To get the best from your supplements, you have to ensure their bioavailability. This means that they have to be absorbed from your intestines efficiently and presented to your cells in a form that can be used or stored. This process often varies from person to person depending on the efficiency of your digestion, and can change over time as we age, as the quality of our intestinal lining deteriorates. But the bioavailability of your supplements can also be affected by the time of day that they are taken and what they are taken with. By knowing the best way to take your supplements, you can increase their bioavailability and get the maximum benefits from them.
- Take vitamin and mineral supplements immediately after food, either after a meal or a snack.
- Take vitamin and mineral supplements after your evening meal, as mineral movements and the repair processes in your body that use these nutrients are greatest at night.
- Wash supplements down with water.
- Take fat soluble supplements (eg Co-enzyme Q10, evening primrose oil, fish oils and vitamins A, D, E, K) with food containing some fat (eg milk).
- Try to spread more than one dose (eg 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.
- Try to take your supplements at the same times every day, but don’t fret if you forget, just take them when you remember.
- Take supplements with hot drinks, coffee or tea especially as these can interfere with absorption and increase the loss of other minerals from the body. In the case of pro-biotics heat can destroy the live microorganisms.
- Take fish oils in the morning before you have eaten as the essential fats will be used by the body for energy rather than utilised for key functions.
- Take your supplements 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.
- Double up if you miss a dose. Just take it at the next convenient time.
- Exceed the recommended dose on the packaging, unless suggested by and under the supervision of your doctor.
- Take supplements if you are taking any prescribed medication, until you have checked with your doctor.