With fall upon us and cold weather approaching, it's time to start paying extra attention to your supplement regimen as one of your tools to boost your immune system. Of course, supplements can only be as beneficial as the other efforts you make to take care of your body through dietary and lifestyle choices.
People absorb vitamins and minerals at varying rates and in different amounts, so an essential part of taking them is to understand how to maximize your absorption. Because what's the point of swallowing a bunch of pills each day if you are not getting the full benefit, right? Lots of different things can affect the efficiency of vitamin and mineral absorption so let's take a closer look at the best absorption practices several important vitamins and minerals.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, so it should be taken when eating foods heavy in unsaturated fats like avocado, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. One of Vitamin D's essential functions is supporting healthy bones, so pairing it with calcium-rich foods is especially efficient, according to the Journal of Nutrition. Vitamin D also works well when paired with Vitamin K for maximum calcium absorption.
Vitamin C and iron are another beneficial pairings to help maximize the absorption of iron (which is especially important for vegetarians only getting plant-based iron. Plant-based iron is more difficult to absorb than animal-sourced iron.) This can be as simple as adding some citrus to high-iron plant foods like spinach and kale. The same is true for absorbing B12 since that is also more absorbable from animal-based sources, according to expert registered dietitians.
Vitamin B12 is also paired with Folate (another type of B vitamin) because folate is best absorbed when combined with B12. They work well together to help cell division and growth, but folate is best sourced from leafy greens, so try putting some broccoli or collard greens in your omelet next time!
Another winning combination is pairing vitamin E (important for vision, blood health, reproduction, and the brain) with Omega-3 (important for heart and brain health, joints, eyes, and bones), because vitamin E helps to protect omega 3 fatty acids, so they can do their best work to support your brain health.
Lastly, according to WebMD, it's important to note that when taking lots of minerals such as calcium, zinc, and magnesium, they should be taken separately. This is because the body can not absorb so many minerals simultaneously, plus they tend to be harder on the stomach. If you supplement with multiple minerals, it's best to take these with food and also to split them up between meals.
**Most importantly, always check with your doctor before beginning any new supplement, especially if you are on other medications that could interact with these supplements.
Please reach out if you have any specific questions about your own supplement regimen or anything else concerning your physical or mental health!