Multivitamins can be a great way for some people to supplement their diet and make sure they’re getting the right nutrients. Plenty of New Zealanders swear by them, with 75% of our recent survey respondents saying that they feel better when they take multivitamins. They are also a hit to the budget though, so you want to use them as efficiently as possible. With that in mind, we’ve asked the question: if you’re going to take vitamin supplements, what are some ways to make sure you’re maximizing the benefits? Here are three suggestions:
First and foremost: take them with meals
When it comes to the timing of your daily vitamins, the best time to take them is apparently with or after a meal. Taking vitamins with food makes it easier for your body to digest them, as it’s doing so along with the naturally-occurring vitamins in your food. The most important habit with taking vitamins, of course, is to do so consistently; whether it’s with breakfast before you head to work, or after dinner as you wind down for the day, try to take your vitamins at the same time each day so as to make it a habit.
Take them with the right foods
Vitamins are divided into fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D and E, and water-soluble ones such as vitamin C and all B complex vitamins. As their name suggests, fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the human body’s fatty tissue, and are best digested alongside a source of fat; this can be anything from meat or fish to the likes of nuts or dairy. Water-soluble vitamins, on the other hand, can’t be stored by the body and need to be replaced regularly through your diet. You don’t need to take them alongside any particular nutrients, but it’s a good idea to take them with your first meal so that they benefit you throughout your day.
Stick to the recommended dose
According to this Harvard article, it’s important not to get too enthusiastic with your vitamin intake; it is possible to have too much of a good thing. To quote the article: “In general, stick close to standard recommended doses in a multivitamin. And since your multivitamin will likely contain all the folic acid you’ll need, stay away from cereals, protein bars, and other foods that are super-fortified with folic acid.” In Canstar Blue’s latest multivitamin survey results, it appears that whether or not the multivitamins actually work is a side-issue for many people, with 14% of our survey respondents admitting that they take their multivitamins for the placebo effect. That said, the vast majority of respondents are convinced that multivitamins work – and 26% claim that taking multivitamins regularly makes them feel less guilty about their food choices.