The timing of when you take your supplements can significantly affect the way in which your body can absorb and utilize the nutrients. Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) and omega-3s (Try SFH Super Omega-3 Fish Oil) are better absorbed when taken with a meal that contains fat. Probiotics are best taken on an empty stomach so that there's nothing to interfere with the good bacteria from getting to work. (Try American Health Enzyme Probiotic Complex) Vitamin B12 is also better absorbed on an empty stomach because an acidic environment increases absorption.
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B-complex vitamins should be taken early in the day, preferably with your first meal, as they help the body produce energy from food and taking them later in the day can interfere with your sleep. Iron and calcium (Try BodyBio Calcium/Magnesium Butyrate) should never be taken together as they compete for receptor sites; take iron during the day with some vitamin C to increase absorption. If you drink coffee or tea, the tannins and caffeine can interfere with the absorption of many vitamins and minerals, especially iron. Caffeine also increases urination, which can decrease the concentration of water-soluble vitamins (B-complex and C), so wait an hour after your morning brew to take supplements. Caffeine-free herbal tea, which contains fewer tannins than regular tea, may actually increase the absorption of certain minerals such as iron.
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Editor’s Note: This advice reflects the recommendations of our dietitians, but CE recommends also speaking with your health-care provider before beginning any supplement regimen. Supplement timing can vary depending on your health goals and certain health conditions.
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