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.
Folic Acid Supplement In Pregnancy
If you’re pregnant, trying for a baby or could get pregnant, it’s recommended that you take a 400 microgram folic acid supplement every day until you’re 12 weeks pregnant. Folic acid supplements need to be taken before you get pregnant, so start taking them before you stop using contraception or if there’s a chance you might get pregnant.
Folic acid can help to prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
Find out more about vitamins, supplements and nutrition in pregnancy.
How To Buy Vitamins
Supplements are not regulated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration or USDA. So how do you know youre getting safe supplements?
Patton recommends doing the following before buying:
- Consult your doctor. Before adding any supplements, make sure you talk to your doctor to make sure you need them and that they wont interact with any medications.
- Look for third-party testing. Some companies will send their products to an outside company to verify that the ingredients are accurate.
- Look for the USP seal. The United States Pharmacopeia is an independent, nonprofit organization whose goal is to supply safe, quality products.
- Consider ingredients. Stick with the basics. Vitamins with added ingredients or claims arent necessary and can cause side effects.
So while supplements can be helpful, be mindful of your diet and what you eat. Dont use supplements to replace healthy eating, says Patton.
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‘what’s The Best Time Of Day To Take Vitamins’
If youre taking vitamin and mineral supplements in hopes of boosting your health, you may have wondered, Is there a best time of day to take vitamins?
The answer depends a bit on the type of vitamin or mineral youre taking — and also whether you take any prescription medications :
- You can take multivitamins and individual water-soluble vitamins like the B group at any time, with or without food, so taking them first thing in the morning is fine and can help you get in the habit of taking them regularly.
- Take individual fat-soluble vitamins like A and E with food, such as at dinner, to help your body absorb the vitamin and to avoid the queasiness those vitamins can cause when taken on an empty stomach.
- If you take statin drugs, thyroid medication, or antibiotics, ask your doctor or pharmacist if you need to take your supplements a few hours after your medications to avoid any interactions.
- If youre taking both a multivitamin and individual supplements, like calcium, space them apart by a few hours so your body can fully absorb them.
If you and your doctor agree that you would benefit from supplements, knowing what time of day to take your vitamin and mineral supplements can help you maximize their effectiveness — and avoid dangerous interactions with any prescription medications you take.
Iron And Magnesium: With Dinner
Iron can cause upset stomach, while magnesium can have a laxative effect thats less than ideal in the middle of your workday. Caffeine also reduces the amount of iron your body is able to absorb, notes the NIH, making it a bad pair with your morning matcha latte. So take both iron and magnesium with a meal, preferably dinner, to slow down the digestive process and reduce the chance that theyll irritate your stomach. Anytime you think a supplement might be causing upset stomach, having it with food or later on in the day can be easier than on an empty stomach, says Brissette.
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How Do You Take Vitamins
If youve chosen a chewable gummy or tablet, then the answer to this question is simple: chew the supplement as you would food. Water is not required for taking chewable or gummy supplements.
If youre taking a swallowable supplement, the answer is trickier, especially if youre someone who doesnt like swallowing tablets and capsules. Research has shown that the easiest way to swallow a pill depends on whether your vitamin is in capsule or tablet form.
Reintroducing Supplements Following A Fast
Once you’ve completed a fasting period, it’s crucial to reintroduce high-quality supplements and nutrient-dense foods before anything else. As we mentioned, our body is more adept at absorbing nutrients following a fast, meaning that the first food and supplement sources will be broken down and absorbed at a much faster rate than they would in a nonfasted system. Additionally, consuming a multivitamin with the first food source introduced will improve the absorption of the nutrients while also limiting the potential negative side effects that come with supplementing on an empty stomach.
Another important note on intake choices after a fast involves the actual physical characteristics of the food and supplements. It’s best to reintroduce soft, and easy to digest items that will not shock a system that has been at rest for an extended period of time. This idea also applies to supplements, since our digestive system, which already tends to struggle to break down pills and tablets, will be better set up to absorb vitamins in an alternative form.
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Fasting, in its many forms, can be incredibly beneficial as a total-body reset. However, while it may be tempting to supplement a fasting window, it’s best to “veto” our vitamins until its time to eat.
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When Is The Best Time To Take Vitamin C And Vitamin B12
And since it can be energizing, Dr. Perez-Gallardo says that the best time to take vitamin B12 is in the morning, so it wont affect your sleep.
Other Vitamin Timing Faqs
FYI: Certain vitamins work better together. Vitamin D and magnesium help your body absorb calciumwhich is why youll often see the three paired in the same pill. Vitamin B12 and vitamin C help your body process folic acid, while vitamin C also improves iron absorption. Thats especially important for vegetarians, because the iron in plant-based foods is absorbed only half as well as iron found in meat, fish, and poultry, says Brissette. The vitamins in foods count, tooso consider downing your iron supplement with a glass of vitamin C-rich OJ.
Brissette adds that some prenatals and multis require you to take two or three pillsand you cant just swallow all three at once and be done with it. The reason theyre separated is because its meant to be taken at different times of the day, she says. If remembering to take a supplement multiple times a day sounds daunting, you may want to opt for a vitamin that contains a full days dose in one capsule. And if you’re looking to keep things simple …a one-a-day multi might be your best bet.
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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.”
Can Vitamin Supplements Boost The Immune System
âThe evidence in the scientific literature to support vitamin supplements is pretty dreadful,â says Tim. âI would say there’s absolutely no data to support most of them, with only two or three possible exceptions.â
âOne exception would be zinc,” he explains, “but that data which allows any supplement with a trace of zinc to make health claims is about 20 or 30 years old and hasn’t been updated so it could be flawed.â
Indeed, recent studies have failed to prove that taking zinc supplements can decrease your risk of catching respiratory infections.
âThere was also one report about vitamin D with a summary of a few bad studies to show it could help the immune system,â adds Tim. âBut these are mostly observational studies and rigorous vitamin D supplementation trials for various conditions have proven that itâs not helpful.â
Whatâs more, several studies have shown that vitamin D supplementation does not reduce rates of colds and flu. It also did not lower the risk of catching swine flu during the 2009-10 epidemic. In fact, looking at it the other way around, low vitamin D may just be a marker of being less healthy.
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The Vitamin Alone Is Not The Answer
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 D Is The Exception
Vitamin D is also a fat-soluble vitamin, but unlike vitamins A, E and K, vitamin D deficiency is common, affecting 30 to 50 percent of the population, according to a paper published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure optimal absorption of your supplement if your doctor has advised you take one. But that shouldn’t be too difficult, for vitamin D absorption isn’t enhanced or inhibited by food, reports Dr. John Cannell, founder of the Vitamin D Council. Cannell says the most important factor is getting enough to get your vitamin D levels up to 50 to 60 ng/ml. So schedule your vitamin D supplement for a time of day when you know you won’t forget to take it.
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Most Older Adults Take Some Kind Of Over
Over-the-counter dietary supplements are big business more than 90,000 products generate about $30 billion every year in the United States. Older adults make up a big part of these sales, too. A survey of almost 3,500 adults ages 60 and older published Oct. 1, 2017, in The Journal of Nutrition found that 70% use a daily supplement , 54% take one or two supplements, and 29% take four or more.
But are these pills good medicine, or a waste of money?
“Supplements are never a substitute for a balanced, healthful diet,” says Dr. JoAnn Manson, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and professor of epidemiology at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “And they can be a distraction from healthy lifestyle practices that confer much greater benefits.”
Should You Take A Vitamin Every Day
As a kid, popping a single chewy, sugary multivitamin alongside breakfast was easy. But as an adult, navigating the world of vitamin supplements is more complicated. The sheer number of options available at the store, combined with confusing labels and a lack of nutrition knowledge, can turn the simple task of bettering your health into a seemingly impossible feat.
Thats why we chatted with two experts to help clear up the vitamin confusion. Read on to learn what vitamins are, why theyre important and what role they play in a healthy diet.
Its important to understand the difference between vitamins and vitamin supplements.
Dr. Marc Leavey, a primary care internist at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, described vitamins as micronutrients, or chemicals which act to promote or expedite biochemical reactions within the body. The majority of vitamins you need come from the environment and the food you eat, he said. Supplements, on the other hand, are the pills you can purchase at the store that contain specific doses of vitamins and minerals, like Vitamin D, iron, biotin and more.
Amy Gorin, a registered dietitian nutritionistand owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City area, said vitamins along with minerals and other nutrients are essential for good health. For example, Vitamin C can improve your immune health, while potassium can help stabilize your blood pressure, she explained.
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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.
Always Talk With A Professional
While the nutritionists we spoke to agree that supplements can be helpful, it’s important to always talk with your healthcare provider before jumping in with a vitamin regimen. Most vitamin supplements contain 100 percent of the recommended daily amount, so if you’re already consuming a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables throughout the day, you would be taking in way more than the National Institutes of Health recommends.
Unfortunately when it comes to vitamins, you really can have too much of a good thing.
According to the National Institutes of Health, a meta-analysis of studies looking at more than 400,000 people found that a daily vitamin supplement was associated with an increased cancer risk. A separate study of women found that a daily supplement was linked to an increased risk for skin cancer.
Taking vitamin A supplements with beta-carotene has been proven to increase the risk of lung cancer in study participants. In one study, the increased risk was a whopping 28 percent, which caused the researchers to actually end the study early.
Calcium supplements have not been proven to improve bone density. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that participants taking a daily calcium supplement were more likely to suffer a hip fracture.
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Vitamin D: Too Much Can Harm Your Kidneys
Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the body, and getting enough is central to health and well-being, offering the promise of protecting bones and preventing bone diseases like osteoporosis. Supplemental vitamin D is popular because its difficult to get enough from food. Also, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes, our bodies make vitamin D when bare skin is exposed to sunlight, but increased time spent indoors and widespread use of sunblock has minimized the amount of vitamin D many of us get from sun exposure.
But enthusiasm for vitamin D supplements is outpacing the evidence. As it turns out, when healthy women take low doses of vitamin D it does not necessarily prevent them from breaking bones, according to a U.S. Preventive Services Task Force report published in May 2013 in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
And taking high doses is not a good option. In healthy people, vitamin D blood levels higher than 100 nanograms per milliliter can trigger extra calcium absorption and lead to muscle pain, mood disorders, abdominal pain, and kidney stones, notes the Cleveland Clinic. It may also raise the risk of heart attack and stroke.
More is not necessarily better when it comes to micronutrient supplements, says Manson.
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