Best Ways to Take Different Vitamins & Minerals
It’s always best to get your vitamins and minerals from whole foods, but sometimes certain medical conditions, dietary lifestyles and other factors might lead to a deficiency, where you’ll need that extra boost. According to the most recent US Dietary Guidelines, a number of Americans aren’t getting sufficient amounts of dietary fiber, potassium, choline, magnesium, calcium, iron, and vitamins, A, D, E, and C.
And while you should always consult a doctor before taking supplements to make sure you’re in need of those higher levels and to keep yourself safe, it’s still wise to learn about how to maximize absorption as best as possible. Here I’m sharing some nutrient absorption tips so you can make the most of your daily vitamin intake.
Pair: Vitamin C + Iron
Best time to take: In the morning
Taking iron and vitamin C together helps boost iron absorption, which can be really helpful for vegetarians and vegans especially who might be lacking in this rock star nutrient.
Pair: Vitamin D + Calcium
Best time to take: After lunch
Both nutrients are really important for bone health, so you’ll likely want both regardless if you’re looking to prevent poor bone health or need to supplement to build bone density back up. So, you might as well pair them together and take in one sitting. There are some supplements that combine calcium and vitamin D, so looking for one of those is a great idea.
Please make sure you are not overtaking Vitamin D, because in this case, vitamin D overdosage might be harmful.
Pair: Vitamin B12 + Folate
Best time to take: Before breakfast with a green juice or take it while eating a fresh salad for lunch.
Vitamin B12 and folate work together in the body for cell division and replication. Folate is actually a B vitamin and it depends on vitamin B12 to be absorbed, stored and used by the body. Water-soluble vitamins absorb best on an empty stomach. That means taking them first thing in the morning, 30 minutes prior to eating, or two hours after a meal. Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water so your body can use them. Vitamin B12 is found in fortified grains, liver and other sources of animal protein, while folate is abundant in leafy greens.
Pair: Vitamin D + Omega-3s
Best time to take: researchers point out that omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D need to be consumed with food — and preferably of the high-fat variety — to be absorbed well.
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, meaning that it needs fat to be absorbed. Omega-3 supplements contain fatty acids from fish oil, so the fat in the supplement can help the body absorb vitamin D.
(!) Avoid: Iron + Calcium
Watch out for this pair—calcium can inhibit absorption of iron in both food and supplement form. Milk and calcium should not be taken at the same time as iron supplements. You should wait at least 2 hours after having these foods before taking your iron supplements. High doses of calcium, especially calcium carbonate, the form found in most supplements, can block the absorption of iron. Try taking your iron with breakfast and your calcium supplement at dinner or before bed. Taking calcium late in the day can also help you relax and fall asleep more easily.
(!) Avoid: Iron and Green tea
Iron facilitates oxygen transport, hemoglobin formation, the breakdown of free radicals, and mitochondrial respiration among other processes. If you mix it with certain beverages, however, your body won’t absorb the mineral. Researchers have shown that green tea can lead to iron deficiency anemia when consumed in large quantities. Likewise, iron has a negative impact on green tea’s efficacy. So take them separately.
(!) Avoid: Fish oil and Ginkgo biloba
Never pair these two supplements at once. They both possess blood-thinning potential. Thus, taking them together can reduce or prevent blood clotting and potentially increase the risk of uncontrolled bleeding.
Just be careful, the manufacture of supplements isn't monitored by the government in the way that the manufacture of pharmaceuticals is—so you can't be sure exactly what you're getting.
And always keep in mind, that supplements can plug dietary gaps, but nutrients from food are most important.