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Vitamins and Supplements: What You Need to Know


The rows of choices are endless, but before you start taking over-the-counter supplements, pharmacists say, make sure you read the label. “A large misconception is because something is natural, that it’s safe which is not always the case,” said Kacie Brubaker, a pharmacist with Lee Health.

There are specific labels you want to look for on any supplement. “There are certain seals of approval on things that are available over-the-counter. The biggest one is the United States Pharmacopeia. They review the things that are available for their potency, their ingredients, so those are a little bit safer for people to take,” said Brubaker.

There are also words you want to avoid. “There are certain things to watch out for: if something claims that it is the best, it’s going to give you fast results, it’s going to give you a quick fix, those are things you want to steer clear of,” she said.

And when it comes to reading the label make sure you know what ingredients are being used. “Often people are taking other medications, either over-the-counter or prescription, or they have disease states that interact with the vitamins and supplements. It really is patient-specific,” said Brubaker.

But depending on your health conditions, your diet, and lifestyle, health experts say you may not even need supplements. “If you are on a balanced diet and you are taking a bunch of vitamins every day you are basically paying to have really expensive urine, because if you have too much of this stuff, you’re not doing anything with it it’s just cycling through your body,” explained Brubaker.

Pregnant women, nursing mothers, strict vegetarians, people with food allergies, and senior citizens typically need to be taking supplements to improve or maintain their health.

Before you start taking a supplement, it’s important to talk to your doctor and know what you want to get out of the supplement.

View More Health Matters video segments at LeeHealth.org/Healthmatters/

Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health – Caring People. Inspiring Care.

Visit LeeHealth.org

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Dietary Supplements: What You Need to Know


Where can you get reliable information on vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements? Wonder which ones might or might not be good for you, and which are safe to take? This 2-minute video tells you where you can find answers to your questions. It features experts from the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institutes of Health. The ODS website has reliable, science-based information on dietary supplements for both consumers and health professionals. Information on the website is primarily in English, with many fact sheets for consumers available in Spanish. Visit the ODS website:

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The Difference Between Vitamins and Supplements


Vitamins or supplements? It’s a question pharmacist Kacie Brubaker gets all the time. “With dietary supplements, it’s really an umbrella term that contains vitamins, supplements, minerals, any dietary supplements, and it really refers to anything you are taking to supplement your regular diet,” said Kacie Brubaker, a pharmacist with Lee Health.

But she says there is a difference between taking vitamins and taking supplements. “Vitamins are natural substances that are required for your body to function normally and remain healthy, whereas your more traditional dietary supplements are not essential, they are to promote health in other areas,” she said.

While some patients may only need a vitamin or supplement for a limited time, others may need one long-term. Patients who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, for example, will often have a low vitamin B12—so it’s important they add that to their daily diet. “We want to make sure you’re getting enough, but we don’t want too much because certain vitamins can build up in the body and cause problems later on,” Brubaker said.

Before taking a vitamin or supplement, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor to make sure it won’t interact with other medications. Knowing what your body needs before you take a vitamin or supplement is important to improving your overall health.

View More Health Matters video segments at LeeHealth.org/Healthmatters/

Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health – Caring People. Inspiring Care.

Visit LeeHealth.org

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Should you take vitamins?


Make an appointment with Camila Passias, MD:
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Camila Passias, MD is a board-certified primary care doctor at Mount Sinai Doctors, seeing patients Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday in Brooklyn Heights. Trained in Boston and New York City, she is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and a member of the American College of Physicians and the Society of General Internal Medicine. She was awarded her medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at NYU School of Medicine. Prior to joining Mount Sinai Doctors, she worked for Gouverneur Health, a community health center affiliated with NYU School of Medicine. During that time, she served as a clinician educator with both residents and medical students. She has a particular interest in women’s health. Dr. Passias is fluent in Spanish.

Mount Sinai Doctors, located at 300 Cadman Plaza West, is a two-floor multispecialty practice with a walk-in urgent care center and more than 35 specialties, including Adolescent Medicine, Allergy, Cardiology, Dermatology, Diabetes Education, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, General Surgery, Infectious Disease, Maternal & Fetal Medicine, Nephrology, OBGYN, Ophthalmology, Optometry & Optical Shop, Orthopedics, Pediatrics, Pulmonology, Radiology, Rheumatology, Travel Medicine, Urology, and Vascular Surgery. The practice is located at 300 Cadman Plaza West, on the 17th and 18th floors, in Brooklyn Heights. You can make appointments online at or via ZocDoc at

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Thinking About Taking a Dietary Supplement?


Wonder whether you should take vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements? With more than 50,000 of these products on the market, do you know which ones might or might not be good for you, and which are safe to take? In this short animated video, the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institutes of Health introduces the ODS website–the place for reliable, science-based answers to your questions about dietary supplements. Information on the website () is primarily in English, with many fact sheets for consumers available in Spanish. This video is also available in Spanish: ¿Debería tomar suplementos dietéticos? ()

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Food and Vitamins and Supplements! Oh My! — Longwood Seminar


Every day a new diet trend seems to be in the news—along with an abundance of advice on supplements and vitamins, including which to take and which to avoid. This March 5, 2013, seminar aims to cut through the noise surrounding nutrition, vitamins and dietary supplements by providing the latest scientific evidence as well as advice for healthy eating and living a nutritious lifestyle. Learn more about the Longwood Seminars by visiting .

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Vitamins: do you need supplements?


Should we be taking vitamin and mineral supplements? There is, unfortunately, no simple answer. Registered dietitian Daphna Steinberg says that for most adults under 50, a balanced diet is the best place to start, rather than the vitamin aisle. Rather than trying to guess what’s best for you, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or registered dietitian to know for sure!

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