Taking large doses of some supplements

If you are taking large doses of some supplements to sustain your system through a health crisis or chronic illness, it can prove more effective to purchase a lower strength and take smaller doses several times a day. This will ensure consistent levels to nurture your cellular health and the function of important bodily systems. It will also reduce potential side-effects, such as loose stool when taking larger doses of magnesium or vitamin C.

Supplements are better absorbed directly with or after food, swallowed with a glass of water. So, if you are time poor and only manage to take vitamins once a day, make sure you consume them with a meal. It is preferable not to swallow vitamins on an empty stomach — if you have a tendency towards reflux or nausea, this might cause stomach upsets, reflux or even nausea.

If you suffer from a sensitive digestive system, it may be better to take some vitamins, such as B complex varieties, in the morning so they can then be absorbed while you are upright over the day. Otherwise, taking them in the evening may predispose you to issues like heartburn when you lie down for sleep only hours later.

Always be mindful that, when taken in supplement form, a vitamin or mineral may lack some of the other natural compounds and cofactors that accompany it in food and enhance its health benefits. So timing the intake of your vitamins with, or soon after, a meal is important to help restore some of those nutrients.

For example, research from Tufts University in the US shows that mono-unsaturated fats, like those found in beef and olive oil, can enhance the absorption of vitamin D supplements. In fact, eating healthy mono-unsaturated fats in a meal from sources such as olive oil, avocado or raw, unsalted nuts will enhance the uptake of any fat-soluble vitamins you are taking, such as vitamins E and D. Avoid taking iron and calcium supplements together, as they compete for absorption.

Though digestive enzymes are best taken directly before a meal, enzymes to assist a particular organ may be better when timed between meals, so check with a health practitioner. Similarly, some herbal supplements may be more effective when taken between meals, so again check with your health provider.
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