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.

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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.


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