I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a cupboard full of supplements. I’ve got my vitamins, different amino acids, whey protein, and other pills and powders that I use on almost a daily basis.
And I’m sure that even if you don’t have a cupboard full of them, you may have at least one or two supplements that you use every now and then, if not daily.
Supplements aren’t always cheap, and surely you don’t like wasting your money. Therefore, it’s important that you know how to use supplements, what they do, and how you should take them in order to ensure they’re working effectively. If you’re simply shoving a bunch of pills and powders down your throat every morning when you wake up, you’re probably not reaping all the benefits.
Tips to Get the Most from Your Health Supplements
Take a Closer Look at Your Diet; Do You Need Supplements?
The first thing to do to give your supplement routine a boost is to look at your diet. Depending on what you eat and how much you consume, you might not even need supplements. A balanced diet tends to provide all the nutrients you need, so unless you’re deficient in one area or have special dietary needs based on your doctor’s advice, you might not actually need to take all those supplements every day.
Read and Follow the Directions
For the supplements you need and are taking, it’s important to read the directions. Vitamins, minerals, and amino acids are all absorbed differently; some should be taken on an empty stomach, while others should be consumed with food.
For example, I take an amino acid called L-tyrosine almost daily. I find it helps me focus and is useful with athletic training. However, I have to take it on an empty stomach because it’s not properly absorbed when taken with food. If taken following a meal or snack, L-tyrosine has to compete for space with other nutrients and amino acids; therefore, its absorption is limited. I take L-tyrosine twice a day: when I wake up and later in the day, two hours after a meal but 30 minutes before my next.
Other supplements, like iron for example, shouldn’t be taken with certain things. Milk, coffee, and tea can all limit the absorption of iron, so this is something to pay attention to if you use supplements. Take any iron supplements at least a half-hour before consuming these beverages or wait two hours after consuming them before supplementing.
Supplements that should be taken with food, like calcium carbonate, need stomach acid to be properly absorbed. Digesting food is what brings this acid out, so these supplements should not be taken on an empty stomach. Some supplements can even cause pain and heartburn if they are not taken with food.
Ensure Powders Are Fully Dissolved
Another important thing to pay attention to when you’re dealing with powders is to make sure they are fully dissolved before ingesting them. Make sure they are stirred so they are unidentifiable in liquid, not grainy. Some powder supplements, like creatine monohydrate, dissolve best in warm water, while others must be stirred rapidly and heavily to dissolve.
You don’t want to invest your money in supplements that just aren’t doing their job, so taking them properly is essential. Read the directions on the package and get the most for your money and your health!