When you use prescription medication, it comes with a warning label and usually a whole leaflet explaining how to use the medication. It also comes with the advice of a doctor and a pharmacist; two medical professionals at your disposal should you need them. However, this is not the case for vitamins and supplements. With vitamins, the only thing getting in the way of directions is usually the dosage suggestion on the bottle. This can be somewhat troubling, especially when you consider that you are taking vitamins and supplements for health reasons. So here are a few tips for using vitamins and supplements that you won’t find on your vitamin bottle warning label.
- Always take vitamins with some type of food. Vitamins are not a meal replacement, they are a meal supplement. If you take vitamins or supplements on an empty stomach, they simply flush out of your body. Also, don’t take vitamins with fresh fruit for breakfast. The citrus acids in the fruit can change the chemical composition of the vitamin and take away its nutritional values.
- Always take vitamins and supplements with water. While it may seem healthier to take them with fruit juice, all you need to do is subject your vitamins to a citric acid bath, which will cause them to lose their nutrients. Also, don’t take vitamins and supplements with caffeine. The caffeine will leach the nutrients from the vitamins and they will simply be flushed out of your system.
- If you miss your vitamins during the day, let it go. Try not to take the vitamins you forgot the day before bed. Doing this can keep you awake all night. Also, don’t try to catch up on the vitamins you missed the day before. Taking too many vitamins or higher doses will not be beneficial. It can even make you sick.
- If you are taking a sports enhancement supplement, make sure you take it according to the instructions. Some sports supplements must be taken before or after a workout to be effective.
- Avoid taking vitamins that conflict with each other. If you take several vitamins at the same time, they can cancel each other out; making them both null and void. For example, taking in too much extra zinc can reduce the positive effects of copper you are consuming.
- Make sure you store your vitamins properly. Keep them out of direct sunlight and fluorescent lighting. Too much exposure to sunlight depletes the vitamins of their nutrients, rendering them ineffective. Also keep supplements at the right temperature. Vitamins exposed to too much heat and cold also lose their potency. Check the label. If the temperature of your refrigerator is right for keeping the supplements you have, this is the best place to keep them.
- Never mix vitamins together in the same bottle. They can overlap and form potentially unknown substances.
- Always check the expiration date. Vitamins and supplements have a long shelf life, but when that’s over, throw them away.
- Do not take large doses of the vitamin because you think it will be more effective. In some cases, people will take large doses of vitamins C, B complex, and E for serious illness, but this should be done under the care of a doctor. Do not try to experiment on your own to cure a serious illness with vitamins and supplements. Also, vitamins in large doses can be toxic and even deadly.
- Do not use vitamins as a substitute for taking medication or going to the doctor. Vitamin and supplements are incredible healers and prevent many diseases; however, if you have a serious medical condition, you should always try to see a doctor first. The medical miracles you hear about vitamins and supplements are true in some cases, but as the labels say, “results may vary.” Don’t assume that your medical condition is similar to someone else’s, or that it can be resolved by just taking vitamins and supplements.
Remember, vitamins are the most helpful for preventing disease and maintaining overall health, but they are not a panacea. A sensible diet, moderate exercise, and routine monitoring are still highly recommended to achieve maximum health.