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Vitamins and Supplements: What You Need to Know: April 7, 2019

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.


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