Timing is everything. That’s particularly true when it comes to certain nutritional supplements. We’re here to show you when to take supplements so you can get the most out of them.
Here are several common types of supplements and how to always hit the bull’s eye.
Almost everyone takes multivitamins. Multivitamin supplements have major fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and water soluble vitamins B and C. Fat soluble vitamins are preferably taken with food containing fat (animal or vegetable fat, not greasy sausages or bacon). Vitamins B and C can cause nausea when taken with a light meal, hence they must be taken with a solid meal.
On the other hand, vitamin B12 is best taken on an empty stomach. For instance, if you’re taking an energy drink containing B12, it’s best to take it during mid-training session or mid-morning or afternoon on an empty stomach.
To sum it up, take your multi with the largest solid food meal of the day – regardless of whether that’s breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Must-try: Formula 2 Multivitamin Complex
Calcium and other bone formulas are two important minerals for active individuals. Calcium and Magnesium should always go hand in hand (with a ratio of 1:2) prior to exercising. Take minerals during your pre-workout meal as these are boosted by consuming meals.
Make sure to take one dose before bed again as these help with sleep and muscle relaxation.
Must-try: Xtra-Cal Advanced
Iron supplements are essential for active individuals, especially females. Take iron in mid-morning or mid-afternoon on an empty stomach for optimal absorption. Take a light meal/snack if you become nauseous or experience stomach upset.
Note: Take iron individually from other nutritional supplements as it can impede with absorption, especially calcium and vitamin E.
Fish oil and omega 3 supplements must be taken with your main or primary meal of the day, the same time you take your multivitamin supplement as fat takes longer time to be emptied from the stomach.
Note: If you don’t take a multi, take your fish oil with vitamin D and if your main meal is directly prior to a workout, take fish oil during dinner.
Must-try: Herbalifeline Omega 3 Fish Oil
Take high-fiber supplements with your main pre-workout or pre-race meal but move meal 3 to 4 hours earlier before doing something physically-demanding or take it early in the day before exercising.
Probiotics contain acidophilus and lactobacillus (essential for a healthy digestive system, treating Candida and restoring the intestinal flora). They must be taken on an empty stomach or 2 to 3 hours after your final meal of the day.
Antioxidants fight oxidative stress. But taking them before working out can reduce their effect as it decreases the body’s natural defence mechanism against stress. Thus, take antioxidants with your main meal of the day – in moderation and as far as possible from a workout session.
Protein shakes and supplements can be taken anytime – post workout, with breakfast (or as a breakfast on the go for protein shakes) and before bedtime.
Creatine and Glutamine
Creatine and glutamine helps build and increase lean body mass and boost strength, ideal for active individuals and body builders.
Take Creatine 30 minutes before and after working out. For glutamine, it is best taken upon waking, before bed and 30 minutes to an hour after exercising.
Supplement Time Table
To make it easier for you, we've created a table to help you correctly time your supplements.
By referring to this guide, when to take supplements and what is the best time to take vitamins and other health supplements are two questions you never have to worry about again!
Shoot us an e-mail if you have questions about when to take supplements.
Rooting for you,
~ The HSO Team ~
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