FAQ Minerals Deficiencies: Best Way to Take
6. “What’s the best way to take supplements—at the same time each day or spread throughout the day? In one lot or in divided doses?”
The best way may depend on the specific supplement, on your personal life style and if you are taking medication. Start by reading the “Suggested Use” as written on the vitamin or supplement label to ensure best results.
First, Talk to Your Doctor or Pharmacist
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before buying or taking any vitamin supplement, especially if you have a medical condition such as diabetes, hypertension or heart disease. Taking a combination of supplements or using them together with prescription medications, can produce unexpected results, some of which could be life-threatening.
Often supplements instructions are fairly specific: take “with or without food”, “with food” or “on an empty stomach”. Some supplements give you the choice of taking the full dosage all at once and when to take it. Morning may be better for your stomach. But based on your reactions or side effects, you may determine bedtime better suits you.
For best results, read the “Suggested Use” on the vitamin or supplement label.
Divide and Conquer
If taking a single dose multi-vitamin, it’s best to take it in the morning when your body does not have nutrients and requires additional energy in order to rise and then function. For best absorption, take with or close to breakfast so that it will be broken down, then digested with the food
Multiple dose vitamins are better absorbed or better utilized by the body if spread throughout the day.
Do a Little Research
The best time to take a supplement may depend on the specific supplement.
A case in point, take a look at the research on Vitamin D. The Cleveland Clinic found that vitamin D is best absorbed after your biggest meal, usually dinner. Research shows that those who take vitamin D after dinner display a boosted level of vitamin D in their blood, averaging 56 percent more than those who take it without food.
In another instance, research shows you should not take a Calcium supplement along with a multivitamin containing iron. The calcium may interfere with the iron’s absorption.
And while you take your multivitamin with breakfast, a supplement like Magnesium may be best taken in the evening, since Magnesium may support sound sleep.
For the optimum results, do some reading at the library or at a reputable website or two.
Talk to your doctor before taking any vitamin supplement, especially if you are on prescription meds. The combination can produce unexpected results.
Life Style Adjustments
You may have to adjust taking supplements to your particular life style, the demands of your job, your school schedule, etc.
For example, some instructions say to take the supplement in the morning. Others say in the evening, or at bedtime. ‘Morning’ normally means when you rise and get ready for your day, and evening means closer to bedtime. But what if you work the swing shift from mid-afternoon to midnight? In this instance, your “morning” (when you rise and get ready for your day) may be one o’clock in the afternoon, and your ‘evening’ may start at 2 am.
And what if your work schedule often includes skipping or delaying a meal? Taking equally divided doses throughout the day may become erratic. So, it may work out better for you if you take all your vitamins or supplements in the morning before you go to work.
Try to be Consistent
Since these are ‘natural’ substances and not prescription drugs, you usually don’t have to be overly careful about when you take them. But do try to be consistent from day to day.
Last updated: Wednesday, February 4, 2015
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