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.

Questions?

Call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

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

Ask a Pharmacist

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Thanks to the Tria Health Help Desk, patients may ask pharmacists any medication-related questions. We’d like to share with you some frequently asked questions and the pharmacists’ answers

Question: Is it OK to take leftover antibiotics to treat a current infection?

Answer: No! The antibiotic might not treat the type infection that you have and might not be the full course of therapy required. Additionally, taking antibiotics inappropriately may also cause antibiotic resistance, making it harder to treat future infections.

Question: How do I know what kind of vitamins I should take?

Answer: It would depend on your diet, lifestyle, and other medical conditions. Taking a multivitamin is a great place to start. If you have concerns about being vitamin deficient, talk with your doctor about checking certain vitamin levels.

Question: Which over-the-counter allergy products are safe to use during pregnancy?

Answer: Both Zyrtec and Claritin are safe to use during pregnancy. Make sure these products do not carry any other active ingredients, like pseudoephedrine. Talk with your doctor or your Tria pharmacist before starting any over the counter allergy product.

Question: I recently started a new medication and have had a stomach ache ever since. Am I allergic to the drug?

Answer: Stomach aches are not a sign or symptom of a medication allergy. It is usually a side effect of the drug. Try to take the medication with food to help avoid stomach upset.

 

Do YOU have a question for our pharmacists?

Enroll with Tria Health and schedule your appointment today!

Call 1.888.799.8742 or visit www.triahealth.com/enroll