Vitamins have become a major health craze these past few decades, with dozens of celebrities, nutritionists and average Joe's singing their praises. The thing is that vitamins aren't the 'miracle drug' that many have claimed them to be.
To be sure, vitamins do have some uses, but it's a little more complex than the self-proclaimed gurus would have you think. In reality, vitamins have very specific use where they can do a lot of good.
We'll go over some of these uses below.
It depends on what you're taking. In some cases tthe best time to take vitamins is in the morning, others at night, and some can be taken at any time without any real issue. As a general rule, the only vitamins and supplements that should be taken at night are Magnesium and supplements that aid with sleep.
Morning vitamins, on the other hand, include anything dealing with energy levels or cognitive function. If you're taking prenatal vitamins, it may be best to take prenatal vitamins at night, to avoid worsening morning sickness.
Still other vitamins, such as fiber or protein, need to be taken multiple times per day. Ideally, though, you should be getting these through your diet. Vitamins should not be taken anymore than necessary.
It is important to note that there are two types of vitamins, known as water soluble and fat soluble. The big difference between the two is that water-soluble typically dissolves in water, meaning that the body doesn't store it.
Fat soluble, on the other hand, dissolves in fat, and therefore can be stored by the body so they usually don't need to be taken as often. One major rule of fat-soluble vitamins is that they should always be taken with food.
In fact, you should probably not take fat-soluble vitamins at all, because you're likely to get them through your diet anyway and taking too much can lead to adverse effects. For future reference, some fat-soluble vitamins to look out for are vitamins A, D, E and K.
This is an issue you probably never thought you'd discuss, but we need to discuss it anyway. You may be wondering if vitamins aren't all that necessary, why are there so many people out there advertising them?
The reason for this has to do with the FDA, in a sense. Unfortunately, the FDA doesn't have any authority over the vitamins and supplements industry, meaning that companies are free to push products and make claims without any form of testing or evidence.
This is especially bad because some studies have suggested that taking too much of some vitamins may be dangerous. Plus, since vitamins are so under-regulated, most vitamin companies get away with flat-out lying about what's in their products.
The good news is that some packages have a USP Verified mark on them, meaning that a well-respected non-profit organization has reviewed the product and found that the ingredients listed are accurate, and the product doesn't seem to be dangerous.
Like any other kind of health product, vitamins should not be used all the time or for every purpose. Certainly, they have their uses, but those uses are actually quite specific. For reference, here are some of the circumstances in which you should take vitamins.
These days, vitamin deficiency isn't really something you'll ever catch unless you're living in an environment where there isn't great healthcare or a wide variety of food. More likely, the reason for having any kind of vitamin deficiency will have to do with disability.
Between various conditions having different effects of the body and the side effects of the medicines people take for them, it is possible to develop some form of deficiency. In this case, it may be easier, and safer, to prescribe a vitamin supplement than to cut back on any of your medications.
It's pretty much common knowledge these days that pregnant women should take prenatal vitamins. What is not as well-known is that doctors recommend women take folic acid for a full year before becoming pregnant.
In fact, some would recommend taking them as long as you are capable of conceiving a child. It is also recommended to continue taking prenatal vitamins until you stop breastfeeding, assuming you are going to breastfeed.
The reason folic acid is so important is because it helps the baby to develop a healthy nervous system, particularly the brain and spinal cord.
At the same time, the importance of not taking excessive amounts of vitamins goes up because now the vitamins are affecting two lives instead of one. In particular, vitamin A should not be taken in doses any larger than 10,000 IU (International Units). This is because vitamin A has been known to cause birth defects when used in excess.
This last one is pretty obvious, but it's still worth saying. Everybody may have that story of a shady doctor who can't be trusted, but that's the exception. Most of them have a genuine interest in helping people, or in not getting sued. Either way, they're going to do their best.
So, when is the best time to take vitamins? It basically depends on the vitamin.
Vitamins can do a lot for us, but they're best used in small doses and for specific reasons, like pregnancy or deficiency. Keep in mind, vitamins aren't well-regulated, so you'll need to be careful. First and foremost, you should talk to your doctor. They'll be able to tell you if you need a vitamin and prescribe a trustworthy brand.
If you'd like to know more about vitamins, what types there are and what they do, please visit our website. We even have a few general health articles, in case vitamins aren't necessarily your strength. For instance, maybe you want to know more about digestive health and how to improve it. We can help with that.