Multivitamins, probiotics, magnesium, calcium, and omega-3 lutein are the most commonly used nutritional supplements in Korea. It is good to take the nutrients you need, but you can expect the effect if you eat it at the right time. This is because each nutritional supplement has a different absorption rate.
▶ Before meals → B vitamins, lactic acid bacteria, iron
The vitamin B group contains eight water-soluble vitamins, from B1 to B12, which improve immunity and flush out toxins that accumulate in the body during the night. It also prevents fatigue and lethargy by preventing the build-up of lactic acid which causes muscle fatigue. The absorption rate of vitamin B group decreases when it comes into contact with the oil component in food, so it is best to eat it on an empty stomach.
Lactobacillus is also on an empty stomach. Lactobacillus breaks down sugar and makes lactic acid to increase the number of beneficial bacteria in the intestine, thereby strengthening immunity. It is important for these lactic acid bacteria to reach the intestines alive, but due to the nature of lactic acid bacteria, they die easily when they meet stomach acid or bile acid. Therefore, it is effective to eat it in the morning when gastric acid secretion is relatively low, and before a meal when gastric acid secretion is promoted for digestion.
Take iron supplements on an empty stomach. Iron produces hemoglobin, an oxygen carrier. Iron deficiency causes symptoms such as anemia, muscle contraction, fatigue, and weakened immunity. Iron absorption is reduced when taken with food, so it should be taken on an empty stomach. However, if you have a weak stomach or frequent stomach pain, it is best taken after a meal.
▶ After meals → Multivitamin, vitamin C, omega 3
Multivitamins, the most popular nutritional supplement by Koreans, should be taken before or after meals, depending on what the main ingredients are. If the main ingredient is vitamins, take them in the morning on an empty stomach for better absorption. Vitamin C removes free radicals and strengthens aging and immunity, but it promotes the secretion of gastric acid and can cause heartburn or gastrointestinal disorders, so it is convenient to take it after meals.
The omega 3 you take for brain health is fat soluble, so when you eat it with the fat component in food, the absorption rate increases. Therefore, it is best to take it immediately after a meal. Lutein, taken for eye health, is also a fat-soluble vitamin. Absorption is increased when taken with oily food, so take it after a meal. It is especially good after breakfast, as it reduces damage to the macula during the day from UV rays. The same is true for vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin K.
▶ Evening → Magnesium, Calcium, Vitamin C, Omega 3
The important thing our body does during the night is to recover from fatigue and regenerate cells. For this, a good night’s sleep is essential, and the representative nutrients that help you sleep well are calcium and magnesium. Magnesium prevents brain agitation, calms arousal, relaxes nerves, and lowers levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, to induce deep sleep. Calcium is better absorbed when mixed with stomach acid, so it’s good to eat after a meal, and it’s good to eat at night because it relieves stress and helps sleep.
Vitamin C and omega 3, which are excellent in antioxidant and fatigue functions, are better eaten in the evening than in the morning, and are best taken after dinner. The antioxidant effect is maximized between 10:00 pm and 2:00 am, as it can promote antioxidant function when eaten after dinner.
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