A Guide to Supplements

I am all about eating fresh food, cooked from scratch. For me, this coupled with drinking enough water and getting movement and exercise into your day is the path towards good health.

However, sometimes in life, you may need a little extra nutritional help, and then I recommend taking a good quality supplement.

Why Take Supplements?

It’s thought our bodies need at least 30 vitamins, minerals, and dietary components that we cannot manufacture ourselves in sufficient amounts.

In addition, our food is unfortunately not as nutritious as it once was. The main reason for this is soil depletion from modern intensive farming methods, resulting in our produce receiving fewer nutrients from the soil in which it grows.

Also, our nutritional needs change throughout our lives – we may need more of a particular vitamin or mineral when pregnant or breastfeeding, and again when we are in peri menopause, menopause and beyond.

In this blog I am going to mention the key supplements and how to maximise their impact, for optimal benefit.

We don’t always know when we are deficient in a certain vitamin or mineral, so I would recommend having a blood test.

Supplements become essential when a deficiency persists, and dietary sources alone fall short. In these cases, supplementation ensures the body receives the necessary nutrients for optimal functioning.

Let’s have a look at some of these vitamins:

1. Multivitamins

Multivitamins are supplements that contain a variety of vitamins and minerals, and there are many available for different ages and stages in life. 

Best Time: with a balanced meal.

Multivitamins, a nutritional powerhouse, shine when taken with meals. This is particularly important for fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), which benefit from the presence of dietary fats. Embrace multivitamins as part of your daily breakfast or lunch.

2. Vitamin D

Best Time: with healthy fats.

Known as the sunshine vitamin, we need more of this during the darker months of the year. Vitamin D flourishes in the presence of dietary fats. Pair it with a meal rich in healthy fats, such as avocados or nuts. This synergy ensures optimal absorption and utilization of this essential vitamin.

3. Iron

Best Time: on an empty stomach with Vitamin C

Iron is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in the body. One of its primary functions is to help transport oxygen in the blood. Hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells, contains iron and binds to oxygen in the lungs, carrying it to tissues and organs throughout the body.

Having an adequate amount of iron is vital for preventing iron deficiency anemia, a condition where the body doesn’t have enough red blood cells due to low iron levels. Symptoms of iron deficiency anemia include fatigue, weakness, and difficulty concentrating.

To combat iron deficiency, take iron supplements on an empty stomach. Enhance absorption by combining it with vitamin C-rich foods or a supplement. This dynamic duo promotes effective iron utilisation within the body.

It’s crucial to take iron supplements only under the guidance of a healthcare professional who has determined through testing that you are indeed deficient in iron.

4. Calcium

Best Time: split throughout the day

Calcium supports our bones and muscles and absorption is a nuanced process. Splitting your supplement into two doses, preferably with meals, supports optimal utilization. This strategic approach aids in integrating calcium into your body’s intricate balance.

5. Vitamin C:

Best Time: throughout the day, preferably with meals

Vitamin C, helps to protect cells and keeps them healthy. maintains healthy skin, our blood vessels, and a healthy immune system. It’s water-soluble vitamin, that can be taken throughout the day. Pairing it with meals may enhance absorption. As an antioxidant, Vitamin C complements the absorption of iron, making it a valuable addition to your daily routine.

6. Fish Oil:

Best Time: with a meal

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil contributes to typical brain and eye development. It fights inflammation and may help prevent heart disease and a decline in brain function. Fish Oil thrives when taken with meals. This not only aids absorption, but also minimizes the risk of an unpleasant fishy aftertaste. Integrating fish oil into your daily meals enhances its bioavailability and overall efficacy.

7. Magnesium

Best Time: Before bed

Magnesium is essential for healthy muscles and nerves. it also helps us sleep. Experts suggest taking magnesium in the evening, due to the calming effect it has on the muscles and nervous system. Try to take magnesium tablets within one to two hours of going to sleep. 

Fat-Soluble vs. Water-Soluble Supplements

Fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) are better absorbed when taken with fats, whereas water-soluble vitamins (like Vitamin C) can be taken throughout the day.

Day and Night Supplement Strategies:

Consider taking energising vitamins like Vitamin C, B vitamins  and multivitamins during the day. Save calming and relaxing supplements, like magnesium, for the evening to promote restful sleep.

This is just a snap shot of the vitamins and minerals available as supplements. Everyone is different, so I would advise to get your bloods checked by a professional if you think you are deficient. 

Remember, supplements should complement, not replace, a diverse and nutritious diet. Aim for a balanced nutritional approach to your diet that incorporates a wide range of organic (if possible) whole foods to support your overall well-being.

If you need some support to reach your health goals, get in touch. I provide a bespoke service helping women look and feel amazing.

Published by daniatrapani

I believe in teaching, educating and making people aware of their health, diet and lifestyle choices. I encourage my clients to understand the importance of a healthy diet as well as a balanced lifestyle in order to achieve optimum results. Each of my clients is treated as an individual and I combine a mixture of nutrition and naturopathy to create a tailored health programme.