Are vitamins necessary, or are they just a waste of money?
If you’re taking multivitamins because you think they balance out your unhealthy eating habits, you won’t reap the vitamin benefits you’re expecting. Eating right, working out, and getting enough sleep is still the way to go if you want to be healthier.
That doesn’t mean, however, that all supplements are ineffective. While vitamins C and D and calcium do not protect against heart disease, there is some evidence that folic acid and B-complex vitamins lower the risk of stroke.
A combination of vitamins C and E, zinc, copper, and carotenoids, can also help slow down macular degeneration progression. Those with osteoporosis will also benefit from supplementing with vitamin D and calcium.
Now, if your doctor recommends supplementation, there are specific tips you need to keep in mind. Here are five of them.
1. Understand How Vitamins Interact With Your Other Meds
One reason it’s crucial to consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking over-the-counter supplements is dangerous drug interactions.
If you’re taking maintenance medications, you need to know how these will interact with vitamins and minerals. Can a supplement make your meds more or less effective? If it’s the former, you could be at risk for an overdose, while with the latter, you may not be optimally controlling your condition.
2. Timing Is Everything When It Comes to Enjoying Vitamin Benefits
Knowing the benefits of vitamins is good, but mastering when to supplement is better.
For example, did you know you should take B vitamins in the morning? Since these nutrients have an energizing effect, it’s best to take them during the first half of the day.
Meanwhile, for a more relaxing sleep, consider taking calcium and magnesium at night. Also, if you’re taking a separate iron supplement, don’t take it together with calcium. Instead, take it with vitamin C for better absorption.
3. Mind Your Beverages
To enjoy the health benefits of vitamins, be sure to take supplements with water. Skip the soda, tea, or coffee, especially within 2 hours of taking your multivitamins.
These beverages contain polyphenols, which prevent vitamins and minerals from being absorbed in the body.
4. Know How Fat-Soluble Vitamins Differ From Water-Soluble Vitamins
Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble vitamins. They can accumulate in the body and are best taken with meals. Keep in mind that meals containing fat will increase the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
Water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C and B-complex vitamins, on the other hand, don’t build up in the body. Your body will excrete most of them, usually by urination.
If you want to get vitamin C benefits, for instance, you may need to take more than one capsule or tablet a day. To understand how vitamin C works in the body, this information from Vita Crate can help.
5. Confirm You Have a Vitamin Deficiency
You know the benefits of taking vitamin C, D, E, etc., but is supplementation right for you?
Remember, you can get most nutrients from a balanced diet. Sometimes, taking more vitamins than needed can cause more harm than good. To be sure you’re not risking your health, get a blood test.
Once you confirm you have a nutritional deficiency, your doctor can prescribe the right vitamins to correct the problem.
Take Charge of Your Health
Learning about vitamin benefits is one way to be more proactive about your health. Just make sure to consult your doctor and get a confirmatory test for nutritional deficiency if you can.
For more health tips and advice, check out our other posts.