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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 August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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