Remember back when we were kids and all we had to do was chew on a Flintstone vitamin? We thought we had it all covered! Now we have so many different options for chewable and multi vitamins that it can make your head spin. Here is the thing, I’m not a fan of a multi vitamin… ever. Sure taking supplements can help fill the gaps but we don’t all have the same gaps to fill. SO once you narrow it down to the handful of necessities how do you know how to stack them? What gets taken when and what should you be combining? What needs to be taken with food, with citrus, with fat or with food? What needs to be take alone? SO many questions… so here are the answers.
For better absorption, take your supplement with water, not with warm beverages like coffee or tea. Not that it maters with ALL supplements but some of them will be negatively affected by caffeine (same goes for thyroid meds folks)
Generally rule of thumb… take most in the AM. The only reason I recommend this is cause you will have a better handle on your morning routine than you will throughout the day. So get them in while you can so you don’t forget.
Take same-E – E 30 minutes before you eat breakfast, if you are a fasting kind of person then great! You can also do this an hour or so after eating if you have to eat first thing. I like to keep things like this beside my bed so I take them first thing in the AM. If you are on thyroid meds I would swap the routine to either before bed OR I would take the thyroid as soon as you wake and then after your shower throw back your same-E.
Take you iron supplements with come citrus, if you like to add vitamin C but don’t want fruit then grab some camu camu. It has the highest bioavailability in a small dosage and you aren’t getting toxic ascorbic acid. Your body doesn’t like the synthetic stuff. Now I have to caution if you are taking calcium (which I hope you aren’t, it isn’t necessary…) you want to avoid taking it anywhere this supplement. calcium inhibits iron so it would be counter intuitive. This is another one of those morning favourites, you want to take it 3o minutes before breakfast, on an empty stomach. Some of you are sensitive though so if you find it irritates your belly then you can either swap to a different type or take with a litle food. Just avoid taking it with those protein smoothies
Vitamin C. Pleas stop taking ascorbic acid, it’s synthetic and your body doesn’t know what to do with it. That being said I love adding camu camu to my regime. It has way more bang for your buck. Only issue is its water soluble so it has a short half life. This means it leaves our system fairly quickly so this is one i like to split does or take twice per day. Just take your RDA and cut it in half so you can take it twice. Unless you are on a super cool gut healing protocol with higher doe vitamin C… but thats a whole other story.
Speaking of water soluble, B vitamins are also to be take in split dose format. Since they have a shorter half life and our body doesn’t store them you really need to ensure you are taking them AM and PM. Take them with food too. Knowing your DNA will come in handy with these ones. Do you need a methylated version? How about a hydroxy or adenosyl version? I prefer sublingual in most cases so try to find it in one of those formats. Knowing your genetics is a good idea to really customize your supplement regime.
Let me tell you a bit more about our B vitamins, since they play such a crucial role. They help us produce energy at a cellular level. We don’t store it so we need to supplement every single day (twice a day like I said). Adenosyl is great for those with MTR or MTRR variations who experience anxiety when taking methylcobalamin – the format that does not require conversion. B-12 is in the the bloodstream, it protects the brain, helps remove toxins, and converts homocysteine to methionine. Note – adenosyl is NOT stable in pill form so always grab a liquid/sublingual version. OK moving right along…B12 specifically works best n an empty stomach while other B vitamins are not as finicky.
Vitamin E, a fat soluble vit, this means you need to take it with some fat (hi-there Keto lovers!). I lie to eat it with breakfast if I have it or lunch. I have it with an avocado or basically a high fat meal. Easy enough. This is one of those vitamins I like to stack with selenium. Since I have had thyroid issues in the past I supplement with selenium since it’s basically the king for the thyroid. Selenium will help the body use the vitamin E to its full potential.
Zinc is another I take for thyroid health, I did a zinc test at home using zinc sulfate and sure enough I was deficient. We don’t want to upset the delicate zinc/copper balance so be careful. I’m a fan of picolinate when it comes to supplementing personally as it’s pretty much the most bioavailable form, although it’s tough to find. Make sure to take this away from iron and calcium, again I hope you aren’t taking calcium…You can take this at lunch or mid morning. I take it with food to avoid stomach upset.
Iodine is a tricky one I get asked about a lot. We need it but too much is not good. Personally I get mine from kelp. Take it at lunch so you get a boost of energy, don’t take it at night and be careful which source you get. A popular one is Lugols, speaking of which you can do the lugols test just like the zinc one I mentioned above.. Make sure you are testing your thyroid properly if you are going to supplement with this one.
Tip #11 (there seem to be a lot of them…)
BCAA’s, cause so many of my athletic peeps keep asking when and how. Before… ok sounds counterintuitive to some and not everyone agrees so in this case do what you like. But for me I recommend before so it helps repair as you train. I add a little CBD after to keep it going. Want to stack it? Add in some Beta-Alanine for added performance.
Post workout? Leave the protein shake or any food for at least an hour (two if you can!) this lets your growth hormone continue to do it’s job. The second you consume anything that needs to be digested your body stops the production of growth hormone.
Magnesium is awesome, we all need it so get it into you. I take it twice a day so I don’t shit myself… but you can take it all at once at night if you wish. It’s part of my bedtime stack with a few others. They say it needs to be take with calcium for absorption but personally I’m careful about recommending calcium especially to women unless you are taking adequate vitamin K2. I like bisglycinate for absorption however there are a ton of different kinds you can play with.
Speaking of K2, I want to mention I stack it with vitamin A as well as D3. Remember that vitamin A, D, E and K are all fat soluble so taken with fat is ideal, this is why I get a liquid format in a MCT base. One of my favourite brands is this one, I prefer liquid due to absorption issues for most people. If you feel gastric distress (heartburn or tummy ache) then take with food. You want to take vitamin D with K2 for absorption, I wrote a pretty awesome article about it, I also have a dosing chart in case you are adding it separate not all together.
Probiotics are amazing taken at night. They help support our liver while it does most of its work, which happens to be at night while we sleep. I recommend taking these at night. Be careful of all the hype, there are very few brands that are actually up to standard containing what is written on the label. The only brand I recommend (soil based would be different) is Natren. I like their Healthy Start pack, it’ a 30 days supply of exactly what is needed to reinoculate. Once you have done this you should be ok without supplementing as long as you are getting lot of prebiotics. When do you need to reinoculate? During times of higher than normal stress as stress knocks out our delicate intestinal flora. It also knocks out our stomach acid (HCL) so you may want to supplement with a little betaine plus pepsin for a little bit till your stress is managed or reduced. Take them on an empty stomach and away from any enzymes, this can be kind of tricky when you read my suggestions for the next one. Since you are theoretically only using this for 30 days you can adapt your regime accordingly with your enzymes.
Digestive enzymes, or shall we just call them enzymes? These little guys are awesome, they have a hierarchy and digestion is not top of its list. They are actually meant for repair, however when food is consumed they go to the much needed function of digestion. This takes away from them repairing our body which means we only use what is left after the digestive processes are complete. In some cases that is n’t much. So for this reason I like to take them with means but also right before bed away from food so they can help lower inflammation and repair where it is needed. Especially proteolytic enzymes like our proteases, they are my favourite ones. Watch out for supplements loaded with amylase, it’s more of a filler as it’s the cheapest one to obtain.
CBD for the win! I love taking this and timing really isn’t that big a deal. Just remember that a healthy liver is key as CBD is processed (you guessed it) by the liver. We really do not utilize anywhere near as much as what we are taking, in some cases as low as 10%. You are going to want to make sure you are getting enough Omega 3’s as well as our endocannbinoid system is dependant on this for proper utilization of CBD.
I like to take a little bit extra during the holiday season as it supports a healthy immune system as well as protecting my liver form holiday over indulgence of alcohol…
There are so many others I could list but for now I think this is a great start!