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5 Secrets of Getting the Most from Your Vitamins and Supplements

5 Secrets of Getting the Most from Your Vitamins and Supplements

Many of us take vitamins and supplements in order to support our health and well-being. One of the challenges we face is choosing from the many options. It might be an even greater challenge yet to properly prioritize our vitamin intake.  We must address such questions as, “Is there a specific time of day to take a given supplement that is most ideal?”, or “Can they all be taken together at the same time?”

Indeed, we should be mindful about which supplements to take, when.  According to the latest research from the medical community [1], some vitamins and minerals, like calcium and iron, can inhibit absorption of each other up to five fold [2]. On the other end of the spectrum there are vitamins such as iron and vitamin C that work in synergy with one another, and taking them together improves absorption [3]. In fact, there has been a great deal of quality research conducted for years which we can draw upon, that can lend itself to practical, daily, real-life application.

Knowledge is power.

Below is the summary of the strongest and most common interactions of vitamins and minerals with each other and with food. Following suggestions outlined below will help you get the most from your supplements. Until now, most people have lacked the proper information about vitamin interactions.  With the vitamin secrets I share below, you will be able to take them in a way that they have the most positive effective on your body.  If you are prepared to receive these well-kept, hidden secrets of vitamin know-how, it will prove beyond powerful in the most beneficial, healthy ways.

Secret 1

Take vitamins B1, B12, iron and CoQ-10 during the first half of day.

These micronutrients especially in the larger quantities have energizing effect on the body and as such are best taken during the first half of the day [4,5].

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Secret 2

Take all fat-soluble vitamins and minerals with a meal containing fat.

Fat-soluble vitamins (A, E, D and K) as well as fat-soluble micronutrients such as CoQ-10, lycopene, lutein, astaxanthin and other carotenoids need presence of fat to be absorbed well [6].

Secret 3

Take calcium and magnesium supplements in the evening.

Calcium and magnesium are important minerals that can help our bodies relax. The body uses calcium at night as it is a natural muscle relaxant. Research has shown that disturbed sleep patterns, such as a lack of deep REM sleep, have been associated with low levels of calcium [7,8].

Secret 4

Take calcium and iron supplements at least 4 hours away from each other. Opt for liquid iron supplements and take them with vitamin C. Drink with water or orange juice.

Calcium and iron can inhibit absorption of each other up to five-fold and are best taken at different times of day [2].  Vitamin C greatly improves iron absorption. Iron absorption can be inhibited by polyphenols in beverages, thus iron supplements should be taken with water or juice.

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Secret 5

Do not drink soda, tea or coffee within 2 hours of taking your supplements other than antioxidants.

Polyphenols in many beverages greatly inhibit absorption of vitamins and minerals [9,10]. Take your supplements with water or juice.

 

While it might be the most convenient to take all the supplements at once, in order to get all health benefits it’s worth following the Vitamin Secrets and setting appropriate times for taking each of them.

 

List of References:

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1. http://www.vital-formulas.com/scientific_evidence/nutrient-interactions/

2. Calcium supplementation: effect on iron absorption. Cook J.D., et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 1991; 53: 106–11.

3. Effect of ascorbic acid intake on nonheme-iron absorption from a complete diet. Am J Clin Nutr January 2001 vol. 73 no. 1 93-98.

4. Vitamin B12 (cobalamin). University of Maryland Medical Center. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-b12-cobalamin

5. Clinical aspects of coenzyme Q: Improvement of cellular bioenergetics or antioxidant protection? Littarru, Gian Paolo, et al. Handbook of Antioxidants, Eds. Enrique Cadenas, Lester Parker, New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc. 1996, pp. 203-239.

6. Influence of dietary fat on beta-carotene absorption and bioconversion into vitamin A. Nutr Rev.</span> 2002 Apr;60(4):104-10.

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7. The multifaceted and widespread pathology of magnesium deficiency. S. Johnson. 2001. Med Hypotheses. 2001; 56(2).

8. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/163169.php

9. Inhibition of food iron absorption by coffee. Am J Clin Nutr. 1983 Mar;37(3):416-20.

10. Inhibition of non-haem iron absorption in man by polyphenolic-containing beverages. Br J Nutr.</span> 1999 Apr;81(4):289-95.

Featured photo credit: Vitamins Clock via vital-formulas.com

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Last Updated on October 20, 2020

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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