Published on January 21, 2022

Video Friday: Dr. Susan Brown answers some of the most common questions people have about how and when to take nutrient supplements

Key Points

  • Some supplements may be better taken early in the day and some in the evening
  • It is important to read your supplement label to make sure you are storing and taking supplements correctly
  • There are several tips to help make it easier to take your supplements on a daily basis – see below!

Today’s featured video answers some of the most common questions people ask about taking supplements, such as “Should I take vitamins with food,” “Should they be taken at certain times of day,” “Are there any nutrients that shouldn’t be taken together for fear of competition,” and “What can I do if taking pills is too difficult for me?” All of these questions and more are answered by Dr. Susan Brown of BetterBones.com.

Watch the Video

After watching the video, be sure to make note of the details below.

Taking Nutrient Supplements: Common Questions Answered

Should you take your vitamins with or without food?

It is good to take many nutrient supplements with food, due to better digestion and absorption, especially since they are meant to ‘supplement’ the foods we eat! Studies do show that more vitamin D is absorbed when it is taken with a fatty meal, and the same is likely true for all fat-soluble vitamins.

Note: Some supplements are intended to be taken on an empty stomach or before meals. It is important to check the label directions just to be sure.

When should you take supplements? Should some be taken at certain times of day?

Supplements can be taken at any time of the day. Certain supplements are better taken earlier in the day because of their energizing effect (such as those containing B vitamins or green tea extracts that contain caffeine) and some are better taken at bedtime because of their calming and relaxing effect (such as magnesium and melatonin).

Are there any nutrients that shouldn’t be taken together for fear of competition?

Some nutrients may compete, but the competition is very little. Remember that nutrients are found naturally in combination in foods.

Note: Some studies have shown that taking high doses of certain vitamins that compete with vitamin D, such as Vitamin A in the form of retinol or retinyl palmitate (not beta-carotene), can cause a reduction in vitamin D levels.

Are some nutrients better taken as a powder or liquid?

Some supplements have the flexibility to be taken as a liquid (such as fish oils) or powder (such as vitamin C) which may benefit individuals with weak digestion. These products are packaged to be carefully preserved, however, it is important to be mindful of potentially harmful additives, fillers, and binders more likely to be found in such products.

What do I do if the pills are too big for me?

Pills can be broken up with a pill crusher, smashed or ground, or can be mixed with water and added into smoothies. Many have a different taste, so experimentation may be necessary to see which are tolerable to taste.

Note: Some nutrients can be absorbed through the skin in generous amounts, such as topical vitamin D and magnesium Epsom salt baths.

Additional Tips

– Always check the supplement label to make sure you are storing and taking them correctly, and taking the right serving size!

– It’s a good idea to start a new supplement slowly so that you can see how your body responds; some supplements may cause certain side effects (mostly digestive), so starting early can make them easier to identify and correct before any issue reaches its worst

– The body needs every nutrient on a daily basis; some nutrients are not stored in the body and need to be replenished every day or even throughout the day

Are You Getting and Absorbing Enough Nutrients for Your Health?

Having and maintaining healthy vitamin D levels and other nutrient levels can help improve your health now and for your future. Choose which to measure, such as your vitamin D, omega-3s, and essential minerals including magnesium and zinc, by creating your custom home test kit today. Take steps to improve the status of each of these measurements to benefit your overall health. You can also track your own intakes, symptoms and results to see what works best for YOU.

Enroll and test your levels today, learn what steps to take to improve your status of vitamin D (see below) and other nutrients and blood markers, and take action! By enrolling in the GrassrootsHealth projects, you are not only contributing valuable information to everyone, you are also gaining knowledge about how you could improve your own health through measuring and tracking your nutrient status, and educating yourself on how to improve it.

How Can You Use this Information for YOUR Health?

Having and maintaining healthy vitamin D and other nutrient levels can help improve your health now and for your future. Measuring is the only way to make sure you are getting enough!

STEP 1 Order your at-home blood spot test kit to measure vitamin D and other nutrients of concern to you, such as omega-3s, magnesium, essential and toxic elements (zinc, copper, selenium, lead, cadmium, mercury); include hsCRP as a marker of inflammation or HbA1c for blood sugar health

STEP 2 Answer the online questionnaire as part of the GrassrootsHealth study

STEP 3 Using our educational materials and tools (such as our dose calculators), assess your results to determine if you are in your desired target range or if actions should be taken to get there

STEP 4 After 3-6 months of implementing your changes, re-test to see if you have achieved your target level(s)

Enroll in D*action and Build Your Custom Test Kit!