Question:

Medical Drugs for Pharmacy Health Shop of MedicineCreative Commons License  Really enjoyed your vitality lecture at the CDA meeting.
Was wondering about how to maximize absorption/ bio availability of supplements. I don’t want expensive pee! I’m wondering is it better to take things like Calcium and Magnesium on an empty stomach? Do certain things need to be taken with meals? Does it not really matter?

Answer:

It’s not very complicated. For maximum absorption, take supplements with a meal, so they have the full advantage of all the digestive enzymes, plus the fat, which helps with absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and many of the phytochemicals (in the foods, not so much in the supplements). For the best absorption, take supplements in divided doses. For example, snap your multi in half and take half with two different meals. A few studies have found that we get maximum absorption of magnesium when it’s taken in divided doses, too.  Iron is slightly better absorbed on an empty stomach, but also can cause stomach upsets when taken that way for some people. Of course, men and postmenopausal women don’t really need to be concerned with iron anyway. In short, eat really well and fill in any gaps by supplementing responsibly. Take the multi or the DHA or the lutein/zeaxanthin supplement with a meal or
two. Then exercise and you’ve got all your bases covered.   Photo credit: epSos .de via Compfight Creative Commons License