Supplements and vitamins can be confusing. You’re told to take them every day but you’re left in the dark when it comes to timing and combining. When is the right time of day to take my supplement? Do I have to eat when taking this? Is it OK to combine and take multiple vitamins at once? Just as important as it is to know what you’re putting inside your body, it’s equally as important to understand how (and when) to do it.
Vitamins, minerals and other nutrients require certain body conditions in order to be effectively absorbed and utilized by the body. Here are some basic guidelines to follow:
Take with a meal. They can interfere with certain medications, so check with your doctor or pharmacist if you’re on prescription drugs.
Take with your largest meal of the day (be sure to includs some type of healthy fat, such as avocado or olive oil). Take with calcium.
Take two to three times a day, with meals. Vitamin C lasts only a few hours in the bloodstream and should be replaced throughout the day. Avoid taking before vitamin C before bedtime.
Combine with a calcium supplement and take with a meal.
While calcium carbonate can be taken with a meal, calcium citrate can be taken with or without. Calcium is best absorbed when taken in doses of 500 mg. If you take 1,000 mg, divide it into two doses at different times of the day.
Take on an empty stomach, one hour before or two hours after eating a meal. If it upsets your stomach, take it with a small amount of food. Iron is not well absorbed with fiber.
Take first thing in the morning or just before bedtime with a full glass of water.
Best taken with a meal and combined with folic acid.
Take on an empty stomach. If it upsets your stomach, take it with a small amount of food. Do not combine zinc with iron or calcium supplements.
Take during, or just before or after a meal. Do not take within two hours of taking antibiotics.
Take on an empty stomach, just before eating.
Take with a meal. If you’re on blood-thinning medication, consult with a physician as high doses may increase the risk of bleeding.
Take a half-hour before or after working out.
Take on an empty stomach.