Doctors recommend vitamin and mineral supplements to infants, children, young adults, pregnant women, menopausal women and elderly for various purposes. Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, K and minerals like copper, calcium, iron, from our food help strengthen our immune system, teeth and bones. They help enhance the function of the nervous system (rather, of every system in the body), make the muscles powerful and they also promote proper growth of the fetus in the womb. These are the nutrients which help generate energy, or boost your energy, and improve your overall health.
Appropriate Time to Take Vitamins
There exist numerous types and combination of vitamins and multivitamins. The best time to take vitamins and minerals varies according to the nature and function of these nutrients. Most vitamins and minerals are nothing but nutritional elements found in our food. So they are digested and absorbed best in the company of a meal. This is the reason why doctors suggest you to take vitamin supplements along with meals.
Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble vitamins while 8 vitamins of B complex and vitamin C are water soluble vitamins. Vitamins which are soluble in water are flushed out of your body regularly through urine and other excretory products, while fat soluble vitamins are stored in the body. So regular intake of water soluble vitamins is very important. For proper absorption and digestion, and for continuous flow of vitamins, it is recommended to take vitamins by splitting them up.
B vitamins promote carbohydrate metabolism and energy production. So it is best to start your day with a B vitamin (B complex) supplement along with the breakfast in the morning. You may take it along with the lunch in the afternoon. This will help maintain the energy levels throughout the day. Minerals like calcium and magnesium promote relaxation of muscles and so it is better to take them in the evening to ensure a good night's sleep.
At times, due to a busy schedule, you may choose to skip lunch. But then, it is advisable to take your multi-vitamin with a small handful of nuts. Nuts and dry fruits are considered as healthy snacks. They provide good fat, necessary for the absorption of fat soluble vitamins. Remember, vitamins ingested with a small amount of protein in the diet, are properly digested and utilized. Your stomach should have enough acid for proper processing and absorption of minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. As the time to take vitamins depends mainly on the function of the vitamin, I am sure you would like to browse through vitamins and minerals chart for more information.
Interaction Between Various Vitamins and Minerals
Although, doctors ask you to take supplements with meals, it is also necessary to consider the interference of vitamins with the functions or absorption of other vitamins. If you are taking iron to fight anemia and calcium to fight osteoporosis, then you should take iron in the morning and calcium at some other time during the day. Otherwise, calcium and iron will fight with each other for absorption in the alimentary tract. Taking more than one mineral at a time may result in stomach acid imbalance.
Similarly, if you are taking supplements to lower inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, it is better to take them on an empty stomach. Doctors suggest to take amino acid supplements on an empty stomach. For example, tryptophan or lysine supplements. If taken along with food, these amino acids will compete with other amino acids in your food for absorption. Same is the case with enzymes.
For example, bromelain helps relieve pain but if taken with food, it may work as a digestive enzyme rather than working as a pain reliever. Bromelain taken on empty stomach helps reduce inflammation. Reading the instructions on the label, or following the instructions of your doctor, is very essential for optimal absorption and utilization of the supplement. The manufacturers therefore provide information about how best to use their product, on the label.
Taking vitamins and minerals with food is quite different from taking food rich in vitamins and minerals. Following a healthy diet that provides all the essential nutrients in proper proportions is always considered as the best way to take vitamins and minerals. A healthy diet does not cause toxicity but excessive intake of a supplement may result in toxicity. Moreover, it can affect the functions of other vitamins and minerals in the body. Information regarding 'the best time to take vitamins and minerals' is provided in this article but the question lurking in my mind is 'when is the golden age going to start when each and every person on this earth will be able to enjoy a healthy diet...'