When is the best time to take supplements?

Jim Fain

Posted on October 30 2017

veggies and supplements and vitaminsI support our local organic farmers and the healthy/fresh produce we get year round. It is true we all need to get our nutritional needs met first through food choice. You can be sure I do this at my home. But, therapeutic levels of a nutritional supplement may be needed for wellbeing that just can’t be gotten by eating good food. Choosing the right supplement and the right amount is the key to, perhaps, avoiding synthetic medicine.

These days information is stunningly easy to get on any topic making it difficult to sort out differing supplement claims. Even the simple questions of when to take the supplement, with food or not, combining multiple supplements and interaction with medications, sometimes seem unclear. Reminding yourself that supplements are food and not a prescribed drug, helps sort this out.

Align Your Eating Schedule

Knowing the best time to take supplements is best determined by your own eating schedule. Most supplements are best taken with food but a very few should be between meals. Most supplements digest the best when taken with meals. When you eat, your digestive system is going into full gear, so you will get the best benefit. Exceptions to this would be individual amino acids (aminos have “L” in front, like L-Tyrosine or L-Theanine), SAMe and some romantic enhancement supplements. Of course stimulant supplements are best not taken before bedtime and sleep/sedation supplements need to be taken before bedtime. Also, as with anything, allergies happen, this is very uncommon and rarely severe.

Most of us swallow multiple supplements each day. Unlike prescribed drugs, there is little to worry about in terms of interactions. Think about it as though you’re eating at a buffet. Combining food like veggies, bread and protein is only based upon what you want to eat and how you feel after eating. Food supplements are simply more potent sources of certain foods. If taking multiples of supplements, separating (dividing) the dose is best, especially if you want to keep a high level of the nutrient going all day long.

The general rule of food supplementation and using prescribed drugs is that if they do the same thing then don’t use the supplement, as you can overdo. An example of this is using SAMe or 5HTP for depression while taking Paxil or Effexor. This is not a good thing. Of course with your doctor’s agreement the supplement may work better for you, so a trial can be made.

Additionally, a small handful of supplements need extra care such as naringin, creatine, kava and ephedra, so extra guidance with these is a good thing.

I’d be happy to chat with you in person or over the phone about your current prescriptions and what supplements will aid your health the best. You can schedule a consultation here.

– Dr. Fain

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