To ensure you get the most out of your vitamins and minerals, it's essential to ensure their bioavailability: that they are absorbed from your intestines efficiently and presented to your cells in a form that can be used or stored. The dos and don'ts below will help maximise this bioavailability.

Do

Take supplements with snacks

As this aids absorption and lessens any potential side effects.

Do

Take after your evening meal

As mineral movements and repair processes in your body that use these nutrients are greatest at night.

Do

Wash down with water

Enough to comfortably take the supplement.

Do

Take fat-solubles with food containing fat

For example, Co-enzyme Q10, evening primrose oil, fish oils, and vitamins A, D, E,K should be taking with food containing some fat, such as milk.

Do

Spread doses through the day

Try to spread more than one dose (if you have to take 2 or more tablets or capsules of the same supplement) throughout the day. This will help to maximise absorption and maintain more even blood levels.

Do

Take at the same time daily

Try to remember to take your supplements at the same time every day, but don't fret if you forget - just take them when you remember.

Don't

Take with hot drinks

Especially tea or coffee, as these can interfere with absorption and increase the loss of other minerals from the body. The heat can destroy live microorganisms such as 'friendly' bacteria.

Don't

Take fish oils in the morning

Don't take fish oils in the morning before you've eaten, as the essential fats will be used by the body for energy rather than used for key functions.

Don't

Take with grapefruit juice

Although the affects of grapefruit juice has not been investigated with nutritional supplements, in the case of prescribed medication the juice greatly increased blood levels of the medication.

Don't

Double up

Don't be tempted to double up if you miss a dose: just take it at the next convenient time.

Don't

Exceed the recommended dose

Don't exceed the recommended dose on the packaging, unless suggested by and under the supervision of your doctor.

Don't

Take supplements with prescribed medication

Check with your doctor before taking vitamins and minerals if you are taking any prescribed medicines.

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Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn't possible, supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.

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