Absorbing your vitamins

You’re health conscious. You’ve got protein powder, fish oil, COQ10, a daily multi-vitamin, etc. You take these supplements every day; they don’t just sit in your kitchen cabinet. But how much of these supplements are you actually absorbing and how much are literally going down the toilet?

There are two main factors that affect the way your body absorbs nutrients. The good news is both can be altered by your actions.

  1. The type and quality of supplements you take.
  2. How you consume them. (intervals at which you take the supplements during the day, dosage amounts, etc.)

For example, whey protein, the most common ingredient in protein powders, can only be absorbed at a rate of 10 grams per hour. Furthermore, it takes 1.5 hours for the protein to pass through the section of intestines that can actually absorb it. So that 22 gram protein shake you drank for lunch, only gave you 15 grams.

Vitamin and mineral absorption can also be hindered by the combination you take them in. Too much of a specific supplement can result in your body not absorbing other vitamins or minerals. For example, too much vitamin A can block absorption of vitamin K. Furthermore, Calcium competes with Iron in the absorption arena, even with normal doses.

So, how can we counteract these negative effects? For whey protein, you can do a couple things to ensure that you are getting your money’s worth.

  1. You can spread out your consumption of the protein powder so that you are only drinking 15 grams of protein every 1.5 hours.
  2. You can start taking digestive enzymes to help your intestines absorb that critical protein.

It’s a little more complicated for supplements, the strategy changes depending on which ones you are taking. For example Calcium absorption is increased by vitamin D and the consumption of food. Also, brands that have been independently tested and certified either by USP or NSF actually have the stated amount of the vitamin per dosage.

These are just a few examples of how you can efficiently take supplements. A little education can go a long way, there are countless absorption strategies depending on what your specific needs are. It’s just a matter of finding out what works for you.


 

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease

Sources:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/rr-whey-too-much
http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/food-nutrition/vitamin-supplements/body-absorb-vitamins.htm
http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/improve-bodys-absorption-vitamins-2898.html
http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/expert.q.a/01/15/vitamins.absorption.jampolis/