Tag Archives: Calcium

The Best Time to Take Nutritional Supplements

timingSusanBiconBy Susan Brown
Health & Wellness Editor

Those of us who regularly take vitamins and minerals to support overall health or a specific health challenge know the importance of optimal nutrition. But many may not know the ideal time of day to take specific vitamins, whether to take them on an empty stomach or with food, or what combinations of vitamins to avoid or take together. Timing really is everything, as when you take your supplements can either boost or diminish their effectiveness. According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition’s annual survey of dietary supplements, 71% of women and 65% of men take dietary supplements.

Video Timing Is Everything

By far, the most popular supplements are multivitamins and minerals, with 97% of supplement users relying on these to complement their health. While 90% of supplement users report following label information, this little primer may help those who take multi vitamins and those who take more than one supplement to receive the maximum benefit from their formulas.


Probiotics – Probiotics are best taken on an empty stomach, so for that reason morning may be best, although some prefer to take them at bedtime. When the stomach is empty, digestive activity is quiet and stomach acid and pH balance are relatively low, increasing the chances for the helpful microorganisms to thrive.

Iron – If you are advised to take iron supplements, take them in the morning, as iron is best absorbed on an empty stomach. Caffeine, dairy and calcium can negatively affect absorption, so it’s best to avoid these for several hours after taking iron. Vitamin C, however, can aid absorption, so by all means wash the iron supplement down with orange juice or lemon water.

Multivitamins – Taking multi’s with your first meal is ideal, as the vitamins are absorbed along with the naturally occurring nutrients contained in the food. As multivitamins contain both water and fat soluble vitamins, be sure to include some healthy fats with your meal for optimal absorption. If your multivitamin formula recommends more than one capsule per day, take them in divided doses at breakfast and lunch.

B-Complex vitamins – Taking B vitamins with breakfast helps to boost your metabolism and convert your food into energy, which can be used throughout the day. As B vitamins help to fight fatigue and create energy, it’s best to avoid taking them late in the day.

Vitamin C Vitamin C is best taken in the morning to support the immune system and boost energy levels. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that lasts only a few hours in the blood stream, so if your formula recommends more than 1 tablet per day, take it in divided doses with meals to get the full benefit.

Vitamin EThis fat soluble antioxidant vitamin is best absorbed when dietary fats are present, so if your breakfast includes some healthy fats, such as yogurt or nut butters, morning is a good time. Otherwise, lunch or dinner time is fine as long as you are having some healthy fats with your meal.

Fish oil – Important to support many aspects of health, fish oil is best taken with a main meal to aid absorption. Take omega-3 supplements at breakfast along with your multivitamins or if more than one capsule is recommended, take them in divided doses at breakfast and dinner.  


CoQ10 – CoQ10 is involved in energy production and can be found in every cell, especially in the heart, which has high energy requirements. CoQ10 is best taken with a meal that contains dietary fats, and avoid taking it late in the day so that it doesn’t disturb your sleep.

Iodine – Iodine is not stored in the body, so regular intake is needed. Iodine supports normal cognitive function and healthy skin, and also increases energy levels. Table salt is fortified with iodine, but if you are not a regular salt user or use unadulterated salt, kelp tablets taken with lunch may boost midday energy levels.

Vitamin D – Vitamin D is best taken with a meal that contains dietary fats. It’s possible that Vitamin D can negatively affect sleep, so lunch time is a good time to get your Vitamin D.

Vitamin K – Vitamin K is best absorbed along with dietary fats and ideally should be taken along with calcium, vitamin D and vitamin C. Avoid taking vitamin K if you are taking Coumadin or any anticoagulant prescription drug, as Vitamin K can interfere with the effects of the medication.  


Calcium – Calcium aids nerve transmission and muscle function. To get the full benefit, take calcium in the evening along with magnesium.

Magnesium – Magnesium has a calming effect on the muscles and nervous system and may aid restful sleep. Magnesium works synergistically with calcium, so take these together either as individual supplements or in a combined formula.

In addition:

Digestive Enzymes – Digestive enzymes can be taken with any meal or within 30 minutes of your meal. Unless you have serious digestive issues, they don’t necessarily need to be taken with light meals or snacks, but can be very beneficial for optimal breakdown and absorption of nutrients when taken with main meals.

FiberFiber supplements may be taken either first thing in the morning or before bed. Be sure to take fiber with a full glass of water and get plenty of water during the day. Always check with your healthcare provider before taking any fiber supplement, as fiber may delay or reduce the absorption of certain medications. Additionally, do not take fiber supplements at the same time as medications.

Should you have any questions about the best time to take any supplements, please call or email Professional Supplement Center. If you are taking any medications, check with your healthcare provider or your pharmacist before starting any supplement regime.

Taking iron supplements.
Best Time to Take Probiotics.
Best Time of Day to Take Vitamins.
Vitamin K.

Nutrients and Vitamins for a Healthy Pregnancy

PregnancyJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle before, during and after pregnancy is a very worthwhile goal. When pregnant, it’s essential to carefully consider well-balanced nutrition, not only for the health of your baby but for yourself as well. As your diet is the main source of nutrients for both you and your baby, there is some truth to the old adage that you are “eating for two.” This doesn’t mean that you need to double down on your caloric intake, but it does mean that you will need approximately 300 additional nutrient dense calories daily. Eating well during pregnancy isn’t just about increasing the amount of food you eat, as we now know that all calories are not created equally. Pregnancy is not an excuse to binge on empty calories, as gaining too much weight can have adverse affects on your baby’s health and may increase the baby’s lifelong risk of obesity, heart disease or diabetes.

For pregnancy health and the baby’s development, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends a nutritious diet containing a variety of proteins, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and plenty of water. While patterns of weight gain vary, it’s normal to gain 25 -35 pounds throughout your pregnancy term. Your focus should be on eating a balanced variety of nutritious foods to ensure the baby receives the vitamins and minerals required for healthy growth and development. As your diet directly affects your baby’s health and development, strive to avoid extra calories from added sugars, refined and processed foods and unhealthy fats, and instead fill up on fruits, veggies, proteins, whole grains, dairy and healthy fats.

Many physicians recommend prenatal vitamins as an adjunct to a healthy diet. To ensure your individual needs for adequate nutrition during pregnancy, it’s a good idea to have a conversation about nutrition and supplements with your healthcare provider. The ACOG recommends the following key nutrients for a healthy pregnancy:

Folic acid – The ACOG and the March of Dimes recommends 600 mcg of folic acid per day to help prevent neural tube defects, support the growth of the placenta and baby, and help increase your blood supply during pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association, your blood volume will have increased by up to 60% by the time your baby is born. Folate, or vitamin B9, can be found in foods such as spinach, green vegetables, beans and fortified foods such as cereals and orange juice.

Calcium – The ACOG recommends 1,000 mg of calcium per day during and after pregnancy. Calcium is necessary for the healthy development of a baby’s bones, teeth, heartbeat, nerve function and muscles. Pregnancy is a critical time for a woman to consume calcium. If there is not enough calcium in the diet to sustain a developing baby, the body will take calcium from the mother’s bones, which can diminish bone strength and increase the risk of osteoporosis later in life. Dairy products, dark leafy greens and fortified foods are all good calcium sources.

Iron – It’s relatively common to be deficient in iron during pregnancy, as pregnant women need about double the normal amount they needed pre-pregnancy. Iron aids red blood cells that carry oxygen to organs and tissues and helps to increase the normal blood volume, sending oxygen and nutrients to the baby. The American Pregnancy Association recommends 27 mg of iron daily during pregnancy. Good nutritional sources include beef, leafy greens, eggs and beans.

DHA – The March of Dimes and the American College of Nurse-Midwives recommends 200 mg of DHA omega-3 fatty acids daily to support a baby’s early development and eye and brain growth. To avoid mercury or PCB contamination, choose low mercury fish, fortified foods or purified fish oil supplements. Some prenatal vitamins are formulated with DHA and some are not. Always check with your healthcare provider before taking any additional supplements.

Iodine – During pregnancy, iodine aids in the development of the baby’s brain and nervous systems. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, many pregnant and breast-feeding women are deficient in iodine and thereby recommends supplementing with 220 mcg of this important mineral daily if it is not included in your prenatal formula. Food sources of iodine include dairy products, enriched cereals or breads and fish.

Vitamin D – Adequate amounts of vitamin D are essential during pregnancy for both mother and baby. Vitamin D supports a mother’s immune function and a baby’s healthy bone development. According to the World Health Organization, vitamin D deficiency is common among pregnant women and is associated with increased risk of pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and preterm birth. Experts, such as ACOG, agree that during pregnancy supplementing with 1,000 – 2,000 IU’s of vitamin D daily is safe and beneficial for both mother and baby.

The quest for the healthiest possible pregnancy should include a diet of wholesome foods and a reasonable exercise program, such as daily walking or swimming. Additionally, drink plenty of water, avoid smoking, alcohol, excess sugar and unhealthy fats. Limit caffeine and salty foods and avoid raw or undercooked foods, unpasteurized dairy products, soft cheeses and high mercury level seafoods.

Supplements do not replace a healthy diet but rather ensure that a woman is receiving enough daily nutrients. Vitamin supplements work best when taken as part of a healthy diet and not as a substitute for a healthy diet.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other research-based, high quality prenatal vitamins:

Prenatal (201811)
Prenatal (201811) by Douglas Laboratories – This well balanced prenatal formula supplies essential vitamins and minerals to support maternal health and wellness and ensure adequate intake for both mother and child. Yeast, gluten, soy and dairy free formulation.
Prenatal Complete with DHAPrenatal Complete with DHA by Ortho Molecular – This comprehensive, hypoallergenic prenatal multivitamin and mineral blend provides a full complement of high quality essential nutrients along with highly concentrated DHA to support all phases of pregnancy. Formulated to be free of common allergens and artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, preservatives and additives.
Fem Prenatal
Fem Prenatal® by Metagenics – Formulated to provide a full spectrum of high quality, bioavailable essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, Fem Prenatal® supplies important maternal nutrition and supports healthy fetal growth and development. Gluten, soy and dairy free, non-GMO formulation.
Basic Prenatal (VMP)
Basic Prenatal (VMP) by Thorne Research – This comprehensive, highly absorbable formula provides high potency vitamins and minerals to support the optimal health of mother and baby. Gluten, soy and dairy free, no artificial color, sweeteners or flavors added.
Nutrients & Vitamins For Pregnancy. http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/nutrients-vitamins-pregnancy/
Eating and Nutrition. http://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/vitamins-and-minerals-during-pregnancy.aspx
Pregnancy Nutrition.
Vitamin D: Screening and Supplementation During Pregnancy. http://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Obstetric-Practice/Vitamin-D-Screening-and-Supplementation-During-Pregnancy
Iodine supplementation in pregnant and lactating women. Online. http://www.who.int/elena/titles/iodine_pregnancy/en/
Pregnancy and Nutrition. Online. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases_conditions/hic_Am_I_Pregnant/hic_Good_Nutrition_During_Pregnancy_for_You_and_Your_Baby
Food Safety During Pregnancy. Online. http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/FOODNUT/09372.html
Increasing Calcium in Your Diet During Pregnancy. Online. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases_conditions/hic_Am_I_Pregnant/hic_Good_Nutrition_During_Pregnancy_for_You_and_Your_Baby/hic_Increasing_Calcium_in_Your_D

Eat This…With That!

EatThisWithThatBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

Just as vitamin and mineral supplements are formulated for their ability to work synergistically to enhance health, certain foods eaten together can influence how our nutrients are absorbed and utilized.  Eating food as close as possible to its natural state is the best way to improve health and prevent disease.  Some foods hinder vitamin and mineral absorption while others enhance it.  Certain foods just naturally go well with others, and there may be a good reason why.  Eating the right combinations of foods can ensure receiving optimal benefits from your food choices.  Healthy food combinations that bring out the nutritional best in each other and give you more disease-fighting bang for your buck include: 

Avocado with Tomato – Tomatoes, which contain the antioxidant lycopene, are considered a superfood.  Combine them with avocados and you have created a recipe for enhanced lycopene absorption.  The healthy fat in the avocado can help your body absorb up to 7 times more of the antioxidant.  Other healthy fats such as olive oil also enhance antioxidant absorption, which is highly beneficial for the heart and boosts liver function and detoxification. 

Spinach and Oranges – Spinach is loaded with iron but when eaten alone the absorption level is low.  Combine spinach with the vitamin C found in citrus and the iron is converted into a more absorbable form.  Any vitamin C-rich food will do, so add a tomato, some strawberries or a sliced red pepper.  Vitamin  C absorption is enhanced by calcium and magnesium, which is found in dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach or kale.

Salmon and Turmeric –  Combining turmeric with salmon boosts the effects of the omega-3 fatty acids present in salmon.  Both have high anti-inflammatory properties supporting, cardiovascular health and providing anti-aging benefits.  Combining dark green leafy vegetables, rich in calcium, with vitamin D-enriched salmon will aid in the absorption of calcium from the vegetables.  Adding black pepper aids in the absorption of curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric. 

Yogurt and Whole Grains – Pairing the probiotics in yogurt with whole grain fiber-rich foods promotes healthy intestinal flora and aids the absorptive surface in the stomach, allowing for maximum nutrient absorption.  Add a banana into the mix and you get a dose of inulin, which aids calcium absorption for healthy bone support.  Vitamin D is crucial to absorbing calcium and Vitamin C,  so pair your yogurt with a few minutes of morning sunshine several times each week.   

Colorful Vegetables and Healthy Fats – Many fruits and vegetables contain carotenoids, which are fat-soluble, heart protecting phytonutrients.  Eating these with good fats such as olive oil aids in the absorption of other nutrients like vitamin K, which is crucial for bone health and blood clotting.  The vitamin A produced from beta-carotene supports a healthy immune and reproductive system.  To receive full nutritive value, add a handful of nuts or pour a bit of olive oil on those veggies and salads and skip the sugar laden, fat-free commercial salad dressings. 

Green Tea and Lemon – Green tea contains catechins, powerful antioxidants which help to protect cells and tissues from oxidative damage.  Combining green tea with lemon dramatically increases the absorption of those catechins.  Eating any vitamin C-enriched fruit along with your tea works equally well. 

Nuts and Beans with Fruits and Vegetables – The vitamin C found in kiwi and citrus fruits, and vegetables such as broccoli or bell peppers amps up vitamin E absorption, which benefits your eye health and helps prevent macular degeneration.  

Whole Grains with Onion and Garlic – The sulfur compounds in onions and garlic help boost absorption of zinc, which is found in whole grains and aids in immune defense and wound healing.   Add broccoli, rich in sulforaphane that aids in the absorption of selenium, which protects the thyroid and has cancer fighting properties. 

Red Meat and Rosemary – Rosemary is rich in rosmarinic and carnosic acids which neutralize carcinogens such as heterocyclic acid that form on cooked meat.  There’s a good reason why lamb and rosemary work so well together. 

Pork and Sauerkraut – Although we often eat meat with starches, it’s not the best option for healthy digestion.  Fermented vegetables bolster digestion-friendly probiotic organisms which bolster your immune system.  For the best nutrient absorption, pair animal protein with non-starchy vegetables like green beans, spinach or kale. 

Eggs and Cheese –  Eggs contain naturally occurring vitamin D which aids in the absorption of the calcium found in the cheese.  Sufficient calcium levels promote neurotransmitter health, stabilize hormones and offer bone and heart protection. 

If you tend to skip a meal here and there, these recommendations might fill the gap.

Calcium, Magnesium & Potassium by Innate Response FormulasThis whole food formula, with a 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium, contains the average ratio found in 171 fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  These synergistic minerals are delivered in a nutrient dense organic blend for enhanced utilization. 

Greens Q by Quantum Nutrition Labs –  Quantum Greens contains a live-sourced, superior nutritional formula for optimal absorption, health and rejuvenation. 

Turmeric Curcumin 1000 mg by Physiologics –  This product contains active and beneficial curcuminoids, plant based antioxidants that neutralize cell-damaging free radicals.