Getting the most out of your Supplements

After having a conversation with someone about their supplement intake I got thinking – are people getting the most out of their supplements? Many people will take all their supplement...

After having a conversation with someone about their supplement intake I got thinking – are people getting the most out of their supplements?

Many people will take all their supplement in one go (with their breakfast for example) for the sake of ease – but is this the best way? If we look at vitamin C for arguments sake (but applies to almost all water soluble nutrients):

Vitamin C supplements, and some multivitamins contain 100’s of milligrams of vitamin C which the body cannot store. Only a certain amount of vitamin C can circulate in the blood before it gets filtered out by the kidneys and passes out in the urine. The amount of vitamin C the body can hold in circulation will vary from person to person depending on size and demand in the body, but it will almost never be in excess of 1000mg, and is usually no more than 500mg. So, if someone is taking 1000+ mg of vitamin C in the morning, a significant amount of that will quickly pass out in the urine and will not be utilized by the body. The amount of vitamin C ‘wasted’ will be increased if your breakfast contains a source of vitamin C such as orange juice.

However, in the afternoon/ evening/ after exercise, the amount of vitamin C in circulation will have decreased and the body may be in demand for vitamin C, yet there will not be another influx of vitamin C until the next morning – not ideal, but not detrimental.

In an ideal world, the dosage of vitamin C (and all nutrients) will be spread gradually throughout the day in order for the body to make the most of them. Of course, this isn’t easy to do for everyone to do, especially with a busy schedule, but it is something to think about.

Image courtesy of Bill Brooks

I hope you enjoy the site, and like what we have worked hard to create, any feedback is very much welcome, after all this site is for you! Graduate of Nutrition & Food Science (Bsc) at Reading Uni.
    • Agi Hasni

      Hi. I love your articles. Have helped me so much.
      I’m on a restrictive diet at present . Atkins type and need to supplement my diet.
      I am leptin and insulin resistant. This is why I have chosen this diet to lose weight. I’m currently 49 yrs old.
      I am opting for Emerald Isle triple kelp and green pastures fish oil. I also need additional vitamins and am looking for advice re single vitamin and minerals and suggestions how to combine them and when to take them . Any advice would be great and advice on product please.
      I’ve a fatty liver and vit d deficient according to gp and have had a full hysterectomy
      Many thanks

      • Hi Agi,

        Glad you like the site!

        Can’t go wrong with fermented cod liver oil, but you may also be interested their other product, which is a blend of butter oil and fermented cod liver oil. Very nutritious!

        Regarding other vitamins – food is always first, and supplements are only there to supplement your diet, not replace. Hard to comment on what you may or may not need without more information about your diet, but you might want to look at vitamin C and turmeric supplements. They are great overall health promoters.

        • Agi Hasni

          Hi. I am choosing the ketogenic diet in order to lose weight. As mentioned I am leptin and insulin resistant and this diet is supposedly helpful and has worked well in the past . I consume moderate protein in line with lean body mass goal and restrict my carbs to 15-20 grammes of net carbs a day and eat fats until full. I eat eggs each day 2-3 eat chicken breast mainly with a little red meat once a week and trying to add fish.
          I am eating about 50 g weight of green leafy veg and 50g of mushroom and 60g of Cherry tomatoes and sometimes a few walnuts or almonds . It’s all about low sugar. I do have about 100-200ml full fat milk and eat grassfed butter and olive oil, coconut oils too. Eat so me cheeses. On 1200 calories, you can tell it’s not much food.
          I agree totally that you should get nutrients via food. I’ve always been skeptics of supplements. Sadly food is also unsafe from hormones and GMo fed livestock.
          As with herbs etc , purity is everything. The government allows us to be poisoned by the food and pharmaceutical companies. So unless I farm on the purest earth, it’s not good.
          I want to protect my bones as I’ve lost mass post hysterectomy and as vit d low, my liver is also fatty .
          Bone health
          Fatty liver
          Slow metabolism
          Energy as feel 100 and skin and muscles need rejuvenating
          Constant aches and pains
          Restless legs
          I also have lower disc problems .
          While trying to lose Weight and grow accustomed to limiting refined carbs once at goal weight, I must supplement .
          As your article stated, multi vits fight each other. I’ve seen some combination recommendations but not sure how to arrange the whole thing
          Was hoping you might help me. Or anyone work out how to combine my supplements. How to decide when to take them

          I am also a 24/7 shift worker and I’m drained and body messed up.
          Help!

          • Hi Agi,

            Certainly look at the fermented cod liver oil and butter oil blend product – not much compares with it.

            Sounds like you are looking to follow a Primal-esque diet which is awesome. Have a look into Primal Nutrition by Mark Sisson – he makes some very good quality products, but you do pay for it.

            Regarding supps:

            – Always take them with food.
            – Spread them throughout the day if possible.
            – The green pastures blend will cover you for vit D, A, K and omega -3s.
            – You may want to get a vit C supp – try and get a wholefood one, or at least with some citrus bioflavinoids.
            – A turmeric/ curcumin supp may help with aches and pains. Try just turmeric, but if you feel you need something stronger, go for a curcumin + bioperine.
            – Energy is always a tough one to address, especially on calorie restrictuive diets. Personally, I am a fan of fresh ground coffee. A good B complex can help, but it will largly be trial and error on your part for this. Some people also say that CoQ10 or ubiquinol can help too.

            Hope this helps and at least provides a good starting point!

            • Agi Hasni

              Thanks Craig. I’ll look into it

    The Health Cloud was created in December 2011 by Craig and Morg who have been friends since high school. Our focus is to educate our readers with unbiased health articles and on the side we run our own online health shop. This website is for you, so drop us a comment or send us a tweet, we always take the time to reply!