How to Optimize Your Vitamins & Supplements

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Vitamins and supplements play an important role in bodily functions such as metabolism, immunity and digestion.1 They are there to complement the nutrients you get from food and bring you closer to your health and wellness goals.2 If you want to get the most out of your vitamins and supplements, there are a few things you should know.

Tips & Tricks for the top Vitamins/Supplements:

  1. Vitamin D:
    • Vitamin D can be found in fatty fish (salmon, tuna, and mackerel), cheese, egg yolk and yogurt.
    • It takes 10 to 15 minutes of daily direct sunlight on the skin to trigger vitamin D production.
    • Having low levels of vitamin D (< 30 ng/ml) increases the risk of fractures, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and depression.
  2. Iron:
    • Animal food sources richest for iron include lean meats, seafood, nuts, beans, and leafy greens.
    • Low iron can cause tiredness, fatigue, poor concentration, hair loss, and craving nonfood items like ice or dirt.
    • Talk to your doctor and test your iron level before taking iron.
    • Take on an empty stomach if possible.
    • Drinking orange juice with iron helps with absorption.
    • Wait two hours before taking iron after drinking caffeine.
    • Do not take iron with calcium.
  3. Magnesium:
    • Nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, leafy vegetables, milk, and yogurt are good sources of magnesium.
    • Magnesium supports muscle and nerve function as well as energy production.
    • Magnesium deficiency can cause general fatigue, muscle weakness and osteoporosis for the long term.
    • The recommended daily amount of magnesium is 400-420 mg for adult and 310-360 mg for adult women.
  4. Fish Oil:
    • Fish oil is good for your heart and brain function.
    • You can store fish oil in the refrigerator or take it at bedtime to avoid the unpleasant taste.
    • If you are a vegetarian or vegan, algal oil is a good option as it comes from algae.
    • 1 g is a good dose to start, avoid taking more than 4 g a day.
  5. Vitamin C:
    • Do not take more than 2000 mg/day, or you may have some diarrhea, heartburn and dizziness.
    • Best taken with a meal.
  6. Calcium:
    • You will want to take calcium with vitamin D to help your body absorb them.
    • Calcium is best absorbed with food. There is a liquid form of calcium you can request from the pharmacy.
    • You will need anywhere from 1000 to 1200 mg of calcium every day.
    • Calcium citrate is better tolerated. You will want to take it 30 minutes before a meal.
    • Make sure you do not take more than 600 mg of calcium at one time because your stomach can not absorb it.
  7. Zinc:
    • Can be used to aid the immune system, ease cold and flu symptoms, or help with health and growth.
    • Take this with a meal and separate from other medications.
    • This drug is usually well tolerated but can cause nausea. Call your doctor if you experience side effects that are bothersome or do not go away.
    • Some zinc products have sugar, talk to your doctor if you have high blood sugar before taking.
  8. Vitamin B-12:
    • Vitamin B-12 can be used to treat some types of anemia.
    • May cause tiredness, dizziness, headache, or diarrhea.
    • Should be taken with a meal.
  9. Folate:
    • Folate can be used to treat some types of anemia and aid in diet needs before, during and after pregnancy.
    • This drug is usually well tolerated but you should call the doctor if you experience any bothersome or lasting side effects.
    • You can take it with or without food. If it upsets your stomach, take with food.
  10. Fiber:
    • Fiber can be used to treat constipation or to increase fiber in your diet.
    • After taking, space out other drugs by 2 hours.
    • Take this medication with a full glass of water and make sure to drink lots of noncaffeinated liquids.
    • Fiber may cause stomach pain, cramps or bloating.

As always, tell your medical providers if you are taking any supplements or over-the-counter products. Different products have different storage requirements, refer to product labeling.

How can Tria Health Help?

Tria Health provides one-on-one confidential counseling with a pharmacist for any of your medication related questions. If Tria Health is currently a part of your healthcare plan, call the Tria Health Help desk today for any of your questions.


Call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742


  1. The Importance of Vitamins To Your Body (
  2. Why are Vitamins Important? | Centrum

New Study Finds Tainted Supplements

Pills on a silver tray
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A new study published in early October revealed unapproved and sometimes dangerous drugs in 746 dietary supplements, almost all of them marketed for weight loss, muscle growth or sexual enhancement.1

Supplement Contaminations

About 80 percent of supplements were contaminated by one pharmaceutical that should not have been in the product. Twenty percent contained at least two such drugs, and two of the supplements contained six unapproved drugs. Despite these contaminants, fewer than half the products were recalled.2 In the United States, more than 50% of adults consume dietary supplements, fueling a $35 billion industry.3,4 As the dietary supplement industry continues to grow in the United States, it is essential to further address this significant public health issue.

What Does This Mean for You?

The presence of pharmaceutically active ingredients in dietary supplements makes them unapproved drugs and represents an important public health concern. The study found indications that a large percentage of products continue to be sold and are potentially dangerous even after FDA warnings. This is alarming, especially considering that the FDA is only able to test a portion of products available on the market. Taking a combination of herbal supplements or using supplements together with prescribed medications could lead to harmful, even life-threatening results.

Supplement Safety Tips

  • If you’re currently taking prescription medications and thinking about starting an herbal supplement, always talk to your doctor or pharmacist first about possible drug interactions.
  • Stick to brands that have been tested by independent sources
    • Check or U.S. Pharmacopeia Convention (USP)

Do you have any questions regarding your supplements or medications?

Tria Health provides one-on-one confidential counseling with a pharmacist for any of your medication related questions. If Tria Health is currently a part of your healthcare plan, call the Tria Health Help desk today for any of your questions.

Tria Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742



  3. Bailey RL, Gahche  JJ, Lentino  CV,  et al.  Dietary supplement use in the United States, 2003-2006.  J Nutr. 2011;141(2):261-266. doi:10.3945/jn.110.133025
  4. US Food and Drug Administration. Constituent updates—FDA creates the Office of Dietary Supplement programs and announces new nutrition office leadership. Published December 21, 2015. Accessed June 2017.

October is National Pharmacists Month

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Happy National Pharmacists Month! The goal of this month is to recognize pharmacists for the significant role they play in effective medication management, patient education and overall medication safety. Learn more about how pharmacists can help you every day.

Safe and Effective Medication Use

Pharmacists help ensure that medications control conditions the right way. They help minimize any side effects and safeguard against any possible interactions with other medications that lead to more expensive health care costs such as emergency room visits, hospitalization, etc.

Preventative Services

Did you know that more than 300,000 immunization-trained pharmacists administer vaccines, and nearly one in four adults receive their influenza vaccinations at their community pharmacy?1 Pharmacists can provide guidance on all vaccine-preventable diseases and which immunizations are best for you.

OTCs and Supplements

Pharmacists are experts in prescription medications, supplements and over the counter medications. They can tell you about potential interactions with foods, other drugs, or dietary supplements. And they can help you pick the perfect product. With over 100,000 over-the-counter products on the market, your pharmacist is always there to lend a helping hand!1

Condition Management

Did you know that pharmacists are experts and more than just medications?  They are trained and educated in how to manage conditions as a whole. Tria Health has pharmacists who are certified diabetic educators on staff.  This allows them to treat the person rather than the medication.  They focus on non-pharmacy and pharmacy strategies to accomplish control of a disease.


Tria Health’s Pharmacists

Tria Health was founded on the belief that pharmacists play a vital role in the management of high-risk patients that drive the majority of health care spend. If Tria Health is currently a part of your healthcare plan, call the Tria Health Help desk today for any of your medication-related questions.

Tria Help Desk: 1.888.799.8742




Raspberry Ketones – The Miracle Diet Pill?

Promises of miraculous fat burning capabilities have turned raspberry ketones into a multi-million dollar product. This compound found in red raspberries has been traditionally used by the perfume and manufactured food industries to produce a berry-like scent.

Health care providers have turned a curious eye to this “miracle drug” and found two studies in mice and one small study in humans to support its medical use. The human study evaluated the use of topical raspberry ketone cream on hair growth and skin elasticity.  There are no human studies evaluating the use of this supplement as a weight loss aid.

Raspberry ketone supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so manufacturers are not required to produce clinical studies that prove its safety and efficacy, rather, they can make claims about its effectiveness without having the actual data to prove its merit.

Physicians and pharmacists utilize medications that have gone through large, placebo-controlled, blinded studies that provide scientific proof that a medication is both safe and effective.  Applying this model to raspberry ketones, we have no proof (i.e. large placebo-controlled, blinded human studies) that tells us whether or not this supplement actually results in weight loss.

The prescription for weight loss remains the same, a reasonable diet with fruits and vegetables and 30 to 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at least 5 days per week.  Until data becomes available, diet and exercise trumps raspberry ketones.

If you have questions, call the Tria Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742.