We would all eat a well-balanced diet in an ideal world. The reality is that most of us don’t and need a little extra help along the way. Vitamin supplementation is a helpful way to add additional micronutrients to your diet. There can be many reasons to add vitamins during the day: to supplement a diet, age, gender, geographic location, or on the recommendation of a healthcare professional.
Many are familiar with macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins and fats. And many are aware that vitamins and minerals are an important part of our diet. But what exactly do vitamins and minerals do for our body?
Vitamins and minerals are essential substances that our body needs to grow and function normally. They are needed for a wide range of activities in our body, including: fighting infections, building bones, healing wounds and converting food into energy. Your body needs over 30 types of vitamins and minerals from external sources such as food or sunlight.
And even though we aim for a balanced diet and lifestyle to get these micronutrients, sometimes supplementation is necessary. Unfortunately, when and how you take vitamin supplements is not so easy to understand. It’s not as simple as popping them with your morning coffee.
“When people don’t take their vitamins the right way, they don’t see any improvement,” says Cleveland Clinic Foundation family physician Rodolfo Perez-Gallardo, MD. “Your body cannot fully absorb vitamins unless you know the best time to take them.”
Dr. Perez-Gallardo says it’s less about the time of day and more about timing the habit with your meal and drink schedule.
With many vitamins and minerals, it can be quite difficult to determine the right time. Vitamins are either fat-soluble or water-soluble, which means that for your body to properly absorb this micronutrient, you must consume the vitamin with a glass of water or with a meal that contains fat.
Consuming these popular all-in-one vitamin supplements is tricky. A multivitamin contains both water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. For the body to properly absorb both types, a multivitamin should be consumed with a meal containing fat and washed down with a glass of water.
This vitamin is a popular choice to help boost immunity and keep your body healthy. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and should be consumed on an empty stomach with a glass of water.
It is an important vitamin that helps absorb calcium and maintain the strength of our bones. We can get this vitamin from food and sunlight. For those who live in less sunny climates (farther from the equator), it may be more difficult to get adequate levels of vitamin D. These supplements are fat-soluble and should be taken with a meal.
Iron supplementation is not recommended for everyone and is usually suggested under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Iron deficiency in the body can lead to anemia. Taking too much iron can also have adverse effects on the body, including vomiting, nausea, and ultimately organ failure. Those who are recommended to take iron pills should consume the vitamin supplement on an empty stomach with water.
Fish oil supplementation provides omega-3 fatty acids which contribute to overall cardiovascular health. Omega-3 fatty acids help maintain healthy blood pressure, reduce plaque buildup in arteries, and lower your overall risk of heart attack and stroke. Fish oil pills should be consumed with a meal.
Dr. Perez-Gallardo of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation points out that not everyone needs it. “If you eat a nutritious, balanced diet, you don’t need these supplements. The best source of vitamins and minerals is a plate of one-quarter fruit, one-quarter vegetables, one-quarter of proteins, such as fish and poultry, and the other quarter of cereals.
If you’re wondering whether or not you’re getting the right amount of vitamins, it’s best to work with a healthcare professional who can perform a series of tests to properly determine which vitamins you’re lacking and the best way to increase them in the time limit. your diet.