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When To Take Your Supplements

A common question is, “When should I take my supplements?” Tens of millions of pounds are spent each year in the UK on food supplements. A large proportion of the nutrients may be flushed away, excreted as waste, because they have not been absorbed effectively.

If taken under the best conditions, vitamins, minerals, EFA’s, amino acids and herbs can be absorbed well and prove a beneficial addition to the diet.

Fat Soluble Nutrients

These are vitamins A, D, E and K.

These are all best taken with food preferably containing some fat. Higher levels of fat-soluble nutrients, where more than one capsule daily is taken, should ideally be taken in divided doses, for example one with breakfast, one with lunch or evening meal.

Water Soluble Nutrients

Vitamin C and the B group of vitamins can be taken alone or with meals. Vitamin C should be taken at regular intervals throughout the day as it has a very short half-life. It is preferable not to take B vitamins at night due to their role in energy production. When more than one capsule is taken, it is better to take them in divided doses.


Some minerals can be taken on an empty stomach, although the majority, including zinc are best taken with food. Some practitioners prefer to supplement zinc last thing in the evening.

Amino Acids

These supplements are best taken away from food by at least 30 minutes. This will ensure that the amino acids are effectively absorbed and not antagonised by dietary sources of amino acids.


These can be taken with or without food. Medical herbalists often choose to recommend divided doses of herbs where more than one dose a day is required.

Whatever the supplement, it is better to swallow capsules with cold water rather than hot drinks, as the heat may destroy some of the nutrients.

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