Per­fect Tim­ing

When and how you take your sup­ple­ments may be as im­por­tant as what you take

Better Nutrition - - CONTENTS - by Lisa Turner

When it comes to sup­ple­ments, when and how you take them may be just as im­por­tant as what you take. Get the most out of th­ese seven com­mon sup­ple­ments with our com­pre­hen­sive guide to times, com­bos, and amounts.

You may have a near- per­fect bat­tery of sup­ple­ments to strengthen bones, build blood, pro­tect your heart, and pre­vent cancer. But are you tak­ing them prop­erly? Get the most out of th­ese seven com­mon sup­ple­ments with this com­pre­hen­sive guide to times, com­bos, and amounts.

CAL­CIUM: In doses higher than 250 mg, cal­cium and mag­ne­sium tend to com­pete for ab­sorp­tion. But both are crit­i­cal for bone health, and the ex­tra con­ve­nience of tak­ing them in a com­bined sup­ple­ment may out­weigh the rel­a­tively small per­cent­age of each that may not get ab­sorbed. Stud­ies sug­gest that too much cal­cium with too lit­tle mag­ne­sium may con­trib­ute to cal­ci­fi­ca­tion of the ar­ter­ies, in­creas­ing the risk of heart dis­ease. A 1: 1 to 1: 2 ra­tio of cal­cium and mag­ne­sium is best. Take cal­cium with food to boost ab­sorp­tion and re­duce the risk of kid­ney stones, and in split doses— the body ab­sorbs smaller doses bet­ter than large ones. Avoid cal­cium car­bon­ate, the hard­est- to- ab­sorb form of the min­eral. And if you can, take cal­cium at a diff er­ent time of day than zinc and iron.

Best way to take cal­cium: two 500 mg doses, one with break­fast and one with lunch.

IRON: Don’t take iron with mag­ne­sium, cal­cium, or zinc— it can in­hibit the ab­sorp­tion of other min­er­als. As for food, it’s best to take iron on an empty stom­ach for max­i­mum ab­sorp­tion; un­less you have a sen­si­tive stom­ach, take it first thing in the morn­ing. Wash it down with or­ange juice, not coff ee or milk— caff eine and the cal­cium in dairy can in­ter­fere with the body’s abil­ity to take in iron, while vi­ta­min C can en­hance iron ab­sorp­tion from sup­ple­ments.

To pre­vent con­sti­pa­tion, avoid fer­rous sul­fate, the form that’s most likely to cause con­sti­pa­tion; look for a non- con­sti­pat­ing for­mula, and be sure to drink plenty of wa­ter. Iron is best ab­sorbed from an­i­mal pro­tein.

Best way to take iron: 60– 75 mg be­fore break­fast, with or­ange juice, two hours be­fore tak­ing vi­ta­min E or a mul­ti­vi­ta­min. A sec­ond dose can be taken at a later time in the day.

VI­TA­MIN D: Like the other fat- sol­u­ble vi­ta­mins ( A, E, and K), vi­ta­min D is bet­ter ab­sorbed if taken with a meal that con­tains some fat; one study found that tak­ing it with din­ner— usu­ally the heav­i­est meal of the day— in­creased blood lev­els of vi­ta­min D by 50 per­cent.

If you’re a late diner, lunch may be your best op­tion. Just add healthy fats such as avo­cado, olives, sal­mon, or nut but­ter to your mid­day meal to im­prove vi­ta­min D ab­sorp­tion.

Best way to take vi­ta­min D: up to 4,000 IU with a meal that con­tains healthy fats.

B COM­PLEX: Be­cause B vi­ta­mins are wa­ter- sol­u­ble, the body can only hold onto so much at a given time ( un­like ex­cess fat- sol­u­ble vi­ta­mins, which are stored un­til they’re needed). Split­ting the dose can en­sure steady blood lev­els.

Tak­ing a B com­plex that com­bines all the Bs is more con­ve­nient; just be sure not to overdo it on the B , since high doses over a long pe­riod of time can cause nerve dam­age. B vi­ta­mins tend to boost en­ergy, so take them in the morn­ing; at night, they can lead to rest­less­ness and in­som­nia. They’re ab­sorbed well on an empty stom­ach, but if you have a sen­si­tive tummy, take them with food.

Best way to take Bs: in the morn­ing and af­ter­noon, with break­fast and lunch, or on an empty stom­ach if pos­si­ble, and in a for­mula that con­tains no more than 100 mg of B , the rec­om­mended up­per limit.

VI­TA­MIN C: Like B vi­ta­mins, vi­ta­min C is wa­ter- sol­u­ble and doesn’t re­quire di­etary fat to be eff ec­tive. Split­ting the dosage im­proves ab­sorp­tion, keeps blood lev­els el­e­vated all day, and pre­vents the gas­troin­testi­nal dis­tress that some peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence with large doses ( 1,000 mg or more).

Vi­ta­min C en­hances cal­cium ab­sorp­tion, but may in­ter­fere with the ab­sorp­tion of B , so take them sep­a­rately. Buff ered forms of vi­ta­min C are best if you have a sen­si­tive stom­ach.

Best way to take C: 250– 500 mg twice a day, with break­fast and lunch.

PROBIOTICS: Be­cause harsh stom­ach acids may de­stroy probiotics they’re best taken when di­ges­tive en­zymes, bile salts, and stom­ach acids are low— in other words, on an empty stom­ach. Some stud­ies sug­gest that probiotics sur­vive in the largest num­bers when taken 30 min­utes be­fore a meal that con­tains some fat ( which buff ers stom­ach acids and helps probiotics sur­vive to reach the in­testines). How­ever, some ev­i­dence also ex­ists that food buff ers stom­ach acid, so tak­ing probiotics with a meal may in­crease pro­tec­tion for the micro­organ­isms — and it’s hard to ar­gue with the fact that probiotics were tra­di­tion­ally taken via cul­tured foods such as yo­gurt or sauer­kraut, which were eaten with meals.

Ad­di­tion­ally, diff er­ent strains of bac­te­ria may have diff er­ent tol­er­ances to stom­ach acids. The jury’s still out on this idea, so your best bet is to ex­per­i­ment— try tak­ing some of your probiotics be­fore meals, and some with meals, and see what works best for you. But don’t take them af­ter a meal: sev­eral stud­ies show that pro­bi­otic sur­vival tends to be low­est when taken 30 min­utes af­ter eat­ing.

Choose a pro­bi­otic with a va­ri­ety of strains for max­i­mum eff ec­tive­ness, in­clud­ing L. aci­dophilus, B. Longum, B. bifi dum, L. rham­no­sus, and L. fer­men­tum.

Best way to take probiotics: 5– 25 bil­lion CFUs of a broad­spec­trum for­mula, half an hour be­fore eat­ing, or with break­fast, lunch, or din­ner.

FISH OIL: Be­cause they can cause gas­tric dis­tress, fish oils should be taken with food; the fat in a meal will also help their ab­sorp­tion. Be­cause they can be hard to digest, take them in di­vided doses, and never right be­fore phys­i­cal ex­er­cise or bed­time— the in­creased ac­tiv­ity or prone po­si­tion can in­ter­fere with di­ges­tion. If you strug­gle with di­gest­ing fi sh oil sup­ple­ments, try an emul­si­fied ver­sion.

Best way to take fish oil: 500– 600 mg, twice a day, with break­fast and lunch, or with lunch and an early din­ner.

Rain­bow Light Berry- D- Li­cious Vi­ta­min D3 2,500 IU

Blue­bon­net Nu­tri­tion Cal­cium Ci­trate Plus Vi­ta­min D

Amer­i­can Health Ester- C 500 mg Veg­gie Tabs

Flora Flo­radix Iron + Herbs

Coun­try Life Coen­zyme B- Com­plex Caps

Gar­den of Life RAW Probiotics Ul­ti­mate Care

Nordic Nat­u­rals Ul­ti­mate Omega 2X Mini

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