Maximising the Benefits of Your Supplements: Insights from a Nutrient Expert

Maximising the Benefits of Your Supplements: Insights from a Nutrient Expert

In the whirlwind of wellness trends and health advice, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of supplements. We all want to ensure we're giving our bodies the best chance at optimal health, but are we really making the most of those little capsules, tablets and syrup we swallow each day? 

To help you navigate this maze of nutrients, we spoke with Dr Tracey Smillie, a homeopath and the mastermind behind our Nourish Yourself Well personalised nutrient assessment. Here's what she had to say about getting the most out of your supplements.

When is the best time to take a supplement? 

As it turns out, the timing of your supplement intake can significantly impact its effectiveness. "It really comes down to the supplement," Tracey explains. "Some are fat-soluble, meaning they’re better absorbed with a fat-containing meal, such as nuts or avocados. Water-soluble supplements can be consumed with or without food. Consistency is key when taking supplements." 

What affects absorption of nutrients? 

The absorption of nutrients is a complex process influenced by various factors. Tracey highlights that "generally, iron absorbs better on an empty stomach when taken with a vitamin C-containing liquid such as freshly squeezed orange juice. Mineral supplements such as zinc, calcium, and magnesium should be taken with food but at different meals as they compete for absorption." 

Age, genetic variations, reproductive status, disease status, prior surgeries, medications, and the form of the nutrient are all factors to consider when supplementing.

If I am taking chronic medication, should I consult a healthcare practitioner before taking supplements?

Absolutely! "Additional studies are underway to investigate the interactions between nutrients and different medications," Tracey advises. "It is advisable to seek guidance from your healthcare practitioner when using long-term medication and considering supplementation. This way, you can receive better guidance on consuming the appropriate nutrients at the correct times without affecting your medication negatively." 

Can I take all my supplements at the same time? 

While it may seem convenient to gulp down all your supplements in one go, it's not always the best approach. "Particular nutrients found in different supplements can hinder the absorption of other nutrients," Tracey warns. "So, it is recommended to consult with a qualified practitioner or compare your supplements to avoid conflicting ones." For example, combining vitamin B12 with a vitamin C supplement could potentially decrease the absorption of vitamin B12 in the body. 

If I miss my daily dose, should I double up on the next day? 

No. "The body is only capable of absorbing a particular amount of nutrients in one single dose," Tracey clarifies. "Bioavailability is the ability of the nutrient to be absorbed and used by the body."

In a world where taking care of your health often means taking a supplement or two, it's essential to understand that not all are created equal. By considering factors like timing, absorption, and potential interactions, you can ensure that the supplements you take actually make a difference to your health. So, before you reach for that next bottle, take a moment to assess whether you're truly getting the most out of your supplements. Your body will thank you for it.

If you’re ready to take the guesswork out of your supplement regime, the Nourish Yourself Well personalised nutrient assessment is the best place to start.


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