If you are like me, you do your best to eat right, exercise and to take your vitamins. You understand how important it is to take excellent care of your mind, body, and soul. You buy healthy food, you stay as active as possible and you buy high-quality vitamins.
You probably know that pairing oil with vegetables helps your body absorb all the good nutrients you eat and that combining cardio with moderate weight lifting is an excellent way to stay fit, but you might not know what to eat and drink to get the most out of your vitamins. But here are some suggestions!
1. TAKE THEM WITH FOOD
The digestive process helps the body absorb vitamins and minerals. Taking supplements on a full stomach aids absorption and also helps prevent nausea, a common side effect. Of course, there are exceptions – in this case, it’s iron. Take it on an empty stomach for better absorption.
2. HOW THEY WORK WITH MEDICATIONS
Vitamins and minerals can interact with prescription and over-the-counter medications, sometimes making one or the other less effective. For example, calcium may interfere with the absorption of levothyroxine, a thyroid medication. On the other hand, supplements sometimes help drugs work better. Studies show that antidepressants are more effective when taken with omega-3-rich fish oil.
The worst-case scenario: when supplements excessively amplify a medication’s effects. For instance, fish oil, vitamin E and gingko are natural blood thinners, so if you take any of them together with an anticoagulant, your blood may become too thin, raising the risk for internal bleeding and haemorrhagic stroke. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for guidance before starting on any supplements.
3. PAIR THEM
There are vitamins and minerals that work well together. Vitamins D and K2 help calcium absorption, and vitamin C helps the body absorb iron.
4. KEEP THESE APART
Some vitamins and minerals are best taken separately. For example, zinc and copper – in large doses – compete with one another, as do iron and zinc. Calcium inhibits iron absorption, so take iron in the morning before eating, and calcium in the evenings, when it can calm your mood. Something new to me as I always used to toss everything in!
5. HELP THEM WORK WELL
The live bacteria and yeasts in probiotics aid digestion and help nutrients to assimilate. Plant based digestive enzymes help with the absorption of nutrients that may normally get destroyed by stomach acid.
6. HOW TO STORE THEM
Where and how you store vitamins and supplements can also affect their potency. Probiotics should be shipped and stored cold in the refrigerator. They contain live cultures, so if they’re not shipped cold, they’ll be dead on arrival as a result. Omega-3 fatty fish oil, another best-selling supplement, should be kept in a cold, dark spot, as the pills are at risk for degradation from heat, light, and oxygen. If you tend to experience smelly fish burps from these supplements, store them in the freezer so they bypass the stomach entirely.
7. GO NATURAL
While studies of vitamin E are mixed, it is a powerful antioxidant and should be taken in its natural rather than synthetic form, if possible. This way your body will get more of the good stuff. Look for ‘d-alphatocopheryl acetate’ on the label, which indicates that it is natural; ‘dl-alpha-tocopheryl acetate’ indicates synthetic.
8. WATCH THE CAFFEINE
Your morning coffee may interfere with the absorption of vitamins and minerals and may also leach calcium from your bones. Minimise these risks by consuming no more than three cups a day, getting enough calcium plus vitamin D, and waiting about 15 minutes after your coffee to take your vitamins. Or wash it down thereafter with water which is preferred.
9. SCHEDULE THEM
B Vitamins tend to give people energy and are best taken at the start of the day. Other supplements can make you drowsy, so are best taken in the evenings. Magnesium, for example, has a calming effect so is best taken at night.
Stay active and healthy!
Check out my related post: Where is the best place to buy vitamins?