DEAR DR. BLONZ: I continue to hear that the vitamins in foods are superior to those in dietary supplements, but supplement companies claim that theirs are “whole food” supplements -- the same as what you get from food. : A vitamin is a vitamin, whether it comes from food or is made in a lab. If your question had been whether it’s better to get our essential nutrients from foods or out of a bottle, my response would be different. Researchers then isolated and described the needed compounds, which, after extensive study, joined the list of essential nutrients. However, science is still working on understanding how nutrients work together, such as how the ratio between two essential nutrients can also affect our metabolism.