There are so many multivitamins and food supplements being sold to us nowadays. Never has the health bandwagon been so popular than during the past two years when we experienced a pandemic and needed to boost our immunity. Aside from choosing which ones to take and which brands to trust, there is also the issue of the best way to take vitamins and food supplements. There are things you cannot take together and there are nutrients that work well together in synergy. Learn more about this.
Nutrients from Food
The best way to nourish our bodies is still from food. We need to eat a balanced diet of fiber, proteins, and healthy carbs. That’s why eating a variety of healthy foods is still the best way to meet your daily health needs.
But despite knowing that, we cannot perfectly eat a balanced meal all the time because of different reasons. There is the lack of time to prepare, family budget considerations, and even the lack of time to eat (yes, it happens). We are running in a constant rat race that decent meal times with the family already seem like an unreachable luxury nowadays.
So what can you do about our lack of proper nutrition? We supplement with products that are concentrated with different nutrients. Read more.
What is the Best Way to Take Vitamins and Food Supplements?
If you are low or lacking on a certain vitamin or mineral, or just want to cover all bases, you will need to take a daily multivitamin and mineral (MVM) supplement. These tips on the best way to take vitamins and food supplements will maximize their effects and benefit your body the most.
You can take your multivitamin any time you prefer. Your body absorbs some of its vitamins better with food, so you may want to take it after a meal or a snack. You will also likely to prevent having an upset stomach. If you are not a breakfast person, have your multivitamin supplement with lunch or even dinner.
Taking Water-Soluble Vitamins
Water dissolves these kinds of vitamins and your body doesn’t store them. This means that water-soluble vitamins like Vitamin C and the B family should be taken daily. This include thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folic acid (B9), and cobalamin (B12).
You can take Vitamin C with or without food. This is especially true if you take the non-acidic Vitamin C form called sodium ascorbate that can be found in Bewell-C.
Meanwhile, do know that Vitamin B12 absorbs better with a meal. If you take vitamin C, put 2 hours between taking both of them. Vitamin C can keep your body from using or absorbing B12.
Taking Fat-Soluble Vitamins
Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble nutrients. They need to go with fat from a meal for your body to fully absorb and use them. But you don’t need a lot of fat for this purpose — or any saturated fat for that matter. The healthy plant-based kind you find in foods like avocado or nuts will do just fine in helping the body absorb these nutrients.
If You Take Iron Supplements
Iron is best taken on an empty stomach for better absorption. Take it with water or, better yet, a citrus juice because iron and vitamin C have a tag-team effect. If this combination makes you queasy, you can take them right after a meal.
But don’t mix iron with calcium or high-calcium foods, as these interfere with iron. You won’t take in either one fully. Men and postmenopausal women should skip supplements with this mineral unless a doctor says otherwise because the average multivitamin already has more than you need.
If You Take Mineral Supplements
Large doses of minerals can also compete with each other in terms of absorption. Don’t use calcium, zinc, or magnesium supplements at the same time. You can either have Vitamin C with Calcium, such as in Bewell-C Plus Calcium, for stronger bones. Or you can take the Vitamin C with Zinc combo that could be found in Bewell-C Zinc Plus Protect for better immunity.
These three minerals are easier on your tummy when you take them with food, so if your doctor recommends them, have them at different meals or snacks. Don’t take any individual mineral at the same time as multivitamin or antioxidant vitamin formula, like one with beta-carotene and lycopene.
If You Take Vitamin A
Watch the amount of what’s called the preformed vitamin A. If you’re pregnant, doses over 10,000 IU per day can cause birth defects. High levels of both A and the usually safe beta-carotene (a substance that the body converts to vitamin A) may raise your chances of having lung cancer if you’re a smoker. It can even affect those who are former smokers.
Prenatal Vitamins and Morning Sickness
Extra folic acid and iron supplements are very important for a healthy baby, which is why they can be found in most prenatal vitamins. However, some prenatal vitamins can make nausea worse, mostly because of the iron.
If this happens to you, pair your prenatal vitamins with a light snack before you go to bed. It may also be able to help you sleep well. Ask your OB-Gyne about the best prenatal formula for you.
Supplements and Prescription Medications
Even essential nutrients can interfere with many common medications. If you take a traditional blood thinner like warfarin, just the small amount of vitamin K in an MVM can cut its strength. Taking more than 1,000 mg of vitamin E per day can raise your risk for bleeding. And if you take thyroid medication, taking calcium, magnesium, or iron within 4 hours can cut its strength. Ask your doctor about how best to time it.
Keeping a Supplement Diary
The best thing to do in order to keep track of how much you food supplements you take every day is to log them in a journal.
The National Institute of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements has a form called “My Dietary Supplement and Medicine Record” that you can print out and fill in. Or you can just down everything in a small notebook. Bring it with you, when you go to the office or even for your travels. And when you visit your doctor for a checkup, bring your journal so that you doctor can check it, too.