Supplements can be expensive, especially when you see how many ailments can be cured with them and the benefits you may receive from them. Supplements are also sensitive things, with many factors affecting the absorption & efficiency of them. For these reasons, this guide is here to help you get the most out of your supplements so you can get the best bang for your buck while maximizing your benefits so you can conquer the world.
1. Know When To Take Them
Timing can play a huge role in the efficiency of your supplements. Your body works very differently throughout the day from natural processes such as eating and sunlight. Some supplements such as Zinc, are absorbed better in the morning before any food. Stimulants or performance supplements should be taken some time before your actual activity, as it takes time to digest and reach the intestine where it is actually absorbed.
2. Know What To Take Them With or Without & Mix As Little As Possible
Although some supplements have been researched extensively on their benefits and side effects, one thing still largely unknown is the interaction between them. Just like medication, try to mix them as little as possible. It isn’t so much as danger as it is efficiency. Calcium & magnesium compete for absorption for example, meaning you’ll absorb less of them if you take them together. Mixing some might cause stomach distress, bloating, headaches, or not be absorbed well at all. If you do actually take medication, namely heart & blood medications, check the label and ask your doctor. Do your research, check your medication, and stay safe & efficient.
3. Keep Your Schedule Consistent
Most supplements are passive and work by building them up in your body as opposed to a one-time-pop. Vitamins, minerals, and adaptogens all work like this. Due to this, it is important to take them at the same time each day, every day. Every 24 hours your body uses and excretes things like minerals & B-Vitamins, making it difficult to increase their levels inside your body if you take them every 36 hours and skip some days all together. These supplements also take time to see benefits, making it important to stay consistent the whole way. Just like you need to eat a lot every day to build muscle, you need to take your vitamins every day to improve your health & see benefits.
4. Avoid Stomach Irritants
Some foods & substances can wreck havoc on your, despite even being beneficial in some cases. Caffeine especially has been shown to decrease the absorption of many nutrients. Vinegars, Barbecue Sauces, Acids, Mustard, and Spices decrease your appetite & irritate your stomach. While some of these substances are beneficial, even for digestion, they may interfere with the absorption of nutrients. Alcohol is also a potent stomach irritant and kills the important bacteria in your gut, making it something you should avoid in addition to it’s other negatives. Take your supplements before your morning coffee, burger, or Chinese Food.
5. Don’t Take Them Cold or Hot Food & Drink
Temperature plays a big role in digestion and can interact with supplements. Our bodies naturally warm up when we eat to help digest food better. Cold water or foods cool our temperature, which isn’t optimal for digestion. Keep your gut warm and your supplements will absorb much better. On the opposite spectrum, hot food or drinks is not good because it can destroy nutrients. B-Vitamins & Probiotics are destroyed by heat, meaning you shouldn’t take either coffee, tea, or soup. Let your food cool and you’ll have much more efficient supplementation.
6. Quality Over Quantity
What you do in the store is just as important as what you do in your home. Quality obviously plays a huge role in the efficiency of your supplements, but it doesn’t have to cost twice as much either. Many quality supplement brands such as NOW Foods or CanadianProtein offer great quality and cost roughly the same or less than their generic grocery store competitors. Buying from iherb.com also allows you to buy quality supplements for a great price. Avoiding proprietary blends, right out poor quality products, and good forms/extracts of supplements will do wonders for getting results from them.
7. Store Them Properly
Storage habits play a huge role in the quality & lifespan of your supplements. Light, temperature, and moisture will make or break them, no matter the quality. It’s always best to reduce the amount of light they receive and keep them as cool as possible. Black or stained containers, or jars wrapped in tinfoil should be the only things you use. Supplements kept in a drawer or a container lined with foil are alright too. Any sort of liquid, probiotics, and B-Vitamins should be kept in the fridge to avoid deteriorating. Fish Oil or any healthy oil for that matter goes especially rancid when exposed or light & heat, making them do more harm than good when ingested.
8. Fix Your Gut
The absorption of nutrients happens in the gut, a sensitive organ and biome of bacteria. Pretty much everything you do affects it from stress to eating sugar and sleep habits. For most people, grains & dairy can be especially detrimental to it’s health & balance of good bacteria. Sugar should also be avoided as it feeds bad bacteria. Different types of fiber are great for the gut as it makes sure food leaves the body as well as feeding the good bacteria in your gut. Alcohol & antibiotics kill gut bacteria, so these should be avoided as much as possible and you should take extra probiotics after. In general, anything that makes you healthier will make your gut healthier too.
Keep all these tips in mind and you’re sure to see and feel much better from whatever you’re taking. Keep up the grind comrades.