Hey Doc, What’s the Best Way to Take My Dietary Supplements?
By Dr. John Neustadt
I’m frequently asked what the best way is to take dietary supplements. Should you take them with food? Should you take them with or between meals? Should you take them with a specific type of liquid to wash them down?
In this blog, I clear up the confusion so you can make sure your body is absorbing as much of the nutrients as possible. Not only will that ensure you’re getting the best health benefits from the products, you’ll also be getting your money’s worth.
Read the Recommended Use statement
The Recommended Use statement on labels tells you how to take th product. This includes the number of capsules or tablets, how many times a day you should take them and if they should be taken with food.
Whether you take a dietary supplement can make all the difference in whether or not you absorb the nutrients. Some vitamins and plant nutrients fat soluble. This means they’re absorbed better in the presence of some fat. Those nutrients include vitamins A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Other non-vitamin nutrients, such as Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), as also fat-soluble. These nutrients are often combined, like in Supreme Multivitamin and Osteo-K.
Many nutrients are fine taking on an empty stomach. The real issue with most nutrients is whether or not you personally can tolerate them. Foods typically will enhance the absorption of the fat-soluble nutrients, but they don’t decrease the absorption of most other nutrients.
There are, however, some exceptions to that rule. They’re so specific that how to take them will be clear on the label. For example, some amino acids are better absorbed on an empty stomach. Therefore, you’d want to take those between meals.
The second thing with respect to dietary supplements is timing. People ask, “Should I take it in the morning? Should I take it in the afternoon? Is there an optimal timing to take my dietary supplement in?”
There are a couple of rules here to follow as well. If you’re taking an energy formula like Brain Blend, you want to take it in the morning to avoid having too much energy at night and having a difficult time falling to sleep. For supporting healthy stress levels and adrenal health, on the other hand, people should take some products, like Calm + Clear, as needed. Again, if special timing is recommended, the product label should clearly mention that.
How to take them
Typically, people just take dietary supplements with water; however, if you’re a tea drinker, and you drink black tea while you’re taking your supplements, you should stop. Black and herbal tea contain tannins, which bind to minerals and decrease their absorpiton. For example, high-potency Supreme Multivitamin and the iron dietary supplement FerroSolve both contain minerals and should not be taken with tea.
If the product is a powder, like Collagen powder, you can mix it with tea, coffee or in a smoothie. It’s so versatile that you can even cook with Collagen. In my Collagen Recipes ebook, I share some of my favorite to work this powerful nutrient into my daily routine.
Can I take them with my medication?
As a general rule, it’s best to take dietary supplements away from medications. For some medications, taking them with dietary supplements, reduces your body’s ability to absorb the drug. For example, thyroid hormone medication should only be taken with water, because food and dietary supplements block’s your body’s ability to aborb it. Since we don’t know how all medications interact with dietary supplements, it’s better to be safe and don’t take them at the same time.
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