How to optimize your daily supplement routine
As you walk down the supplement aisle, there is an overwhelming combination of vitamins – pills, liquid and dissolvable – that are meant to enhance your current intake.
But are these vitamins really necessary? Which ones should you be taking and when? Dr. Shaheera Kader, an integrative primary care physician and women’s health specialist at Aurora Health Care, opens the bottle on supplements and how to increase optimal absorption and benefits.
Should you take your supplements with food?
Fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K are recommended to be taken with meals containing healthy fats for better absorption. Water-soluble vitamins like B and C can be well absorbed on their own.
When should you take your supplements?
The time of day when vitamins are taken can make a difference. For example, magnesium has a relaxing effect and is best taken at night in the form of magnesium citrate or glycinate. B vitamins and vitamin D are best taken during the day as they have benefits on energy metabolism.
Should vitamins be taken together?
Vitamins and minerals can have an impact on each other. For example, vitamin C increases the absorption of iron.
Taking vitamin K and vitamin D with calcium is important for its optimal absorption into the bones and to prevent accumulation of calcium in the arteries or soft tissues which can lead to other complications. Calcium interferes with the absorption of magnesium and the two should be taken separately.
How much should you be supplementing with?
Dr. Kader also cautions that it is possible to take too much of a supplement. For example, excess amounts of Zinc can disrupt copper metabolism and high doses of iron could lead to an accumulation that could create adverse effects.
“Each person requires different nutrients and therefore may need different supplements,” says Dr. Kader. “For example, age, gender, health history and current medications all contribute to an individual’s need for supplements.”
While the vitamin itself is important, so is the quality of the product.
“The caveat is that the vitamin is not the end all. The quality of the product matters,” says Dr. Kader. “Make sure your vitamins come from a reliable source with good manufacturing techniques.”
Above all, it is best to try and obtain essential nutrients from your diet. And, it’s important to consult with your doctor about what supplements are right for you before beginning your own regimen.
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About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.