What Supplements Should We Take with Food and Why

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Many people take dietary or nutritional supplements to lead a healthy life. The list includes different types of supplements, from vitamins to probiotics and everything in between.

Taking supplements is necessary for some of us, and how we time it can influence the results. As it turns out, many people ask a common question when it comes to supplements:

What supplements to take with food?

As we will learn, our bodies don’t absorb everything in the same way. In addition, other considerations decide how we take our supplements.

So, let’s explore the primary supplements we should consume with food and why.

Vitamins to Take with Food

Vitamin supplements and multivitamins are pretty popular across the world. Adults and children both take a range of vitamin supplements for various reasons.

However, not all vitamins should be taken with food. On the other hand, some vitamins are best taken on an empty stomach.

So, what’s the catch?

Take Fat-Soluble Vitamins with Food

 Our bodies need fat in our stomach to absorb some vitamins called fat-soluble vitamins. The reason is, these vitamins use fat to become soluble. The list includes:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K

According to WebMD, fat helps our bodies make the most of fat-soluble vitamins. So, our bodies will not absorb these vitamins properly on an empty stomach.

Therefore, always take vitamins A, D, E, and K with food. Additionally, take vitamin B12 with food for the best results.

What Type of Food to Eat with Fat-Soluble Vitamins?

Don’t think you have to eat meat or eggs to get enough fat to absorb fat-soluble vitamins. We also don’t need to consume any saturated fat.

We can take our vitamins with nuts and fruits like avocado. However, we can also take the vitamins with lunch or dinner.

Should We Take Multivitamins with Food?

Only a few of us living in urban areas eat a varied diet. We don’t consume enough vegetables and nutrients to keep us healthy.

As a result, many people take multivitamins to make up for the lack of a proper diet. Now, the question comes:

Should we take multivitamins with food?

Multivitamins contain a mix of vitamins. The list can include both water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins.

Therefore, it is best to take multivitamins with food. Our bodies will be able to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins efficiently. Additionally, the water-soluble vitamins will also work fine.

However, there is another reason for consuming multivitamins with food. They can cause stomach issues like gas or diarrhea in some people. But we can avoid the problem when we take multivitamins with food.

How to Take Vitamin B and C?

Vitamin C and the whole group of vitamin B (except B12) are water-soluble vitamins. That means we don’t need any fat to make them soluble. Only water is enough to achieve the task.

As a result, we can have vitamin C and B on an empty stomach. However, they also work fine if we take them with food, but it’s not a requirement.

Note: Some formulations of vitamin C may cause stomach issues and diarrhea. Therefore, ensure the vitamin C formulation is water-soluble. Else, take it with food to avoid any discomfort.

Fish Oil (Omega 3)

Fish oil is a rich source of omega fatty acids, primarily omega 3. It provides a range of benefits, including pain relief from joint problems and improving skin health.

When it comes to supplements to take with food, fish oil features on top of the list. According to ConsumerLab, food improves the absorption of fish oil. The reason is the same as with fat-soluble vitamins.

We need fat in our stomach to absorb fish oil. As per research, fat increases the bioavailability of omega 3.

As a result, our bodies can easily absorb the substance. Additionally, we found another study that found low-fat meals to reduce the absorption of omega 3.

Therefore, it is always best to take omega 3 capsules or fish oil with food. Moreover, take your supplement with lunch or dinner for the best results to ensure you consume enough dietary fat.

Another factor also encourages people to take fish oil with food. A meal can stop the fishy burp we experience after taking fish oil.

So, you have more reasons to eat before consuming your fish oil.

Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 is a supplement many seniors take. It can improve several heart conditions and help with diabetes. Additionally, Coenzyme Q10 may improve symptoms of Parkinson’s and bring relief from migraines.

Moreover, it can even improve physical performance.

We can buy Coenzyme Q10 supplements in the form of tablets, syrups, and capsules. Whatever be the form, take Coenzyme Q10 with food to improve its absorption. It also needs fat to become soluble and allow uptake of the antioxidant, as per ConsumerLab.

Note: Coenzyme Q10 formulations are available that make it water-soluble. There is no need to take food if we use such a formulation.

Probiotics

Everyone knows about probiotics. It is a great relief for people who suffer from stomach problems. Additionally, probiotics have countless proven uses that are backed by scientific evidence.

What is the best way to take probiotics?

We should always take probiotics with food to ensure optimum outcomes. Why?

Probiotics are living organisms that come inside of a capsule. However, they must reach our intestine safe and sound to provide any benefit. But before that, they have to go through our stomachs.

Now, our stomach contains a mix of many acids. This mix of acids is harmless to us but not to the probiotics. The acid may erode the capsule and kill the living bacteria inside before they reach your intestine.

Therefore, the whole money spent on probiotics will go to waste. However, the best quality probiotic supplements may avoid the problem by using a robust capsule covering.

But sadly, there is no way to determine if the capsule will survive our stomach acid.

As a result, always take probiotics before or during meals, like lunch or dinner. It will help the bacteria inside the capsule reach the intestine without dying.

Studies also show probiotics work well when we take them 30 minutes before or with our meals. Additionally, we may avoid the side effects of probiotics like bloating or diarrhea by taking food.

Supplements to Take with Food to Avoid Side Effects

Various supplements can cause a range of side effects, like stomach issues. However, we can eliminate these side effects by taking the supplements with food. Below are a few supplements that go best along with our meals:

Iron Supplements

Iron supplement is a well-known culprit that causes stomach upset. The problem can become more prominent when we take iron supplements without food. It can also end up causing diarrhea when we take iron supplements on an empty stomach.

However, there is a simple way to eliminate all stomach issues. We need to take iron supplements with our meals to avoid having diarrhea or other problems.

However, a few foods can interfere with or reduce the absorption of iron. Therefore, stay away from:

  • Eggs
  • Coffee
  • Soy protein
  • Spinach
  • Whole-grain cereals
  • Bread

Additionally, avoid having calcium or calcium-rich food with iron supplements. They can impact how well our bodies absorb iron from supplements, according to WebMD.

Mineral Supplements

Mineral supplements are a regular affair for a majority of the population. We take a range of mineral supplements that include magnesium, chloride, and potassium. However, some minerals are hard on our stomach and can cause gastrointestinal issues.

Three main minerals that are tough on our digestive system are:

  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Calcium

Therefore, take the above with food to avoid any unpleasant symptoms, says WebMD.

Final Thoughts

Supplements have a few considerations for providing the best results. Our bodies absorb some supplements best if we take them with food. The list contains fat-soluble vitamins, probiotics, and fish oil. Additionally, taking a few supplements with food may reduce side effects like diarrhea. The list contains iron supplements, magnesium, calcium, and zinc. Therefore, it is always better to take the above supplements with food.

FAQs

Which vitamins absorb better with food?

Fat-soluble vitamins absorb better with food. The list of fat-soluble vitamins includes vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Also, we should take vitamin B12 with our meals.

What supplements can we take on an empty stomach?

We can take fat-soluble vitamins on an empty stomach. A few other supplements also feature on the list, like potassium or chloride. Read the label of the supplement for more instructions.

Is it better to take B vitamins with food?

There is no need to take B vitamins with food. However, there is one exception, vitamin B12. We should take vitamin B12 with our meals for better results.

Can we take zinc supplements with food?

It is always better to take zinc supplements with meals. It can improve the results of the supplement. Additionally, we can avoid unpleasant side effects like stomach upset.

Can we take vitamin D on an empty stomach?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. Therefore, we need fat to be able to absorb vitamin D efficiently. As a result, we should not take vitamin D on an empty stomach. It is better to have vitamin D with food that contains a bit of fat.