to Take Your Vitamins
BY JOANN BALLY CSCS *
you've got all those little bottles of vitamins. What do you do with them?
Take with meals, between meals? Alone, with others? You may have heard
conflicting advice. And no, you shouldn't cop out by choosing a product
just because you only have to take one pill. Read on, for some light cast
on this common dilemma.
your multi-vitamin with a meal. The pill stays in the stomach longer and
there's more time for it to break down. You should have a little fat in
the meal to help absorption of the fat soluble vitamins: A or beta
carotene, D, E, and K. This is also true if you're taking any of these
calcium, calcium carbonate, the most common, should be taken with meals.
Calcium citrate can be taken with or between meals. Spread out your dosage
over the day, taking no more than 500 mg at a time, as you may not be able
to absorb more. Don't take your supplement with wheat bran cereal, because
wheat bran can impede calcium absorption. You need Vitamin D for calcium
to be absorbed, and most people should probably supplement to reach the D
requirement. Calcium also impedes iron absorption, so if you need an iron
supplement, don't take it with calcium. If you're taking prescription
medication, don't take it within 30 minutes of your supplement to prevent
interference of one with the other.
half your vitamin C with breakfast and half with dinner. Chewable C may
damage tooth enamel. If you supplement, do not take more than the RDA for
minerals. Be careful with the fat soluble vitamins, which can stay in your
system and build up. Water soluble vitamins, B-complex and C, are excreted
in excess, up to a certain point, so don't overdose there either. The Bs
work together, so don't just take large doses of one. (Large doses of
niacin to control cholesterol are considered pharmaceutical and need to be
taken under a doctor's supervision.)
a good diet, the average person can, theoretically, get all the vitamins
they need, except for Vitamin E, which is found mostly in fats. Most
people, however, do not get the RDA of folic acid from diet. People over
50 should take extra B12, as decreasing stomach acid may make it difficult
to get from food. Strict vegetarians also should take supplemental B12, as
it is not found in plant foods. Primitive peoples got plenty of nutrients
from their food, but they are thought to have consumed 5000-8000 calories
a day. If your activity level does not support a diet of at least 2000
calories/day, it will be very difficult to get all the nutrients you need
from diet alone.
your supplement has USP on the label, it is certified to meet standards
for dissolving. If it doesn't, you can put it in a cup of white vinegar.
It should dissolve 75% in half an hour. (Those pictures you may have seen
of a whole, undissolved vitamin pill in someone's stomach are suspect,
especially since there is usually an implication that only one brand
really dissolves.) Expensive vitamins do not necessarily dissolve better
or are absorbed better than inexpensive ones. Timed-release and chelated
supplements have not been proven to be better absorbed.
natural and synthetic vitamins are chemically identical. The exception is
Vitamin E. Although most of the studies showing beneficial effects of
Vitamin E were done with the synthetic version, the natural is more
potent. Natural Vitamin E is more expensive, but you can take less (about
half) for the same effect. Natural calcium, from dolomite or oyster shell,
has some danger of contamination, so synthetic versions may be safer. The
citrate type dissolves more readily, although it is less concentrated so
you have to take more pills.
most people, supplementing with an amount equal to the RDA of common
vitamins and minerals is good insurance against a less-than-perfect diet.
If you need more guidance on what to take for your own situation, consult
with a Registered Dietician.
© H & F]
Professional Trainer, Joann Bally, CSCS is also a writer and editor on
fitness subjects, having published articles in several periodicals both
offline & online and now has published her second book. She is also a
feature writer & editor for HEALTHandFITNESS.com.