The beauty of the multivitamin is that doing something good for your health takes about two seconds. But if you want to get the most out of your multi, you have to pay attention to when and how you take it. Here are a few simple tips to follow.
Take Your Multivitamin with Some Fat
The nutrients in a multivitamin can be separated into two types, water-soluble and fat-soluble. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble and should be taken with some dietary fat, like avocado or eggs, to be properly absorbed. Most experts agree that just five grams of fat is enough to transport these vitamins where they need to go in your body. Vitamins C, the B vitamins, and most minerals can be taken with water, but taking them with food will not impact their effectiveness. Taking vitamins with a meal can also ease their digestion since certain minerals such as magnesium have the potential to cause minor gastrointestinal distress when consumed on an empty stomach.
If you’re typically a morning coffee drinker, consider waiting until later in the day to see if you still need that extra kick. Caffeine has been shown to negatively affect the absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, and B vitamins. Remember to distance your vitamins from your caffeinated pre-workout formulas as well.
Abstain From Alcohol
While it’s actually not a bad idea to take some vitamins after you stumble home from a night of drinking since alcohol has been shown to deplete the body of several valuable nutrients, it’s not something you want to do regularly. Research shows that booze can interfere with the uptake of biotin, thiamin (Vitamin B1), and Vitamin C.
Pass on the Bread
Wheat, seeds, and legumes are rich in phytic acid, which some nutrition experts refer to as an “anti-nutrient.” Phytic acid, also called phytate, can block the absorption of minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium, and calcium.
Don’t Mix Immediately with the Gym
This might be one of the most counterintuitive pieces of advice in fitness: Don’t take your vitamins after you train. Antioxidants such as Vitamin C and Vitamins E can rob your gains. Antioxidants quell free radicals, unstable trouble-making atoms that can cause inflammation and ultimately disease. However, post-workout inflammation caused by lifting heavy weights is part of the stress response that forces your muscles to grow bigger and stronger. If your antioxidant vitamins put out that fire, your gains will slow down significantly. Give your muscles several hours between pumping iron and swallowing those pills.