How to Take Supplements Effectively
How to Take Supplements Effectively
People take supplements for different reasons. However, regardless of what supplements and when a person takes them, the individual wants the supplement to be effective.

They need to know how to take them to achieve this goal. Supplements may be used to provide nutrients the individual doesn't get through their diet or to maintain and improve the user's health. At other times, a person takes a supplement to improve the symptoms they are experiencing. What should you know if you take supplements?  

Food or No Food?

Certain supplements should be taken 30 minutes before a meal or two hours following a meal. This includes amino acids, enzymes, and herbal medicines. 

During digestion, the body breaks down the amino acids found in every protein. If a person takes an amino acid supplement with a meal, the supplement will compete with the protein in the food for absorption. Amino acids many people take today include lysine, tryptophan, cysteine, and arginine. 

A person must know what benefit they want to get from an enzyme when determining when to take this supplement. If the enzyme is used to help the body digest foods, it should be taken right before the individual eats. When the enzyme is being used to treat a condition, however, take it between meals. 

Some people turn to herbal medicines to improve digestion. In this case, take the medicine ten to fifteen minutes before eating, and drink a glass of water when doing so. However, take other herbal medicines between meals because any fiber present in the foods may interfere with the body's ability to absorb the medicine. 

Some herbal medicines contain multiple ingredients. When most of these ingredients are botanicals, take the supplement between meals. If the supplement contains more vitamins and minerals, take it with a meal. 

Are the Silica Packs Needed?

A person might wonder why their bottle of supplements contains a silica pack. Don't throw this pack away. It actually serves a very important purpose in that it helps to prevent the breakdown of the supplements. 

Follow the Usage Instructions

Supplements work best when they are taken as directed. Manufacturers study the specific combination of ingredients and how much of each is needed to produce the desired results. These instructions vary by brand and product, so read the directions on every bottle. 

Pay attention to the directions, as they may recommend that the supplement be taken at a specific time of day. For instance, melatonin supplements provide the best results when taken right before bedtime. Finally, don't take multiple supplements for the same problem. One supplement should be sufficient. 

Will Hot Water Negate the Effects of a Powdered Supplement? 

Powdered supplements should be used with liquids below 120 degrees Fahrenheit. However, consume the drink minutes after mixing it. If water-soluble vitamins are exposed to high temperatures for long periods, they break down. This isn't of concern with fat-soluble vitamins or minerals.

Never mix undenatured whey protein powder with a liquid above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Doing so will damage the naturally occurring immunoglobulins in the power, so the immune system won't receive the expected benefits. 

Which Nutrients are Fat Soluble? 

Individuals need to know which nutrients are fat-soluble and which are water-soluble. For example, vitamins A, D, E, and K are typically fat-soluble. There is a water-soluble form of vitamin E, however, and a fat-soluble form of vitamin C, which is normally water-soluble.

CoQ10 also comes in both fat and water-soluble versions, so there is no easy answer to this question. The person must know what they are buying to ensure they get the desired product, one that is either fat or water-soluble. 

Supplement Breaks

Should a person take supplements continuously? This is a question many people have, and researchers have yet to determine whether breaks in supplement use are beneficial.

For instance, certain experts say a person should cycle through nutrient and botanical regiments, particularly when the regime targets the endocrine or immune system. This is something a person should speak with their doctor about, as the doctor knows their medical history and can provide specific advice for them. 

Speak with the Doctor

Never begin taking a supplement without speaking to the doctor. People use supplements to improve their health, but these products might actually do more harm than good. Interactions with other medications are one concern, and supplement manufacturers rarely share this information. 

For example, garlic and omega-3s interact with many medications, such as blood thinners. St. John's wort reduces the effectiveness of oral contraceptives, and curcumin can interact with antidepressants and antipsychotic medications, lowering the levels of these medications. 

The doctor can also be of help in determining which supplements complement each other and produce enhanced effects. For instance, the doctor may recommend the person take vitamin C and iron together or coenzyme Q10 and fish oil. 

Which Supplements are Needed?

Another topic to discuss with the doctor is which supplements are needed. People often purchase products they don't truly need because they believe the manufacturer's claims of how the product will improve their lives. A person should only use supplements for those areas in which they are truly deficient. 

When the doctor does a blood test, they have a better understanding of what nutrients the person is lacking. This may change over time, which is why annual blood tests are recommended. In addition, women planning to become pregnant need to speak with their doctor about supplements they should take to support the baby's health, such as folic acid. 

Which Supplements Need to Be Refrigerated?

Certain supplements must be refrigerated to maintain their effectiveness. Always keep oils and probiotics in the refrigerator. For other supplements, storing them in a cool, dark place at 72 degrees or below should be sufficient. 

How Much Water Should a Person Drink When Taking a Supplement?

Most people only need enough water to take the supplement safely. However, when taking fiber supplements, drink a minimum of 12 ounces for every tablespoon consumed. This helps to prevent constipation. 

Supplements serve a purpose but only when taken properly. To get the best results from using these products, follow the manufacturer's instructions. This is crucial to success. By doing so, a person can improve their health, feel better, and live a higher quality of life. Who doesn't want that?