Tips for an effective use of vitamins and minerals
How to take and maximize the effect of vitamins and minerals?
Vitamins and minerals are the stepping stones of the human body. Most of us need to take one or more of them, mostly when we’re 40+ years old and the body’s capability to extract them from the food we eat or produce them itself decreases. Unfortunately, the quality of the food we consume has also decreased over the years. Fruits and vegetables go through artificial processes that don’t otherwise exist in nature, whether it’s by combining different species together or by spraying them with pesticides. Animals that are being treated with antibiotics and steroids bring a less nutritional meat to our tables.
Most of us take vitamins and minerals because someone recommended us to or because we were instructed to by our doctor / naturopath. We also usually take them all at once, so we won’t forget – we want to help our bodies but also not waste valuable time on it.
What if I told you, though, that when we take them this way the vitamins and minerals become ineffective or less-effective? With a little more attention and actually not a lot more time you can maximize the effectiveness of the vitamins and minerals that you already need to take. For that matter I’ve gathered here some facts and tips about the right way to take vitamins and minerals.
- It’s best to take minerals in the evening – they get absorbed better in the body, since the evening / night is the body’s natural time to absorb them. Iron though, is an exception to this rule since it’s a stimulating mineral and therefore can create troubles in sleeping.
- The most important minerals are: Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Iron and Potassium. There are also some important trace minerals (their quantity is minuscule but still important): Copper, Phosphorus etc.
- Some minerals get absorbed at the same absorption site as other minerals, therefore, naturally, when they enter the body they compete for the same spot. When this happens it’s best to take those competing minerals separately rather than together in order to allow maximum absorption of both. Some examples: Iron and Zinc’s absorption site in the body is the same, therefore you shouldn’t take both at the same time but rather wait a while between the two (you can take the Iron in the morning and the Zinc at night, for example). Calcium and Magnesium are another great example for this rule.
- Minerals can be taken together with water-soluble vitamins (they dissolve and break down in a watery environment and don’t accumulate in the body): vitamin C and B vitamins. It’s recommended to take Iron with vitamin C since it naturally improves the Iron’s absorption in the body. On the other hand, it is not recommended taking minerals together with vitamins that are soluble in fat (they dissolve and break down at the presence of food, as part of the digestive process): vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin D, vitamin E – it will damage the absorption of both.
- If, for some reason, you need to take Magnesium then I recommend taking Magnesium Citrate, since this combination allows for the Magnesium to be absorbed better in the body.
- If, for some reason, you need to take Zinc then I recommend taking Zinc Picolinate since this combination (Zinc + Picolinic acid) allows for the Zinc to be absorbed better in the body.
You can roughly divide vitamins into two groups: water-soluble vitamins (vitamin C, B vitamins) and vitamins that are soluble in fat (vitamin K, Vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E). Water-soluble vitamins break down quickly in the body while all the surpluses get thrown out by the urinary system, therefore, the body doesn’t keep them in storage. Vitamins that are soluble in fat, on the other hand, accumulate in different places in the body (like the liver, for example), therefore can create some surpluses.
It’s important to take care of this fact when deciding the dosage and duration of use of vitamins that are soluble in fat, since, again, they tend to accumulate in the body so their quantity can become excessive. You should check from time to time if there’s still a need to take the vitamin continuously or it’s possible to start taking it with intervals.
Water-soluble vitamins usually come in the form of different kinds of pills or tablets, while vitamins that are soluble in fat come in the form of different kinds of gelatin capsules.
- You should take separately water-soluble vitamins and vitamins that are soluble in fat in order to insure the best absorption of both. You can take one in the morning and the other in the evening, for example or one in the morning and the other in the afternoon, the most important thing is not to take both of them together.
- vitamins that are soluble in fat should be taken close to meal time since, as I mentioned earlier, their absorption gets done as part of and during the digestive process. If it’s not possible for you to take them close to meal time you can also just take them with some fruit, cookie, cake or anything else that is light. This way the stomach will get something in order to get the digestive process starting and the vitamin could be absorbed better in the body.
- B vitamins are considered to be stimulating vitamins therefore it is recommended to take them in the morning in order for them not to interrupt your sleep.
- Vitamin B12 is the only vitamin from the rest of the B vitamins group that gets absorbed almost entirely in the mouth (oral mucosa), while the food is being chewed. Therefore, it’s best to take it in the form of chewable tablets rather than regular pills which you swallow right away. I know that most pharmaceutical companies include vitamin B12 as part of their Multi-vitamin formula, but once the B12 goes into the stomach it gets destroyed and therefore is ineffective. If you take multi vitamins and know that you have a deficiency in B12 you should take it also separately in the form of chewable tablets.
Three other products which a lot of people use, and you should know how to make the best out of them: Omega 3, Lecithin and the co-enzyme Q10.
These three fall on the same category as vitamins that are soluble in fat since they too come in the form of gelatin capsules and are fat-based. Therefore, they too need to be taken close to meal time or during.
Fish oil (Omega 3) – it is known for it’s strong after-taste that stays even after you’ve already taken it. in order to prevent its after-taste and maximize its effectiveness you should take it during a full meal…right in the middle of it (with preference to lunch which is usually reach in Proteins, fats and carbohydrates).
Same goes for Lecithin.
Co-enzyme – Q10:
Q10 is considered to be stimulating, therefore you should take it in the morning. Those who suffer from a sudden drop of energy during the day can also take in the middle of the day since it improves and elevates the levels of energy in the body (It’s a co-enzyme that takes part in the body’s process of generating energy). This is also why you should never take it in the evening or at night because it can disturb your sleep. This too should be taken close to meal time, not necessarily during, and with the option of taking it together with something light like a fruit or some kind of snack.
Since it tends to oxidize, I strongly recommend choosing a co-enzyme Q10 product that is combined with vitamin E which stabilizes it, prevents its oxidation and maximizes its absorption and activity.
I hope that with this article I managed to create some order in the way you’ll take vitamins and minerals from now on and I wish you all good health!