From Drips to Drug Interactions: 5 Things to Know About Vitamins

By Wendy Bacigalupi-Bednarz, Editorial Contributor

Do you need vitamin supplements? Sometimes yes and other times no. Three Orlando Health experts help sort it out.

Should everyone take a vitamin?

Human bodies don’t need large amounts of vitamins, says Dr. Pamela Ponce, a board-certified pediatrician with Orlando Health Physician Associates. Many modern foods are fortified with vitamins, calcium and iron. Before turning to vitamin supplements, take a close look at your diet, suggests Dr. Benjamin Kaplan, a board-certified internal medicine physician with Orlando Health Physician Associates. Even a small diet change can boost your natural vitamin intake.

What’s a vitamin drip and does it work?

A liquid mixture of vitamins and minerals delivered through an IV infusion, drips may benefit people who are “severely vitamin deficient or have absorption problems,” says Dr. Kaplan. For general wellness, he doesn’t recommend them. Infusions carry more risks – infections, bruising, overdoses – than taking supplements by mouth.

Do my kids need vitamins?

Children eating a well-rounded diet probably don’t need vitamin supplements either, says Dr. Ponce. It takes a few picks from each food group for kids to get their daily dose of vitamins.

Are prenatal vitamins necessary?

If you plan to get pregnant or are pregnant, you’ll likely need prenatal vitamins, says Dr. Christine Greves, a board-certified OB-GYN with Orlando Health Physician Associates. Women should start prenatal vitamins three months before conception to boost folic acid, which helps prevent birth defects. After giving birth, moms may continue prenatal vitamins while breastfeeding or for three months if not breastfeeding.

Should I tell my doctor about the vitamins I take?

Yes, vitamins can interact with prescription medicines and cause side effects, says Dr. Kaplan. Always go over your medication and vitamin list with your doctor.