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When and how to take supplements

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by RosieBee, May 8, 2012.

  1. RosieBee

    RosieBee

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    If this has already been addressed please point me in the right direction.

    I have such a long list of supplements to take each day, I am never sure if I am taking them in the most beneficial way.

    Some are better taken before food, others with food; some must not be taken at night, or if you have high cortisol levels etc.

    It would be great if we could pool our knowledge in one place/thread. I am sure I am not alone in my confusion. Any knowledge or experience shared would be really welcome.

    For example:

    Iron absorption is improved if it is taken with vitamin C or meat protein. Tannins (found in tea), calcium, polyphenols, and phytates (found in legumes and whole grains) can decrease absorption of nonheme iron as can some proteins in soy beans (I understand iron supplements are nonheme - correct me if that's wrong).

    http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/

    Cheers Rosie
    Hanna likes this.
  2. Sparrow

    Sparrow Senior Member

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    Excellent idea. There are SO many details to this. I'm not sure I'm up to writing much right now, but I know that I have looked into a lot.

    I find a quick Google search of the supplement name plus "empty stomach" or "with food" tends to give a decent overview of the common perception of which is preferable for that particular supplement. There are some decently credible sources of info out there too - I try to consult them before adding anything new to my regime. Some of my favourites:
    http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/about-herbs
    http://www.umm.edu/altmed/
    http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/Tre...nativeMedicine/HerbsVitaminsandMinerals/index

    Misc Things I Can Think of Right Now:
    [Note: I am not a doctor, and though I have done my best in learning all of this, nobody should take my word as gospel without looking into it themselves. I am as brain fogged as anyone here. :Retro smile:]
    -Oxalic acid (rhubarb, spinach, tea) and phytic acid (legumes, bran, seeds, nuts, IP6) also bind other minerals as well as iron (calcium, magnesium, etc.), so you ideally don't want to take them together.
    -Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc, and Copper compete with each other for absorption, so ideally take them apart (though may not always be possible - you'll still probably get some of each with a mix, I believe)
    -Amino acids (including things like SAMe, 5-htp, theanine, phosphatidylserine, etc.) are better absorbed on an empty stomach, and many compete with each other for absorption so it can be safest to take them separately (though there are times you might intentionally want to take some together). Some may cause stomach upset, though, in some people.
    -Most (but not all) herbs absorb better on an empty stomach, but can be taken with food in the case of stomach discomfort or nausea
    -Many antioxidants work in synergy with each other (so they do much more combined than they each would on their own), so it's not bad to take them together
    -Vitamin C, most B vitamins, etc. do not store in the body so need to be taken throughout the day if you want to keep levels high
    -Some B vitamins can be energizing, so it's best not to take them late at night unless you're sure they don't disrupt your sleep
    -Pantethene and Biotin may compete for absorption
    -many herbs absorb better with some bromelain
    -Carnitine may be best with a little sodium to get it absorbed into the intestines, then some kind of carbohydrate later to get it pulled into the cells
    -Calcium generally absorbs a little better and may be a bit less likely to create kidney stones if taken with a meal
    -There is a lot of debate over probiotics and whether they are better on an empty stomach or with meals - generally fewer may survive on an empty stomach but then will have an easier time colonizing once they're through. Taking them after a meal will mean a less acidic stomach pH so more will survive the trip. Bifidobacteria in partcular seem less hearty about surviving stomach acid.
    SaraM, RosieBee, Hanna and 1 other person like this.
  3. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    Great post Sparrow :) .. you really put that together well (you have a few things I was going to say on it).

    Here's some more things

    - Fibre Supplements can interfere with the absorption of other things so do not take at the same time as other things eg meds. (I usually to play it safe allow a couple of hours between this and other things).

    - Vitamin C
    * doesnt absorb well at all without bioflavonoids, so always buy C that has some in them or buy them separately to take with the C. (At collage we were always told the best ones have 3 or more different bioflavonoids ones in them). eg Rutin, Hesperidin, rose hips, bioflavonoid citris extract

    * it is a good idea to prepare the gut before taking eg taking a bit of yogurt or apple cider vinegar first.

    * Wash mouth out well or brush teeth after taking it (rots teeth)

    * If taking large doses dont suddenly stop it.. wean slowly off (re rebound scurvey which has also been known to affect babies from pregnant mothers taking a large doses too, so be aware if pregnant).

    * myth? but there are some sites online which speak of using large doses Vitamin C to help to terminate pregnancies. So take care.

    * C is sensitive to light, heat, oxygen

    * Antibiotics, asprin and cortisone reduce absorption ability and increase requirements.
    Baking soda in gut will destroy C.
    Sulphur drugs increase C excretion 3X.

    B5, Panothenic Acid

    * Dont take alone as causes imbalances of other B vitamins
    * Absorption assisted by folic acid, biotin, vitamin C, calicum and sulphur
    * Keep out of heat and in air tight container (as unstable to heat and oxidation).


    (I ask the mods to consider stickying this thread as it would be helpful to nearly all).

    I'll add more when Im more up to it.
    ......

    Sparrow.. one of us has that wrong. My Nutrition notes from collage says it helps absorption (thou I guess my ME brain at the time could of screwed up taking my lecture notes). I'll look into it when Im feeling up to it, to find out which of us has it correct but you may want to check it yourself.
    SaraM, RosieBee and SickOfSickness like this.
  4. ggingues

    ggingues $10 gift code at iHerb GAS343 of $40

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  5. RosieBee

    RosieBee

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    Hi GG,

    The 'how to take meds safely' thread seems to address physical ways to prevent overdose etc e.g. the use of spread sheets, pill boxes etc.

    Cheers Rosie
    taniaaust1 likes this.
  6. RosieBee

    RosieBee

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    Sparrow and Tania,

    Great postings. That is just what i was looking for, and you have already uncovered the sort of problems I have been having - there's lots of information on supplements out there, but a good deal of it is contradictory. e.g. I take biotin and pantothenic acid individually, and would really love to know if I should avoid taking them together.

    Please forgive, I am a bit slow at the moment. Not only is there the published advice, but also what you find works for you from experience; you just can't beat that.

    Cheers Rosie
  7. Sparrow

    Sparrow Senior Member

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    I could easily be wrong on that one - I remember coming across that in passing rather than as something I was actively looking for, so I don't remember how credible the source was. I often take them at the same time anyway. At worst, I think it had something to do with them sharing receptors for absorption, so it would just mean a little competition rather than one of them not getting taken in at all (as far as I remember).
  8. RosieBee

    RosieBee

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    I had intended to contribute more to this, build up a useful information base and ask for comments, but I am struggling a bit at the moment. So please forgive me for my absences, but I do invite others to share their findings and experiences. The interaction of supplements with each other, with food and the time of day they are taken for the effect we are wanting from them is constantly on my mind. I would like to feel confident I know what I am doing and why. Hope to be more communicative very soon.

    Rosie

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