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How to get the most out of your supplements

2 min read

If you opt to take vitamins and supplements on a regular basis you are proactive about your health and well being which is great but you could do even more by arming yourself with the knowledge of how and when to take them to optimise their benefits.

Best taken in the morning

B vitamins are a special family of water-soluble vitamins that are energy-boosting and stress-busting. The B vitamins include thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), vitamin B6, folate (B9) and vitamin B12. Though each of these vitamins has unique functions, they generally help your body produce energy and make important molecules in your cells. It’s been clinically proven that B vitamins can reduce the amount of stress you feel and improve your mood. What could be a better start to the day?!

Water-soluble vitamins absorb best on an empty stomach. That means taking them first thing in the morning, 30 minutes prior to eating, or two hours after a meal.

Best taken in the evening

Calcium and magnesium are important minerals that can help our bodies relax. The body uses calcium at night as it is a natural muscle relaxant. Research has shown that disturbed sleep patterns, such as a lack of deep REM sleep, have been associated with low levels of calcium.

Magnesium regulates the hormone melatonin, which guides sleep-wake cycles in your body, It also binds to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors. GABA is the neurotransmitter responsible for quieting down the nervous system and brain, by doing this magnesium may help prepare your body and mind for sleep.

Best consumed with fat

There are four fat-soluble vitamins in the human diet: vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin E, and vitamin D. They are essential for health and play many important roles in the body. The optimal time to take fat-soluble vitamins is with your evening meal. Fat-soluble vitamins are dissolved in our bodies using fats and then carried into the bloodstream to perform essential functions.

Friends and foes

Calcium and iron can inhibit absorption of each other up to five-fold so they are best taken at different times of day.  Iron actually absorbs best on an empty stomach and obviously can’t absorb properly if you’ve recently eaten calcium rich food such as dairy. On the reverse side, Vitamin C and iron work in synergy with each other and taking them together improves absorption. So why not try washing down an iron supplement with a glass of orange juice to increase the benefits.

Never wash down with a cuppa

Polyphenols in many beverages greatly inhibits absorption of vitamins and minerals so rather take your supplements with a good old glass of water.

While its quicker and easier to knock back all your supplements in one go (when you remenber!) you'll see much better results by following these top tips.

A healthy balanced diet is the best way to consume all the nutrients we need. Sometimes however this isn't possible and then supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying any supplements or herbal medicines.