It’s no surprise that your closet is full of supplements. A 2019 survey has shown that 77% of Americans consume some kind of dietary supplement, such as vitamins and minerals.
But there are a lot of things you should consider before swallowing your pills. If you take supplements without a real plan or direction, you could make mistakes that will backfire over time. It is important to know what types of vitamins you are taking and, potentially, when you are taking them.
Here’s all you need to know:
Before you even get into the “what” and “when” of certain supplements, talk to your doctor.
Not everyone needs to take supplements.
“Ideally, it’s best to get our essential vitamins and minerals from a well-balanced diet because they’re more potent and better absorbed than supplements,” said Disha Narang, certified endocrinologist at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital. . But sometimes your doctor may find that you need a little extra help if you have a deficiency.
The Food and Drug Administration does not Monitor the safety and quality of dietary supplements like other medications, so it’s best to approach them with caution when adding them to your routine.
“The fact that the supplements are not approved by the FDA means that there is limited evidence to support their safety and effectiveness, as there is no oversight by the FDA or other agencies,” Narang said.
This is why it is important to speak to a healthcare professional about your particular case. They can recommend products that you really need and what to avoid, as some can interfere with other medicines and be harmful to your health.
Taking your vitamins at a certain time of the day will not improve their effectiveness.
Now let’s say that you have a deficiency or that it is recommended to take some dietary supplements. Awesome! So when should you take them?
Basically, it’s up to you. There is currently no scientific evidence to indicate that taking vitamins at a specific time of day can improve their effectiveness. However, “the key is to take your vitamins at the same time each day for consistency,” said Supriya lal, a New York-based dietitian.
That said, what you take your vitamins with – such as food or water does matter, as it affects how well they are absorbed into your body. Thus, the general timing of supplementation is not important, but the type supplements and what else you do when you take them.
Try to take water soluble vitamins in the morning.
Water soluble vitamins, like B vitamins, are not stored in our body. “Our body takes the amount of water soluble vitamins it needs to function and eliminates the rest,” Lal said.
These vitamins are best absorbed without food in the stomach, which means you can take them an hour before a meal or two hours after a meal. Lal recommends taking water-soluble vitamins first thing in the morning, as some B vitamins have been studied to interfere with sleep.
Take fat soluble vitamins with a snack.
Fat soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, and E, are stored in fat cells upon absorption. “A lot of foods – especially fruits and vegetables – are packed with vitamins A, E, and K, so most of us don’t need these supplements,” Narang said. Also, taking large doses of fat soluble vitamins can be toxic to your body.
For people who need to take fat soluble vitamins, such as vitamin D, they are best taken with food. “I recommend taking them with a meal or snack that contains healthy fats or oils, like avocado toast or cheese,” Lal said. Maybe that’s when you have a mid-morning or afternoon snack, or maybe with breakfast.
Time your multivitamins around a meal.
Multivitamins contain a combination of water soluble vitamins, fat soluble vitamins, and minerals, such as iron, copper, and calcium. Mineral intake can vary – some can be taken on an empty stomach, while others are recommended with food to prevent gastrointestinal upset, Narang said.
Since multivitamins contain water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins, and minerals, having one alongside a meal will increase the likelihood that the fat-soluble vitamins and minerals they contain will be absorbed, Lal said.