Whether multivitamins and other dietary supplements are essential for the general population is a source of ongoing debate. Supplements are still recommended for some groups – for example, for pregnant women who should take folic acid to reduce the risk of nervous system defects, or for children, especially in developing countries whose diets do not provide enough vitamin A and iron.
However, recent studies have shown that there is insufficient evidence to recommend multivitamin supplements to the average healthy person. Before using them, you should follow the test results with your doctor or dietitian and only then make a decision about supplementing the deficiency of the nutrients.
All the research on excessive or unfounded use of supplements appears to have little impact on the global supplement industry, estimated at $ 128 billion. Nevertheless, the best and first way to get healthy is to eat a balanced diet. Only when it is not enough, as is the case with a large number of busy people, supplementation should be considered.
Supplementation as a real support for our health
Supplements can be used as a health support – to help a person with specific deficiencies meet their nutritional needs. If you are taking supplements because of such a deficiency, you should try to take it in a way that ensures optimal absorption. When taking them, let’s not forget that they are prophylactic. The composition in the pro-health composition is selected in such a way that it perfectly meets our needs for certain compounds, minerals and vitamins. Supplements are available in many forms – capsules, tablets, and syrups.
What times of the day to take vitamins
The question arises: is it better to take vitamins in the morning or in the evening? In theory, since we get our nutrients from food all day, taking supplements at night helps the body get its nutrients while you sleep. But not all specialists think so. Some argue that digestion slows down while sleeping, so taking a nutritional supplement late in the evening is not associated with effective absorption.
In general, morning hours are best for multivitamins and any B vitamins that may over stimulate metabolism and brain function. For your own convenience and awareness, it is worth placing supplements on the kitchen counter next to the coffee machine. It is good to have them on hand when we reach for our morning cup. If you’re taking supplements at lunch, keep them in a bag and don’t forget to take them.
With or without food?
Most supplements should be taken with food to reduce the risk of stomach irritation and to stimulate digestion and improve absorption. Only some of them are well tolerated on an empty stomach. So which ones should you pay attention to?
Supplements containing iron, magnesium, and fish oil are the most common culprits of digestive disorders when taken on an empty stomach. Be especially careful to consume them with a meal or snack.
The fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K are better absorbed when we don’t take them on an empty stomach. The same goes for a multivitamin. If you are taking multivitamins with breakfast, make sure you butter your sandwich or have an avocado with eggs on your plate.
For probiotics, research suggests that taking them with food or 30 minutes before meals may be better than taking them after eating. Fluids are also important because hydration also plays an important role. This is especially important for the disintegration of a tablet or capsule with the supplement. Therefore, take all supplements with a glass of water.
The main exception to the rule of combining supplements are certain types of minerals, but it’s better to take each mineral with food just in case.
Some nutritional duets include vitamin D to increase calcium absorption and vitamin C to increase iron absorption. Therefore, it is ideal to take these nutrients together with supplements or to support them through food. A classic example is sipping iron supplements with a glass of orange juice for a vitamin C absorption enhancing effect.
Calcium can affect the absorption of iron, zinc and magnesium. It is recommended that you take any calcium supplements without combining them with iron or multivitamins. Also keep in mind that your body absorbs calcium better when you take 600 milligrams or less at a time. If you take more per day, break it down into morning and evening doses.
Supplements during menstruation, for athletes, during infections, for weight loss
A woman can lose up to fifty liters of blood throughout her life, and with it precious iron, which plays an important role in our body. Its deficiency makes us feel sleepy, tired and we feel unwell. Dietary supplements recommended by doctors especially help those women who have heavy bleeding. In order for the iron to be better absorbed, it is also worth adding vitamin C.
If you exercise intensively, your body needs supplements as well. Thanks to them, you will increase efficiency and endurance, as well as increase muscle mass. First of all, you should take magnesium, iron and chromium – but not too much.
It is worth supporting your immunity to flu and colds not only in autumn and winter. If we struggle with infections, take medication, take antibiotics – it weakens us to a great extent. We will help the immune system with vitamin C, B vitamins and zinc.
During weight loss, doctors recommend preparations with fiber because it has a positive effect on the functioning of our intestines. It is also a good idea to include artichoke, green tea or dandelion in your diet, which will aid the digestive process.
Dietary supplements are a good supplement to the diet, which is not able to provide us with some vitamins and minerals in a natural way. In combination with a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, they will bring excellent results in the form of good research results and positive well-being.