By Ken Ye, PharmD, RPh
When filling your prescriptions, your pharmacist considers the indication, dose, frequency — and even time of day — to maximize the effectiveness of the medication while minimizing any side effects. But what if you want to take supplements to improve your body’s functions or support some of those prescribed medications?

Here are five tips to ensure you get the most out of your supplements:

Tip #1
Take fat-soluble vitamins (Vitamin A, D, E and K) and minerals like calcium and magnesium with fatty foods to help with absorption. Remember that grapefruit juice interferes with some medications, and Vitamin K may interfere with blood thinners.

Tip #2
Diuretic supplements and natural diuretics like dandelion, parsley, hawthorn, and juniper increase urine production. Take these supplements in the morning to avoid multiple nighttime trips to the bathroom.

Tip #3
Take iron supplements together with vitamin C such as orange juice to help your body absorb the iron. Avoid taking dairy products and calcium supplements within 2 hours of taking iron supplements. These products will limit your body’s ability to absorb iron.

Tip #4
Many Canadians do not receive enough vitamin D due to lack of sunshine and lack of vitamin D in their diet. Your body needs vitamin D to properly absorb calcium, so consider taking vitamin D supplements together with calcium.

Tip #5
Many supplements interact with prescription and over-the-counter medications. For example, St. John’s Wort interacts with anti-depressants, birth control pills, and certain blood thinners. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new supplements.

Taking supplements in addition to having a healthy and balanced diet may indeed improve your health. It is important to know ways to maximize supplement benefits and minimize its side effects.
If you want to start taking supplements or have any questions about taking supplements, book a consultation with one of our Yurek pharmacists.