How To Maximise The Benefits Of Vitamins
Some people take vitamins even though their diet has all they need in it. Some people really do need them, but don’t bother at all. Our bodies need vitamins. Without them, our various systems don’t work anywhere near as efficiently and over time, cells breakdown and organs fail. It’s tempting to just make sure you are covered, when faced with the prospect of rickets or worse.
Multivitamin supplements for men have their place but with cheap easy access, they are often misused and supplements seen as harmless miracle cures or preventatives. It’s not as simple as that. But, if you have taken the decision to take a supplement, biology alone says it will be a waste of money if whatever you’ve taken can’t be absorbed through your gut into your bloodstream. Here’s how to get the most from taking a vitamin.
Take With Food
One of the most important things to remember is that vitamins are more effective when taken at mealtimes. Taking vitamins with food increases the rate and efficiency of their absorption since the enzymes that break them down to carry them across the gut wall are at their maximum levels. This decreases the likelihood of nausea, which is mainly down to taking supplements on an empty stomach. Certain supplements are designed to be taken on an empty stomach. Any nausea can be managed with a vitamin C rich diet.
Consider Interaction With Meds
If you’re on medications, you should be very careful about taking vitamin supplements. Work with your healthcare provider because vitamins perform differently when taken with certain meds. Sometimes, meds become significantly less effective but some have the opposite effect and amplify the effect of your pills. Either way can be dangerous.
A good example are the thyroid medications. When you take these meds and combine them with vitamins, both compete for absorption, which lessens their efficacy. If you really want to take both, they are best taken a few hours apart.
Learn To Differentiate Between Types Of Vitamins
When you start taking a vitamin supplement, you should first educate yourself about the two types – fat-soluble and water-soluble. Vitamin A, K, D and E are fat-soluble vitamins. They don’t dissolve in your body and have a tendency to accumulate over time and cause harm in some cases.
On the other hand, water-soluble vitamins don’t accumulate and excess is harmlessly excreted in urine. B-vitamins are water-soluble, and this list includes thiamine, folate, pantothenic acid, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and biotin. Vitamin C and vitamin B12 are also water-soluble and don’t build up in the body. You need a daily dose if you don’t have enough in your diet. Knowing which type of vitamins you’re taking will help you find the right dose as well.
Make Fat Soluble Vitamins Effective
As mentioned already, some vitamins are fat-soluble, and although if not all used can buildup in the body, it is sometimes still important to take them in a supplement form. In this case, you need to increase their absorption, and one way is to take them with fat.
You may notice a higher absorption of vitamin D if you take it with a high-fat breakfast. Try full fat yogurt, milk or avocados. But again, discussing this move with your healthcare provider is important because some health conditions can be aggravated on a high-fat diet.
Know When To Pair With Minerals
Generally, you get better results by pairing vitamins with minerals. For instance, you can take calcium supplements but increase their absorption by taking vitamin K and vitamin D. Similarly, if you’re taking iron supplements, you can pair them with vitamin C, as it helps increase the release of iron in the body. Vitamin C may also lower side effects associated with regularly taking iron supplements, such as nausea and constipation.
However, you can’t take all the minerals and vitamins together. For instance, you should avoid copper and zinc, iron and zinc and iron and calcium. Calcium inhibits iron absorption. Instead, opt for a multivitamin supplement with combinations known to not interfere with absorption.
Find The Right Time
Knowing how to take your vitamins is important but timing is just as crucial. Taking B vitamins in the morning is likely to work well because they get used up serving as energy boosters too. However, this is not true for all vitamins and minerals.
Some vitamin and mineral supplements make you feel sleepy, so it is better to take them in the evening. It is especially true if your multivitamin supplement includes magnesium, which is known to produce a calming effect. Depending on how much magnesium you take, it can make you feel sleepy almost instantly. Therefore, you may want to take it just before going to bed.
Take A Stronger Probiotic
Improving your gut health will also go a long way towards increasing the absorption of vitamins. Most people take a probiotic for better gut health, and if you’re doing the same, be sure to pick a strong supplement. The supplement you choose should come with a variety of bacterial strains.
You should also keep in mind that most probiotic supplements don’t work because the bacterial strains they have fail to survive the journey from your stomach to your small intestine. It is still a good idea to take a probiotic supplement because improved gut health will lead to improved vitamin and mineral absorption, but to be effective you need to pick the best probiotic.
Even though vitamin supplements are easily available on any supermarket shelf, you shouldn’t take them lightly. Vitamin overdoses are harmful, and can even be life threatening, just as being too deficient can be. To complicate things further, long term use is not advisable. It is always better to look at intaking vitamins naturally via a healthy well balanced diet. There are far more general health benefits than energy pills. Supplements are best used as stopgaps or boosts such as in pregnancy or during sickness and injury and through recovery. Using vitamin supplements as a long term solution to offset bad dietary choices is not the way forward for long term good health. But again, you can consider including them in your life when you’re a serious athlete, like you can find supplements for runners to maintain performance and fulfill their increased need for nutrients.