by Melissa Chichester
The best way to get the daily recommended amount of vitamins and minerals is through your diet. However, dietary supplements can help you get certain nutrients that may not be present in your diet or that are harder to get through the diet. You can maximize the value of the supplements you’re taking by using them properly. That includes taking the correct doses and knowing the best way to take your supplement.
Reading the label is the best place to start. On some labels, you’ll see recommendations for the time of day to take your supplements. On other labels, you may see directions to take supplements with food. Taking supplements with food can have benefits. First, it makes supplements easier to take for those with sensitive stomachs. And second, taking certain supplements with food can increase absorption of the nutrients. Here are seven supplements that should be taken with food.
Your body produces Vitamin D when your skin absorbs sunshine. If you’re not out in the sun very often, you may not be creating enough Vitamin D. A simple blood test can help you determine whether or not your Vitamin D levels are sufficient. This is especially important for people living above 37 degrees latitude.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that supports strong bones and teeth by helping them absorb calcium and phosphorous.**
It also helps maintain a healthy immune system.** Since it is fat-soluble, it does not dissolve in water. Taking Vitamin D with a meal that contains healthy fats is beneficial, because it helps your body absorb it better.
Vitamin E is an potent antioxidant that helps fight free radicals in the body.** Vitamin E also supports immune function and plays a role in maintaining overall good health.** Like Vitamin D, it is fat-soluble, so it is best taken with a meal. But here’s a tip: consider taking your Vitamin E supplement with foods that also contain Vitamin E, such as nuts and seeds, which will increase absorption more.
Fish oil is a substance that contains beneficial omega-3 fatty acids that cannot be found in the body. Omega-3 fatty acids are known for supporting heart, joint and metabolic health.** If you cringe at the idea of taking fish oil, worrying about a fishy taste or unpleasant aftertaste, taking fish oil with food can help. Taking your fish oil supplement with food helps reduce regurgitation and burping up a fishy taste. It also helps your body better absorb these fatty acids (you’re probably seeing a trend by now!).
Vitamin K is known as “the forgotten vitamin.” However, it deserves a better nickname, because Vitamin K is necessary for the formation of prothrombin, which is required for normal blood clotting.** As another fat-soluble vitamin, eating healthy fats with Vitamin K helps improve absorption.
Vitamin A is best known for maintaining eye health, but it also contributes to immune system health.** Like Vitamins E, K, and D, it is fat-soluble and absorbs better when it is taken with food.
Zinc is a mineral that supports immune health.** Some people experience an upset stomach while taking zinc alone. If you have to take zinc with a meal, pair it with an animal protein such as eggs or chicken, which helps absorption.
Multivitamins are a great option for people who want a one-and-done supplement. They are not a substitute for a healthy diet. However, a multivitamin can help you increase your intake of a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals and provide nourishment for daily living.** Because multivitamins contain so many different nutrients, they may cause discomfort if taken on an empty stomach. Many of the nutrients in a multivitamin are best absorbed with food as well. To avoid potential stomach discomfort, take a multivitamin with a well-balanced meal that contains protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
Knowing what supplements to take with food is a win-win. You’ll get the most out of your supplement, and avoid potential stomach upset. And here’s one more tip: keep these supplements in a cool, dry place within reach of where you eat. That’s one more way to make your routine even easier!