Hey Doc, What’s the Best Way to Take My Supplements?


There seems to be a lot of confusion around taking dietary supplements because I’m frequently asked what the best way is to take dietary supplements. Should you take them with food? Should you take them between meals? Should you take them with a specific type of drink to wash them down with? I’m going to clear up the confusion so you can make sure your body is absorbing as much of the nutrients as possible, that you’re getting the best health benefits from the products and that you’re not wasting your money. I did a Facebook Live video on this topic a few weeks ago, so in addition to reading this blog, watch the video and follow us on Facebook for more helpful health information.

There are a few simple rules you can follow that’ll make this a lot easier for you. First, you should always look on the bottle of the dietary supplements because there is recommended usage. Manufacturers, including NBI, we all have on our products what is the recommended dosage of the product. How many capsules or tablets to take every day. Typically, if they need to be taken with food it will usually specify that; however, it may not always.

What can you do to ensure you’re getting the best absorption and the best effect from the nutrients, getting the most nutrients in your body? There are certain vitamins that are fat soluble. What that means is that they’re absorbed better in the presence of some fats. Those are vitamins A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Other non-vitamin nutrients, such as Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), as also fat-soluble. If any of those are in your multiple vitamin, which they should be, or if you’re taking our Osteo-K product, any product that has vitamin D or vitamin K in it, or any of those nutrients, you want to take them with a meal with some fat in it because fat increases the absorption of those nutrients.

Many nutrients are fine taking on an empty stomach. The real issue with most nutrients is whether or not you personally can tolerate them. If you feel that you tolerate the supplements better with food, or if you can remember to take them because it’s easier to time it with your meals, than that’s fantastic. Foods typically will enhance the absorption of the fat-soluble nutrients, but they won’t diminish the absorption of most other nutrients.

There are, however, some exceptions to that rule. They’re so specific that they’ll be spelled out on the label where the manufacturer lists the recommended usage of the product. Nutrients that are better taken on an empty stomach is typically specific amino acids that need to be taken or are better absorbed on an empty stomach, but that will be explained on the package.

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 looking at an adrenal supplement, things to support adrenal health. Your adrenal glands produce and release your stress hormones like cortisol and  epinephrine. If you’re taking an adrenal support formula or if you’re taking an energy formula like our MitoForte product, you want to take those in the morning to better mimic the body’s natural daily cycles. With the adrenal supplement the daily rhythms of cortisol secretion is that cortisol tends to peak in the morning and then diminishes during the day. If you’re supporting that process you want to follow the natural rhythms of the adrenal glands, and the natural rhythms of the body, so you want to take that adrenal supplement in the morning.

I think it’s pretty evident that with an energy product you don’t want to take it at night because it may cause some difficulty falling asleep. Many energy products contain high amounts of caffeine that can keep you awake. Our MitoForte energy product doesn’t contain any caffeine, but rather provides the nutrients to feed the natural energy producing biochemical pathways. Even without the caffeine, however, if you’re sensitive nutrients, taking them in the afternoon may cause some difficulty sleeping.

Those are the general rules to look at with respect to supplements. There is one important thing to understand though with supplements and that is, what should you take it with? Typically, people just take it with water, but you want to be careful that if you’re a tea drinker, and you drink black tea while you’re taking your multivitamin such as Supreme Multivitamin or your iron dietary supplement such as FerroSolve, the tannins in the black tea can bind with the minerals and decrease their absorption. You don’t want to take them with tea. I don’t think that’s really that important for most people, but there are some tea drinkers out there who may be taking their supplements in the morning with tea. You just want to avoid that.

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