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Vitamin Supplements – The Best Time To Take Them

Vitamin supplements are now part of many people’s everyday diet. More than two thirds of people in Germany take food supplements every week. But you should know which vitamins or multivitamins are best to take and when, and which substances are incompatible.

Vitamin supplements are on everyone’s lips and are being consumed more and more regularly. According to Statista, vitamins (61 percent) and minerals (36 percent) are the most widely used in Germany. They are followed by proteins, which are taken by one in four of the study participants. Only 23% still rely on their food to provide them with the nutrients they need every day.

The revenue generated in the Vitamins & Minerals market market worldwide in 2024 amounts to a staggering US$31.93bn. When comparing revenue on a global scale, it is evident that the highest amount is generated in China, reaching US$5,328.00m in 2024. To put this into perspective, in 2024, the per person revenue in the Vitamins & Minerals market stands at US$4.12 worldwide.

A stressful lifestyle, genetic variations, age and the current phase of life, such as pregnancy, may make it necessary to take vitamin supplements. However, anyone who does not meet their vitamin and mineral requirements through their normal diet should consult their doctor before taking vitamins or similar supplements. Under no circumstances should vitamin supplements replace a balanced diet. At best, they can supplement missing nutrients.

Vitamin supplements – which ones for whom?

Pregnant women, for example, need folic acid and iron. An iron supplement may also be necessary during menstruation. Vegetarians and vegans often have a B12 deficiency, older people need calcium and the majority of the population needs vitamin D, especially if they live in areas with little sunlight. Those who have little fruit and vegetables in their diet should also help with vitamin supplements.

Multivitamins are very popular. These are food supplements that contain vitamins and minerals in varying amounts and in a dose that is recommended to support general health and to cover deficiencies in the diet. “The body absorbs vitamins and minerals from multivitamins in a similar way to food. The nutrients are broken down in the digestive tract and then absorbed into the bloodstream, where they are transported to different parts of the body to perform their functions,” says Dr. Jennifer Martin-Biggers, HUM Vizepräsidentin in Los Angeles.

What should a multivitamin supplement contain?

All B-complex vitamins are important. Trace elements such as zinc, selenium, iron and calcium as well as fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D and E are also beneficial. Our body can also benefit from antioxidants such as lycopene and astaxanthin. “Two important nutrients to look out for in a multivitamin are vitamin D and calcium, as they are crucial for strong bones, the immune system and skin health,” recommends Martin-Biggers.

What you should know about the individual nutrients

Vitamin B12 is important to support energy metabolism and cell division. A purely plant-based diet often results in an undersupply..

Vitamin E helps to fight free radicals. Many women aged 18 and over often do not get enough of the recommended daily amount from their diet. When taking a multivitamin supplement, make sure that the vitamin E consists of mixed tocopherols.

Vitamin K2 is less common in our typical Western diet than vitamin K1. Menaquinone MK-7, the active form of the fat-soluble vitamin K2, has been shown to be better absorbed than other forms of vitamin K. It can support bones and blood vessels. It can support bones and blood vessels.

Omega-3 DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) has an effect on brain and heart health as well as vision. Up to 95 percent of people over the age of 18 do not consume the recommended daily value of omega-3 fatty acids in their diet.

Folic acid supports the formation of red blood cells, energy metabolism and neurotransmitters in the brain. However, up to a third of the population has a genetic polymorphism that makes it difficult for them to utilize folic acid efficiently..

Iron is lost during menstruation. For this reason, it can also be beneficial to increase your iron intake with a multivitamin supplement.

Magnesium fulfills a variety of functions in the human organism. It plays a central role in energy metabolism for the activation of numerous enzymes. It is also involved in the transmission of stimuli from nerves to muscles and in muscle contraction. The downside is that we need a lot of it to do its job, and many of us don’t get enough magnesium from our diet alone.

Zinc is involved in over 300 enzymes and biological activities in the body and plays an important role in the health of our skin.

When to take single preparations?

If you decide against a multivitamin preparation and prefer to take different vitamin supplements individually, you should consider the following:

Vitamin C: take after breakfast.

Omega-3 and ubiquinol: after lunch. Taking omega-3 with food can improve absorption and prevent unpleasant side effects.

Iron: is best absorbed on an empty stomach. This means taking it at least one hour before or two hours after a meal.

Vitamin B-complex: should always be taken in the first half of the day. If it is taken later in the day, it can cause some people to feel alert and thus have trouble sleeping.

Calcium: best combined with food. Foods rich in vitamin D in particular promote calcium absorption.

Magnesium: 15 minutes before going to bed is the best time to take it in order to achieve better sleep and more relaxation.

Watch out for opponents in vitamin supplements!

Vitamin C taken together with iron improves its absorption. Calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and K2 have a synergistic effect on bone health. However, calcium can impair iron absorption if taken at the same time.

Zinc and copper should also not be consumed together. The two compete for absorption. Therefore, high doses of zinc can impair copper absorption. It is advisable to take these minerals at different times of the day, e.g. zinc in the morning and copper in the afternoon or evening.

nutrition, vitamin supplements

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