How To Choose A Quality Prenatal Vitamin
Just like with regular multivitamins, opt for a prenatal supplement that is made with food-based ingredients and no additives or fillers. You can also look for a supplement that contains fermented, methylated or coenzymated forms of nutrients which are designed to support overall healthy absorption and ease on the body.
Generally, you should choose a supplement that provides 100 percent or more of the Daily Value of 12 essential vitamins and minerals you need .
Vitamin And Mineral Supplements Can Be Dangerous
Proper balance and adequate levels of essential nutrients is important for a range of complex processes in our body. When vitamins are taken as supplements, they are introduced into the body at levels that could never be achieved by eating even the healthiest of diets.
Supplementation can also result in large doses of a single vitamin being eaten alone. When vitamins are consumed from foods, they have many companions to help them along the way. For instance, provitamin A in food is accompanied by hundreds of its carotenoid relatives.
Simply taking a vitamin pill is not an instant fix for feeling run down or lacking in energy. It is the combination of a whole range of compounds in foods that gives us the protection . When you artificially remove one of them and provide it completely out of context, it may not be as effective and, in the case of some vitamins, can have negative effects.
Vitamin and mineral supplements can also interfere with prescription medicines and medical treatments. In extreme cases, for example, where people take 100 times the recommended dietary intake , this can stop the work of anticonvulsant drugs, such as those used in epilepsy.
Vitamin Use And Cancer Claims
Some claims have been made that certain vitamins can treat different cancers. However, research shows this is not the case. For example:
- Vitamin A in large doses does not cure cancer and can be toxic, particularly if taken as pills rather than food. Studies have linked vitamin A to an increase in other cancers such as lung cancer in smokers, if taken in supplement form.
- Although there is some evidence vitamin E could play a small role in preventing some cancers, equally there is evidence that it could speed up the onset of other types of cancer. However, this has not been proved or disproved.
- High doses of antioxidants are unlikely to help with the effectiveness of conventional cancer treatments . In fact, megadoses of antioxidants can interfere with some medical treatments for cancer by helping to protect the cancer cells that the therapies aim to destroy.
- Some studies have shown prostate, breast and lung cancer risk are not decreased by taking high-dose supplements containing vitamins E or C or selenium.
Recommended Reading: How Much Vitamin D3 Do You Need Per Day
Should I Take A Supplement Anyway Just In Case
If somebody has a good, well balanced, nutritious diet, there should be no need for any multivitamin supplements. Several factors should be excluded first, some people need supplements because they might have problems absorbing nutrients, pregnant women need certain supplements, your age may be a factor in some cases, some patients with chronic diseases require supplements.
Women who are at risk of pre-eclampsia should take a dietary supplement containing L-arginine and antioxidant vitamins from their 20th week of pregnancy.
If you exercise a lot, take part in endurance sports, such as marathons, you should see a health care professional and get advise on your dietary and possibly supplement requirements.
Some scientists say supplements will not do you any harm, and may do you some good. Research has been contradictory and confusing for lay people. Swedish researchers found that taking multivitamins regularly, long-term can increase the risk of developing breast cancer.
If you decide to take a multivitamin, choose a reputable brand that doesnt include more than 100% of the nutrients recommended for your gender and life stage. But keep in mind, if youre getting the nutrients you need from your diet, theres no strong evidence that extra nutrients are going to help you.
When Is The Best Time Of Day To Take Prenatal Vitamins
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women may benefit from taking prenatal vitamins because of their extra requirement for essential nutrients. However, it is advised that pregnant women or those on medication check with a healthcare professional before taking vitamin or mineral supplements.
- As with traditional multivitamins, prenatal vitamins are best taken in the morning and as part of your daily routine.
Don’t Miss: Where To Buy Spring Valley Vitamins
Common Symptoms Of Deficiency By Vitamin And Mineral
Being “vitamin deficient” is a broad term. In many cases, you may be lacking just one vitamin. Below you’ll find the 13 essential vitamins and the common deficiency symptoms for each.
Vitamin A: Gastrointestinal diseases like Celiac disease or cirrhosis of the liver can impact the body’s ability to absorb vitamin A as it should. The most common symptoms of a vitamin A deficiency include frequent infections, skin irritation, night blindness or hazy vision.
Vitamin C: Typically, vitamin C deficiency is uncommon in developed countries. However, it does affect 7.1% of US adults. Vitamin C is crucial for collagen production in our bodies its lack is linked to damaged skin and slow healing wounds. Easy bruising is one of the most common warning signs for this deficiency.
Vitamin D: Our bodies synthesize sunlight into vitamin D. It’s essential for our immune health and has been linked to a lower risk of infection of COVID-19. A vitamin D deficiency can result in frequent illness, lower bone metabolism and muscle pain.
Vitamin E: Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant that protects your cells from damage. While it is rare in healthy people, a vitamin E deficiency contributes to nerve and muscle damage that can cause vision impairments or loss of feeling in your arms or legs.
What Is The Worst Time To Take A Multivitamin
For many people, the only wrong time to pop that multivitamin is on an empty stomach, especially if they tend to have a sensitive system.
“Sometimes, taking a multivitamin can upset someone’s stomach if they take it without food,” says Jamie Alan, Ph.D., an associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University.
Ferira concurs with this important caveat: “For some people, the morning is simply not an ideal time to take their multivitamin because some individuals’ stomachs can’t tolerate such a hefty mineral load in the initial hours of the day. I know I can’t. Personalized nutrition honors these individual differences and pivots one’s approach. For me, my daily multi is taken every day with my lunch.”
Vitamin C, iron, zinc, and other minerals, in particular, can be harsh for an empty GI system to process. : to ensure they’re gentle on your stomach and absorbed as effectively as possible.*
One other consideration: Some vitamins, like vitamin B12, can have an energizing effect in some people and therefore have the potential to interfere with your sleep, Alan says.*
If you notice that taking your multivitamin later in the day leaves you staring at the ceiling come bedtime, try switching your routine to the morning or midday, she suggests.
Also Check: Is It Bad To Not Take Prenatal Vitamins While Pregnant
What The Science Shows
Dietary supplement is an umbrella term that includes everything from vitamins and minerals to botanicals and biosimilar products . For the most part, though, people use “supplement” to mean an individual vitamin or mineral preparation or a multivitamin .
Even though supplements are popular, there is limited evidence that they offer any significant health benefits. In fact, a study published online May 28, 2018, by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that the four most commonly used supplements multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin C did not protect against cardiovascular disease.
So why do so many people take supplements if the health benefits are negligible or nonexistent for the average, healthy person? “People often think of them as something extra they can do to be sure their basic nutritional needs are covered,” says Dr. Manson. There’s also a possible placebo effect to taking supplements, she adds. “People feel healthier if they do something they believe makes them healthy.”
The greatest issue with supplements is that they are not regulated by the FDA. “Supplements can appear on the shelf without having to prove they offer any benefits,” says Dr. Manson. “With limited regulation and oversight, it’s also difficult to know for certain that the supplement contains the ingredients on the label and is free of contaminants.”
Should You Take Dietary Supplements
A Look at Vitamins, Minerals, Botanicals and More
When you reach for that bottle of vitamin C or fish oil pills, you might wonder how well theyll work and if theyre safe. The first thing to ask yourself is whether you need them in the first place.
More than half of all Americans take one or more dietary supplements daily or on occasion. Supplements are available without a prescription and usually come in pill, powder or liquid form. Common supplements include vitamins, minerals and herbal products, also known as botanicals.
People take these supplements to make sure they get enough essential nutrients and to maintain or improve their health. But not everyone needs to take supplements.
Its possible to get all of the nutrients you need by eating a variety of healthy foods, so you dont have to take one, says Carol Haggans, a registered dietitian and consultant to NIH. But supplements can be useful for filling in gaps in your diet.
Some supplements may have side effects, especially if taken before surgery or with other medicines. Supplements can also cause problems if you have certain health conditions. And the effects of many supplements havent been tested in children, pregnant women and other groups. So talk with your health care provider if youre thinking about taking dietary supplements.
Theres little evidence that any supplement can reverse the course of any chronic disease, says Hopp. Dont take supplements with that expectation.
You May Like: What Vitamins Do Vegans Need Most
When Is The Best Time To Take Multivitamins
Multivitamins can be trickier: They often contain both water- and fat-soluble vitamins. The best time to take a multivitamin is with food so any fat can help with absorption. You can also drink a water-based beverage to wash it all down, notes Dr. Perez-Gallardo. But the drawback is that your body wont absorb the water-soluble vitamins as well as fat-soluble ones.
The reverse is true when you take a multivitamin on an empty stomach with water your body cant properly absorb the fat-soluble vitamins. You could also end up with an upset stomach. So for full absorption, Dr. Perez-Gallardo recommends taking water- and fat-soluble vitamins separately.
Take Vitamins A E And K With Meals
The fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, E, D and K. These vitamins are absorbed through the walls of the small intestine and stored in your body’s fatty tissues. The absorption of these vitamins â except vitamin D â is greatly improved when they are taken at mealtime with a food that contains a little fat. Take your fat-soluble vitamin A, E or K supplement at lunch with a salad dressed with vinegar and olive oil or at dinner with a piece of fatty fish such as salmon. Deficiency in these vitamins is rare, so only take a supplement if your doctor has suggested it.
You May Like: What Is Vitamin B6 Called
What Is The Best Time To Take Vitamins
Not only is it important to know how to take vitamins, but knowing when to take them also makes a difference. Many people prefer taking vitamins first thing in the morning, before eating breakfast and getting started with their day. Others may prefer a different time of day. Consider creating a daily schedule that works best with your lifestylesometimes remembering to take vitamins daily can be the biggest hurdle.
Vitamins that are water-soluble versus fat-soluble should also be treated differently. A-fat soluble vitamin supplement like vitamin E, for instance, should never be taken on an empty stomach. In order for our digestive systems to absorb vitamin E, there needs to be some fat present.viiiThis makes vitamin E a great supplement to take with meals, unlike iron, which can interfere with certain foods like cheese, yogurt, eggs, milk, spinach, tea, coffee, or whole-grain breads.ix
Do you typically coordinate taking your vitamins with your workout? Some suggest that the best time to take vitamins is after a workout, not before, as the vitamins may move around in your stomach and trigger gastric acid production, which causes heartburn and acid reflux.x
Find the right vitamin for you using our product recommendation tool. For additional resources, check out the Learn Center with more articles on vitamins & minerals.
Other Facts About Vitamins
Only chelated mineral supplements can be taken without food. Chelation occurs when a mineral has been bound to an acid, so it does not rely on the stomach acid to break it down. Calcium citrate and magnesium glycinate are the main examples.
Some nutrient dynamic duos include vitamin D to boost calcium absorption and vitamin C to boost iron absorption. Thats why taking in these nutrients simultaneously via supplements or boosting with food sources is ideal. A classic example is having your iron supplements with a glass of orange juice to get the absorption-boosting effects of vitamin C.
Calcium can affect our bodys absorption of iron, zinc and magnesium. I would, therefore, suggest that we take any calcium supplements at a different meal than any iron supplements or multivitamin. Also, note that our body absorbs calcium more effectively when we take 600 milligrams or less at a time.
Fibre is another nutrient that we would want to take apart from other supplements and medications because it interferes with absorption. I recommend doing so before bed if we are not taking anything else at that time.
The recommended dosage for Vitamin C is 200 to 500 mg per day. Vitamin C is water-soluble and any amount not used by the body quickly passes out of it. Consider higher dosages if we are under extra stress. Vitamin C can help our body absorb iron better, so if your doctor has recommended you take extra iron, you should take your vitamin C at the same time.
Don’t Miss: What Should Prenatal Vitamins Have In Them
Who Benefits From Taking Multivitamins
Even the best quality diet might not be enough to help you meet all of your nutritional needs. Thats because not all foods found in grocery stores, including even healthy foods like vegetables and fruits, are rich in nutrients if they were grown in poor quality soil or aren’t very fresh when you eat them.
Therefore, multivitamins can help to fill in nutritional gaps in your diet if you are unable to meet your needs through your diet alone. Multivitamins are also often recommended for people following restrictive diets, such as those on low-calorie, low-carb or vegan diets.
Additionally, theres good reason for most aging adults and pregnant women, who require higher intakes of some nutrients, to regularly take multivitamins.
Overall, multivitamins offer benefits such as support for: bone health, cardiovascular function, healthy immune system function, healthy energy levels, and much more.
Recommended Sodium Intake For Older Adults
Sodium is another important mineral. In most Americans diets, sodium primarily comes from salt . Whenever you add salt to your food, you’re adding sodium. But the Dietary Guidelines shows that most of the sodium we eat doesnt come from our saltshakers its added to many foods during processing or preparation. We all need some sodium, but too much over time can lead to high blood pressure, which can raise your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
How much sodium is okay? People 51 and older should reduce their sodium intake to 2,300 mg each day. That is about one teaspoon of salt and includes sodium added during manufacturing or cooking as well as at the table when eating. If you have high blood pressure or prehypertension, limiting sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day, about 2/3 teaspoon of salt, may be helpful. Preparing your own meals at home without using a lot of processed foods or salt will allow you to control how much sodium you get. Try using less salt when cooking, and dont add salt before you take the first bite. If you make this change slowly, you will get used to the difference in taste. Also look for grocery products marked low sodium, unsalted, no salt added, sodium free, or salt free. Also check the Nutrition Facts Label to see how much sodium is in a serving.
Read Also: How Much Vitamin D Can You Take In One Day
When Is The Best Time To Take Vitamins: Conclusion
Vitamin and mineral supplements wont work unless you take them daily. Some specific vitamins, minerals, and supplements have their golden windows that help you ease irritation or maybe even increase their effectiveness, but the most important thing you should do is be consistent.
You should also talk to your doctor and see if some supplements interfere with your medications. Depending on which vitamins you take, you should get them in the morning or the afternoon.
The best thing you can do is to develop the habit of taking them. Make them a part of your morning or bedtime routine. That way, youll ensure that youre consistent with your supplementation.
Who Should Take Multivitamins
Adults may benefit the most from taking multivitamins. Absorption of vitamin B12 and vitamin D decreases with age, so adults should take supplements of these vitamins.
People eating vegan and vegetarian diets should also take vitamin and nutritional supplements. This is because their diets usually do not have enough omega-3s, vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron, or calcium.
There is limited evidence regarding the benefits of taking vitamin supplements. But if you’re prescribed a supplement for any vitamin deficiency, remember to ask your doctor or pharmacist when it should be taken. They will let you know the best time to take it for optimal absorption.
Don’t Miss: Can You Take Vitamin D Everyday