Should you be taking vitamins with your medication?
Food and nutritionist blogger essentiallyemma.co.uk works with PillTime as an advisor on our vitamin services. We asked her to give us an experts view about how vitamins can help when they are taken alongside your medication.
Why you should include vitamins alongside your medication?
Many people are familiar with the idea of taking vitamins daily, and there are plenty of people who do this as part of their routine. However, as a nutritionist I find that many people are a bit lost with vitamins, asking which ones they should be taking, how often and what forms. We are all unique, with different lifestyles, medical issues and preferences and as such, the vitamins we might benefit from can differ from person to person. Taking the right vitamins alongside your medication can optimise your overall health, giving your body the nutrients it needs to function at its best.
Why do we need vitamins?
Our bodies need a range of vitamins, minerals and other components on a daily basis to perform all of the functions we need to survive. Some compounds we can produce in our body, or get from the sun, but the majority of our nutrients have to come from what we eat. Our food provides us with many things; calories for energy, protein for muscles and fats for our tissues, but it also provides us with all of our micronutrients. In theory, humans should be able to get everything they need from a balanced diet, but that is not always the case. Many factors can impact our ability to get these nutrients, including:
- Poor absorption in our gut
- Medication side effects
- Health conditions
- Food interactions
- Poor diet
- Geographical location
Food first is always the recommendation for getting nutrients, but sometimes that isn’t quite enough. As such, many people can benefit from adding in a vitamin or mineral supplement to make sure they are meeting their needs.
Health benefits of combining vitamins and medications
Most people have, at some point in their lives, had to take medication for a health condition. Perhaps for a chronic condition e.g. diabetes, or an acute condition e.g. infection. When managing a health condition, your underlying overall health can play a significant role in the length, severity and even the cause of your condition. Think of your general health as the foundation that holds up the house (your body). Having good, strong foundations can go a long way to having a well-built house, whereas cracks in your foundations can cause a whole range of issues in the house! There are lots of factors that affect the strength of those foundations, exercise, genetics, age, environment, etc. Diet and nutrition status is a big component of health, so optimising your overall health through a good nutrition status can be incredibly beneficial for your health condition.
What vitamins should you be taking
We are all unique with different lifestyles and needs, and as such our vitamin requirements can differ. There are a few vitamins and supplements that are beneficial for everyone, plus a range of others to suit every goal. The most important thing overall is that you are getting the right, high-quality vitamins for you. Speak to your GP or health provider if you have specific questions relating to your needs.
Commonly recommended supplements that most people can benefit from:
- Multivitamin: an easy way for ensuring you are meeting your overall requirements
- Vitamin D: essential in the winter months in the UK for immune and bone health
- Calcium: important for maintaining healthy bones alongside vitamin D
- Vitamin C: good for supporting the immune system
- Iron: a common deficiency and important for energy
- Omega-3s: promote heart and brain health
Check out our Top 6 Supplements post for a more detailed breakdown of each supplement.
Things to consider when combining vitamins and medications
- Not all supplements are safe to be taken by everyone, your health conditions and medications can interact with some supplements, you should always speak to a health provider if you are unsure.
- Care should also be taken to follow the instructions for the recommended dose. Simply taking lots of supplements won’t make you extra healthy!
- Don’t combine a multivitamin with extra vitamins. Multivitamins usually contain at least 100% of your requirement for each vitamin and mineral so there is no need to add an extra vitamin C supplement on top, for example.
- You may want to split your pills up throughout the day to make them easier to take and absorb.
- Always buy vitamins from a high-quality and reputable source.
PillTime Vitamin Service
PillTime makes receiving high-quality vitamins easy and reliable. You can now choose supplements to be added to your PillTime pouches which makes it simple to take your vitamins daily. Use our questionnaire to find out which supplements are recommended for you.