It used to be so easy—chew a tasty Flintstone vitamin and be on your way with your day. But it’s time to be a grown-up about the vitamins you’re giving attention to or dismissing altogether.
When it comes to healthy eating, some things are obvious: That deep-fried, bacon-wrapped Snickers isn’t a good idea and ordering a side of fries with every meal isn’t going to speed up your metabolism or put you on the fast track to a bikini body.
Before you stock up your medicine cabinet, here’s what you may not know- but should – about vitamin supplements as a whole.
More is not better
Though society has led us all to believe otherwise, more is not always better. But if you stick to the recommended dosage on the label, you should be in good shape.
Dietary supplements are intended to supplement the diet, not to replace the balance of the variety of foods that are important to health and nourishing the body.
So while your body needs to have key nutrients, too much of some can cause problems.
Your body can produce only vitamin D & vitamin K
The rest of the vitamins enter your body only with the food, both of plant and animal origin.
That is why it is very important to make healthy and varied food choices.
Water is best when taking a multivitamin
Polyphenols in teas, coffee and fresh fruit juices may interfere with proper absorption of vitamins and minerals.
Stick with an ordinary glass of water when taking your vitamins.
Do not combine daily vitamin E and fish oil
Fish oil can be a great belly fat zapper, but listen up! Both of these are blood thinners and can make you bruise or bleed more easily. And if you take a daily aspirin, it does the same thing—so definitely check with your doctor before combining any of these.
Don’t take your vitamins on an empty stomach
Do you usually pop a multivitamin before breakfast? Start waiting until you’ve had something to eat. Taking vitamins on an empty stomach can cause nausea because sometimes your body excretes more acidic digestive juices than needed, just to break down just the supplement by itself—which can irritate the stomach’s lining. If there isn’t any other food to slow down and buffer the digestive juices, the result can be an upset stomach.
B6 may help you sleep
Vitamin B6 is used to make tryptophan and also regulates how much serotonin our brain produces. Serotonin is usually a good thing—it makes us happy!—but it can also make us feel excited and restless. Too much serotonin will cause lower levels of sleep and cause us to wake up frequently. Foods rich in B6 include chickpeas, salmon, and pistachios.
Be careful if you’re taking an iron supplement
Healthy individuals taking high doses of iron supplements can experience an upset stomach, constipation, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and fainting. High doses can also decrease zinc absorption. Extremely high doses of iron (in the hundreds or thousands of mg) can cause organ failure, coma, convulsions, and death.
Vitamin C is critical for tissue repair
Anyone who has had a significant injury or surgery should take extra vitamin C until the skin heals. Consult with your doctor to determine the best dosage for you, but you can check out our guide to the best vitamin C rich foods in the meantime.