Our team integrative pharmacist, Kristy Horner, B.Sc (Pharm) shares 5 tips on what you should know before starting a new supplement.
What dose should I be taking? The dose often depends on why you are taking this vitamin or supplement. When you supplement for a specific health concern it is often higher than doses used to maintain general health. Make sure you know how much and how often to take it.
What time a day should I take the supplement? Again this will depend on the supplement and your health goals. Some vitamins and herbs can have energizing effects and should be taken in the morning such as B Vitamins and adaptogens. On the other hand certain supplements have calming actions that make most sense to take in the evening. Examples include magnesium, calcium, melatonin and herbs like valerian that help with sleep.
Should I take this on an empty stomach or with food? When we eat our stomach produces acid and enzymes that helps to digest our food. This can also help us to break down vitamins, minerals and supplements which allows for easier absorption. Some vitamins like Vitamin D are fat soluble and will not be absorbed without eating. Furthermore, food provides a barrier to lessen digestive upset from certain supplements. For these reasons most supplements should be taken with food. Of course there are always exceptions such as probiotics and iron.
What are the potential adverse effects? You might be surprised to hear that natural supplements and vitamins do have side effects. If it affects your body and your health then it can have potential side effects too. One example is niacin (vitamin B3) which can cause flushing especially at high doses. Make sure you are aware to watch out for.
Does this supplement interact with my medications or other vitamins? Always check to make sure it’s safe before adding a new supplement to your regimen.
Note: Before sending money on supplements, we encourage you to speak with your wellness practitioner to ensure you benefit from taking supplements.