Nutrition

Are You Taking Supplements At The Right Time?

Most supplements can be taken at any time of the day but some are absorbed better if you take them with a meal. Read on for more on the best time to take supplements.

By URLife Team
25 Jun 2024

If you're eating a reasonably balanced diet, you're probably getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. However, most health professionals recommend taking additional health supplements because most Indians are vitamin D and B12 deficient. Vitamin D, known as the "sunshine vitamin," is essential for bone health and overall well-being. Our bodies produce it when our skin is exposed to sunlight. Despite being a sun-drenched country, India has a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency, especially among those following vegetarian or vegan diets. Additionally, modern farming practices have led to soil depletion, resulting in lower B12 levels in our food supply.

Besides, getting all the vitamins and minerals can be a bit more challenging if you're vegan or vegetarian. Key nutrients to watch out for include vitamin D, iron, and vitamin B12. 


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Nmami Agarwal, MSc in Nutrition and Dietetics, is a therapist and dietitian/nutritionist with 10 years of overall experience, including 7 years as a specialist. In her Instagram reel, she explains the best time to take supplements. As a general rule, vitamins and minerals fall into two main categories: fat-soluble and water-soluble. It is important to understand which are best absorbed with food and which are better absorbed on an empty stomach. 
Additionally, certain supplements can interact with each other, which may reduce their effectiveness or even cause side effects. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of when to take each supplement.

 

Related story: The Benefits of Collagen Supplements: Do They Really Work?


What are the best types of multivitamins and supplements?

Choosing the right multivitamins and supplements can feel overwhelming with so many options in the market. By understanding what to look for in quality supplements and knowing how they can benefit your specific needs, you can make informed choices to support your health and well-being.

1. Multivitamins: If you are looking to boost your overall health, then look for a balanced multivitamin that includes essential vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, C, D, E, and K, along with B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. These are tailored to meet the specific nutritional needs of different life stages and genders, such as women's multivitamins with extra iron or senior formulas with higher doses of vitamin D and calcium.

2. Vitamin D: Now bone health is equally important, especially for women over 30. Vitamin D is crucial for calcium absorption and bone health. It’s important for those who get limited sun exposure or have dietary restrictions.

3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Supplements like fish oil or algae oil (for a plant-based option) are rich in EPA and DHA, which support cardiovascular health and cognitive function.

4. Probiotics: Best for digestive health, probiotics support a healthy gut microbiome, which can improve digestion, boost immunity, and enhance overall gut health.

5. Magnesium: If you feel constantly tired, magnesium supplements can help ease fatigue. Apart from this, magnesium helps with relaxation and can improve sleep.

6. Vitamin B12: Essential for red blood cell formation and energy production, vitamin B12 is particularly important for vegetarians and vegans who might not get enough from their diet.

7. Calcium: Essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth, calcium is important for young adults, women and older adults to prevent osteoporosis.

8. Iron: Iron is crucial for making haemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body. It's particularly important for women of childbearing age and those with iron-deficiency anaemia.

9. Vitamin C: Known for its immune-boosting properties, vitamin C also supports skin health and antioxidant protection.

 

Related story: 5 Supplements To Stop Your Hair From Falling

 

Best Time To Take Supplements

 

  • Multivitamins: Multivitamins are best taken with breakfast to kickstart your day with a nutrient boost. Vitamin B12 is an energy-boosting vitamin that is great in the morning to help enhance alertness.
  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D should be taken post meals as it is a fat-soluble vitamin. This vitamin is best absorbed with dietary fat, so take them with meals. Pair with vitamin C-rich foods or a meal to enhance absorption and avoid taking with calcium, which can inhibit its uptake.
  • Magnesium: Magnesium should be taken right before bed. Known for its calming effects, magnesium is ideal for reducing stress and helps regulate the sleep hormone melatonin. This supplement relaxes you and makes you sleep better. 
  • Probiotics: Midday meals tend to have a more neutral pH level in the stomach compared to the highly acidic environment in the morning or the empty stomach before breakfast. This neutral pH helps ensure that more probiotics survive the harsh stomach environment and reach the intestines where they can colonise and thrive. Probiotics can be taken with lunch to support digestion throughout the day.
  • Calcium: Best taken in the evening, as it can help with bone repair and growth overnight. A 2022 Harvard study suggests that calcium absorption can be more efficient at night. Bone density and strength are largely maintained through the process of bone remodelling, which is most active during sleep. Providing your body with calcium before bed ensures that this essential mineral is available when your bones need it the most for repair and growth. 
  • Vitamin B: A 2016 study in the journal Nutrients shows that B vitamins are water-soluble, which means they dissolve in water and are easily excreted by your kidneys. They are most easily absorbed on an empty stomach with water. Since most people are hungry when they wake up, it is best to take your B vitamins in the morning along with some water.
  • Vitamin C: If you're not getting enough vitamin C from your diet alone (such as from citrus fruits, berries, and leafy greens), there are supplements available in dosages ranging from 25 to 1000 milligrams. Since vitamin C is water-soluble, it's best absorbed in the morning with water on an empty stomach.

 

Related story: Health Supplements That Working Profesionals Can Benefit From 


Incorporating the right supplements into your daily routine can significantly enhance your health and well-being, but timing is key. By strategically planning your supplement intake, you can optimise its benefits and support your overall health more effectively. Always consult with a healthcare provider to tailor your supplement regimen to your specific needs and ensure you're taking them correctly for the best results. Consult a nutritionist at UR.Life today. 

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