutrients that are intended to supplement a person's diet. Also called dietary or nutritional supplements, they come in a variety of forms, including tablets, capsules, powders, liquids, and even gummies. These supplements are meant to provide a boost to the nutrients that may be lacking in a person's diet. 

What are food supplements

Dietary supplements are not a substitute for a balanced, healthy diet. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, adequate protein and healthy fats should generally provide all the nutrients needed for good health. However, vitamin and mineral supplements are very beneficial when prescribed for nutritional gaps and certain diseases.

Food supplements are intended to fill nutritional deficiencies, maintain adequate intake of certain nutrients, or support certain physiological functions. They are not drugs and therefore cannot have any pharmacological, immunological or metabolic effects. Their use is not intended to treat or prevent diseases or alter physiological function. 

Top Reasons for Taking Nutritional Supplements

While a balanced diet is the best way to get all the necessary nutrients your body needs, it can be challenging to achieve in today's fast-paced world. Busy schedules, personal preferences, and dietary restrictions can all make it difficult to get all the required nutrients from food alone. Taking food supplements can help fill in the gaps, ensuring you get the necessary vitamins and minerals.

Why people use supplements

As the wellness industry continues to grow, the use of dietary suplements has also been on the rise over the last couple of decades. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 58% of adults in the USA aged 20 and older take food supplements, while in Europe, almost nine in ten adults aged 18 or over have used a food supplement at some point in their lives. According to surveys carried out by the Food Standard Agency in the UK and National Center for Health Statistics in the USA, people who use supplements are more health-conscious overall and are more likely to have a higher level of education and income, a healthier lifestyle, and a greater likelihood to eat a healthy diet and exercise. 

The studies have also shown that the most common reasons why people take food supplements are to maintain their overall health, boost their immune system, and to have more energy. Respondents in these surveys have also pointed out filling nutrient gaps due to dietary restrictions and targeting health issues such as heart, digestive, and joint health as reasons to take supplements. Healthy aging and skin, hair, and nails are also among the top reasons for taking vitamins, minerals, collagen, and other supplements. 


Reasons for taking food supplements in USA, EU, and UK

The Different Categories of Dietary Supplements

There are different types of food supplements available, including vitamins and minerals, herbals and botanicals, and protein supplements. Vitamins and minerals are perhaps the most common type of supplement, and they come in different dosages and combinations, such as a multivitamin, which provides a combination of essential vitamins and minerals.

Herbals and botanicals supplements are derived from plants and include products such as echinacea to support a healthy immune system, milk thistle to promote liver health, and turmeric containing powerful antioxidants to reduce inflammation in the body.

Protein supplements, on the other hand, are popular among athletes and fitness enthusiasts looking to increase their protein intake to support muscle growth and repair. These supplements come in various forms like whey, casein, or soy protein.

Types of food supplements

If there’s one supplement you probably already take, it’s a multivitamin; and there’s good reason for that. According to nutritionists, everyone can benefit from a multivitamin. Considering how hardly anybody manages to eat a perfectly balanced diet, a multivitamin can fill in nutrition gaps by providing the recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals to support the proper functioning of the body.

Since the human body uses vitamins and minerals for such a wide variety of different processes, failing to supply the proper amounts of them can affect everything from focus and mood to energy levels. Some of these nutrients also fight against free radicals that contribute to a wide range of health concerns related to heart health, metabolic health, cognition, and more. 


Most popular food supplements

Vitamin D is gaining a lot of attention these days. And rightly so; an estimated one billion people in the world have vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency. Considering all of the important roles it plays in our health, from immune function to mood support to bone health, vitamin D deficiency is a rather big concern. A number of factors contribute to Vitamin D deficiency being so widespread such as people spending more time indoors or wearing sunscreen. 

How to Choose the Right Supplements

When it comes to choosing a food supplement, there are several factors you need to consider. Firstly, you need to make sure you choose a reputable brand from a reliable supplier, and it's essential to check the label to ensure it's free from any harmful additives or fillers.

Food supplements by age and gender

Besides, you need to consider the type of supplement you are taking and its effects on your health, as well as the dosage and frequency of use. Some supplements can interact with prescription medications, so it's crucial to consult with your healthcare professional if you're taking any medications.

Food supplements can be an excellent addition to a healthy lifestyle, providing the necessary vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that may be missing from your diet. However, it's essential to choose high-quality supplements from reputable sources, understand their potential effects on your health and safety, and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns.

How Food Supplements Are Regulated 

The regulation of food supplements in Asia varies from country to country. Some countries have strict regulations, while others have minimal regulations, making the control of the quality of food supplements in the region a challenge.

In Japan, the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare (MHLW) regulates dietary supplements under the “Foods with Health Claims” system that categorizes supplements based on the level of scientific evidence available to support claims made about their health benefits.

In China, the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) regulates dietary supplements. Manufacturers of supplement products must obtain a “Production License for Health Food” from the SAMR to comply with government regulations.

In India, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) regulates food supplements under the “Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.” This act lays down the criteria for the safety and quality of food supplements.

In the Philippines, dietary supplements are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA is responsible for ensuring the safety, quality, and efficacy of food supplements sold in the country.

In general, Asian countries prioritize the safety and quality of food supplements. As such, they require manufacturers to comply with specific criteria before their products are released into the market.  However, there are still challenges in enforcing regulations in some countries with less established regulatory systems.

Food supplements regulations

The USA regulates food supplements through the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA ensures that food supplements are safe, properly labeled, and manufactured in a way that meets strict quality standards. The FDA also regulates the marketing and advertising of food supplement products to ensure that they are not misleading or untrue to consumers.

The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) governs the regulation of food supplements in the USA and requires manufacturers to label their products appropriately and refrain from making health claims that are not supported by scientific evidence. The FDA has the power to remove any unsafe food supplements from the market and can issue warnings to manufacturers who violate regulations. 

The European Union regulates food supplements through various laws and regulations, including:
The Food Supplements Directive (2002/46/EC): This directive provides a framework for the regulation of vitamins and minerals used in food supplements.

  • The Novel Foods Regulation (EU) 2015/2283: This regulation establishes procedures for the authorization of novel foods, including supplements that were not previously consumed to a significant degree in the EU.
  • The Health Claims Regulation (EU) 1924/2006: This regulation sets out rules for the use of nutrition and health claims on food supplements and other food products.
  • The Maximum Levels Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006: This regulation provides maximum levels for certain contaminants and additives in food supplements.
  • The Good Manufacturing Practice Regulation (EC) No 2023/2006: This regulation sets out requirements for the manufacturing, packaging, and labeling of food supplements to ensure their safety and quality.

Overall, the EU's regulatory approach to food supplements is aimed at ensuring the safety and quality of these products while also allowing consumers to make informed choices about their use.

Ordering Food Supplements from UK Retailers

Read the ingredients

Make sure to read the full list of ingredients, especially if you have any allergies or dietary restrictions. You will notice it is divided into active and other ingredients. The active ingredient is the one targeting your health or dietary needs while all the rest of the ingredients serve different purposes like binding, preserving, or improving taste. They  do not increase or affect the therapeutic action of the active ingredient. Research any ingredient you don’t recognize or understand. Low-quality supplements can contain additives that block your body from absorbing the active ingredient. Often, a good indication of the quality of a supplement is the "free from” or "does not contain" information. In general, quality supplements are free from:

  • gluten;
  • wheat;
  • lactose;
  • eggs;
  • soy;
  • shellfish;
  • tree nuts;
  • peanuts;
  • artificial preservatives;
  • artificial colourings.

Check the dosage

More does not equate better. Although most food supplements are taken safely by many people on a daily basis, there is such thing as oversupplementing. For instance, while you may find Vitamin D in 10,000 IU, the safe upper level of daily vitamin D intake is 4,000 IU. Although Vitamin D toxicity is rare, it's still highly recommended that you stick to the recommended doses or consult a health professional before opting for higher doses. 

Check the bioavailability
Bioavailability is the proportion of a substance that is able to enter the body's systemic circulation and produce an active effect. In other words, it refers to the amount of a substance that is able to reach the target site in the body and exert its intended effect. For example, magnesium is available in many different forms, like magnesium chloride, sulfate, bisglycinate, taurate, or citrate, and each have different benefits depending on how well it's absorbed. 

Consider the cost
High-quality supplements made with responsibly sourced ingredients can be on the expensive side. Considering the fact that they take time to show results, it's important to opt for products at price points that you can afford long-term. 

How to order food supplements from the UK

With numerous UK sites offering various types of food supplements, there are a number of considerations to be made so before you purchase any vitamins, minerals, oils, or other supplements. In order to be sure that you're buying products that are safe, high-quality and deliver proven health benefits, only buy from a company that works within the UK law and choose supplements that are made to GMP pharmaceutical standards as they will have undergone stringent testing prior to being packed.

The GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) is a system designed to ensure that products are produced according to quality standards that apply to all stages of production, including materials, premises, and equipment and even the training and personal hygiene of staff.

There are many online UK retailers offering vitamins, supplements, and healthy foods where you will be able to find the right products based on your health and dietary needs as well as your budget. In addition to Amazon UK, other popular websites include: 

To have your orders delivered internationally by forward2me, simply use the free UK address as your shipping address when completing your purchase. You can also combine multiple orders in one shipment using our Combine & Repack option. Shop with extra peace of mind as we also offer free return to sender and a refund guarantee

Please note that in the UK, food supplements are regulated as foodstuffs so there may be shipping restrictions depending on the destination. Some countries may require specific documentation, permits or certifications for food supplements. It is important to check with the relevant authorities and follow their guidelines and regulations to avoid any legal issues.

Additionally, some countries may have restrictions on certain ingredients, such as herbal supplements or vitamins, which may be prohibited or restricted. It is essential to research and understand the regulations before attempting to ship food supplements internationally.

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