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Best Times To Take Supplements

The best time to take supplements is usually after meals because the supplement is absorbed better when it is combined with other food.

Time release formulas need to be taken with food because their nutrients are released overtime. The food in the system will slow down their passage so that they can be absorbed at the sites within the gastrointestinal tract that suit them best.

Vitamins and minerals work most effectively when they are taken at regular intervals throughout the day.

The water soluble vitamins, especially vitamin B complex and C, are removed quickly from the body and breaking the dose into three parts to be taken after meals will give you the best chance for keeping high levels of the supplements in the system. Minerals are necessary for the proper absorption of vitamins so be sure that you take them together.

If you need to take all of your supplements at once then take them after the biggest meal of the day.

Further recommendations

Vitamins A, D and E (fat soluble) - take regularly with food.

Iron - on an empty stomach (although it may cause nausea in some people - take with food if you suffer the symptoms).

Calcium - high doses alone could be taken at night or between meals. However absorption of calcium is enhanced by taking it with other nutrients, so with meals may be far more effective.

Zinc - take with meals, can cause nausea if taken with insufficient food.

Vitamin B complex - first thing in the morning for greatest efficiency - though it is still effective at other times.

Vitamin C - most effective with meals and this is the safest if you have an acid sensitive stomach. When taken in the morning some people report an increase in energy levels. Good to have in the morning before being exposed to free radical producing environments.

Magnesium - can promote sleep so it is best taken at night.

Multivitamins, antioxidants and minerals - any time is effective and safe (except as above can be taken with fluids only).

Time release supplements - take with the main meal of the day.

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Bland, J. 1996, Contemporary Nutrition. J & B Associates.

Davies, S. and A. Stewart., 1997, Nutritional Medicine. Pan.

Holden, S., Hudson, K., Tilman, J. & D. Wolf, 2003, The Ultimate Guide to Health from Nature. Asrolog Publication.

Pressman, A. and S. Buff, 2000, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vitamins and Minerals. (2nd Ed.) Alpha Books.

Soothill, R. 1996, The Choice Guide to Vitamins and Minerals. A Choice Book Publication.

Sullivan, K. 2002, Vitamins and Minerals: A Practical Approach to a Health Diet and Safe Supplementation. Harper Collins.

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