If you’re a regular user of vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements this one's for you. Here are some of our best tips for taking supplements correctly so that you can get the best results.
Read the label
Supplements come in all shapes and forms and can contain a variety of different vitamins, minerals, and other ingredients. It’s important to do your research by carefully reading the label before you start taking any supplement. If there are any ingredients that you are unfamiliar with, it may be helpful to check other resources so that you know exactly what you’re putting into your body.
Supplement labels also contain important information such as the quantity of each vitamin, mineral, or herbal extract. Pay attention to how much of each nutrient is in the supplement to ensure that it has the ideal amount for your own individual needs.
Remember that when it comes to looking after your own wellness, you should always listen to what your own body requires. If you have specific health concerns, it’s advisable to speak with a healthcare professional before you begin any new supplements.
Another tip is to check whether the supplement has been GMP certified. These organizations help to check and verify supplement safety. Look for a seal or symbol on the product label that shows whether the product has received the certificate.
It’s also a good idea to check that the label contains the following information:
- The name of the supplement
- The manufacturer’s name, address, and phone number
- A full ingredient list
- Recommended serving size
Take as directed
It’s always the best practice to follow the directions provided on the label when it comes to taking supplements correctly.
As mentioned, reading the label thoroughly can help ensure that you don’t miss any important information such as the suggested daily serving size. Here are some other tips to help you get the most benefits from your supplements:
- Follow the directions found on the product label or package.
- Follow any medical advice given to you by your doctor or another healthcare professional.
- Keep a list of the supplements that you’re taking.
- Note down when you take your supplements (sometimes we might forget that we’ve taken them!).
- Keep track of the way you feel after taking supplements. It might be helpful to write down whether or not you took them with food and be sure to include any benefits or side effects you experience so that you know what works best for you.
Align with mealtimes
Some vitamins are best taken after a meal, while others are best to take on an empty stomach. Establishing a routine of taking your vitamins and minerals at the same time every day will help you get the most out of it. Not every vitamin breaks down in your body the same way, so it's a good idea to know if you’re taking your vitamin at a time of day that will give you the most benefit of your vitamin, mineral, or other dietary supplement. Some vitamin supplements are better taken with meals, while with others it may not make much of a difference.
Generally, it’s thought to be best to take fat-soluble vitamins with a meal. What are fat-soluble vitamins you might ask?
Fat-soluble vitamins are vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin D, and vitamin E. These vitamins don’t dissolve in water and are more similar to oil.
Because they are found in foods that contain fats, such as fatty fish, nuts, or avocados, they may be better absorbed by the body when taken with a meal that contains at least one teaspoon of healthy fats.
Water-soluble vitamins include vitamin C and B-vitamins (these are B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12). When it comes to water-soluble vitamins, it generally doesn’t matter whether you take these with or without a meal. That being said, some researchers advise taking vitamin B12 with food for better absorption. But you should note that because they dissolve in water, they aren’t stored in the body. This means that we should get a sufficient amount of these types of vitamins every day.
If you experience an upset stomach or other digestive issues it may be a good idea for you to try taking your supplements with food.
Never substitute food with dietary supplements
Natural supplements are meant to “supplement” a healthy diet and lifestyle, not replace one. Remember that you should be aiming to meet most of your basic nutritional needs by eating a varied, well-balanced, and healthy diet.
Taking supplements can help you meet those needs or provide you with ingredients that may be difficult to include in your diet. For example, natural extracts such as apple cider vinegar, turmeric, elderberry, or reishi and lion’s mane mushrooms all come with wellness-boosting benefits. Mushroom supplements, for example, may help to support your cognition, mood, stress and enhance immune support. Read more about the top mushroom supplements and their health benefits here.
In most cases, you’re more likely to reap the most benefits when you balance your supplement routine with a healthy lifestyle that includes getting plenty of rest, exercising regularly, staying hydrated, and eating as balanced a diet as possible.
Do you have any useful tips for taking dietary supplements? Share your experiences with us in the comments below.
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