Are You Taking Your Supplements Correctly?

Yes, there’s a right time for each pill

Many of us are so used to taking our health supplements in the morning that it’s become a ritual we don’t give much thought to. But did you know that some of them, such as mineral supplements like calcium, are better taken at night?

What also matters is whether you take them on an empty stomach or after a meal, as that can impact how effectively the nutrients are being absorbed.

Here’s how to get your body to make the best use of the vitamins you’ve spent good money on - read on for everything you need to know.

For morning

Iron: Best taken on an empty stomach. Avoid washing this down with tea or coffee as the caffeine and tannins can affect absorption. Also, don’t take it with calcium, which inhibits iron absorption.

Vitamin C: Only lasts a few hours in the bloodstream so it’s best taken in time-release form, or in split doses throughout the day.

B vitamins: Take them first thing in the morning with breakfast to boost and maintain energy levels, and start the day well.

Vitamin E: Best absorbed when dietary fats are present - for example, milk in cereal, nuts, yoghurt or avocado.

For morning/afternoon

Coenzyme Q10: Oil-based Q10 supplements are better absorbed when dietary fats are present. Take with breakfast or lunch to avoid negative influences on sleep.

Zinc: Have this in the afternoon with food as it can cause nausea if consumed on an empty stomach. Avoid taking with calcium or iron.

Iodine: Iodine can’t be stored within the body so a regular intake is needed. Some studies have suggested that iodine increases energy levels, so take it as a boost at midday.

For afternoon/evening

Vitamin D: Best taken with a meal and better absorbed if dietary fats are present. Some studies have found it to have negative influences on sleep, so take it earlier in the afternoon.

Vitamin K: Can be taken any time of the day, but is best taken with Vitamin D and C, and calcium. Absorption is also increased when it’s taken alongside a meal containing dietary fats.

Fish oil: Best taken with a meal to aid absorption.

For evening/night

Calcium: Studies suggest taking this in the evening because it is best utilised at night.

Magnesium: Since magnesium aids sleep, take this before you go to bed.

Probiotics: Best taken with water on an empty stomach an hour before meals to minimise interaction with digestive enzymes. 

Source & infographics: Healthspan

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