Supplement Dictionary: Know What These Terms Mean for Your Health

Supplement Dictionary: Know What These Terms Mean for Your Health

Ever struggled to understand certain words used by supplement experts? Well, we’ve created a simple and clear supplement dictionary for you!

If you’ve ever read a supplement bottle and wondered what “buffered” means, you’re not alone. Sometimes terms used in the health and wellness industry can fly over our heads. But we’re all here because we care about your health and your family’s too. As part of our continuing dedication to sharing knowledge with you about the nutrients you put in your body, we’ve created a list of terms — with the help of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) — that are frequently used by us but not well understood.

Supplement Dictionary


Amino acid: A chemical that helps create proteins. As molecules, amino acids help with many of the body’s functions, such as repairing tissue and aiding the digestive system.

Bioavailability: The amount of a nutrient that enters the body’s tissues after consuming it. If a supplement is bioavailable, it means that it should effectively be absorbed by the body.

Buffered: To lessen the impact of something. When a supplement like vitamin C is buffered, it means the vitamin is combined with “buffering” minerals like magnesium or calcium to stabilize acidity levels.

Carotenoids: A group of pigments that naturally occur in some plants, algae, and bacteria. They give fruits and vegetables their bright colors, like the orange in carrots. They are antioxidants.

Chelated: To grab and bond to. When a supplement is chelated, it means the mineral, like Magnesium, is bound to a chelating agent, like Glycinate. This is thought to improve bioavailability, or absorption.

Fat-soluble: Supplements that can be dissolved in fat. This means the vitamin is absorbed better when you take it with fatty foods, and as it’s ingested it gets stored in the body's fatty tissue and liver.

Flavonoids: Substances that naturally occur in plants like green tea and berries. As antioxidants, they help counter oxidative damage.

Fortified: When nutrients like vitamins are added to a food, it is fortified. Many orange juices in stores are fortified with calcium.

Oxidative Damage: Also known as oxidative stress, this refers to changes in the body’s cells that happen as a normal result of living (like being exposed to sunlight). Antioxidants help counter excessive oxidative damage.

Sustained Release: In supplements and pharmaceuticals, this means that the pill or capsule releases the content in the body slowly over time.

Water-soluble: Supplements that can be dissolved in water. After the body ingests the amount it needs, the rest is excreted through the urine. Water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body, so they need to be replenished regularly.

Now You’re a Supplement All-Star

Now that you know what these industry terms mean, you’ll be able to better understand what aspects of each supplement support a specific area of your health. To learn more about immune-supporting supplements, look into the different types of vitamin C we offer and what they best support. Follow us on Instagram @kalvitamins for more tips on keeping your family healthy and happy!

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