What is a Supplement?
Supplements are intended to supplement, or add to, the vitamins and minerals your body already receives from your diet. Supplements come in various forms including tablets, gels, powders, liquids, bars, gummies, and gel caps. The FDA has established good manufacturing practices (GMPs) that companies must follow to help ensure the identity, purity, strength, and composition of their dietary supplements. These practices help to ensure the safety of the supplements you are taking.
How Long Does it Take for Supplements to Work?
The short answer is, it depends. After taking most supplements consistently for one to two months, you may notice an improvement in your well-being. Consistently taking supplements for four to six months will definitely have an effect, but there are also a number of factors to consider when recognizing whether your supplements are working. These include your baseline vitamin levels prior to taking supplements, your diet, the type of vitamin you are taking, whether the vitamin is a multivitamin or an individual, targeted supplement, and whether you have any underlying health issues.
Your Baseline Vitamin Levels
The best way to test your vitamin levels is through a blood test. A blood test will show what vitamins you are deficient in, and then you can supplement those vitamins. If you are extremely deficient in one vitamin, it may take longer for that deficiency to correct itself, so you may need to supplement for a longer period of time. After taking supplements for a few months, another blood test can provide where you’ve made progress and alterations to your supplements can be made.
What you eat and when you eat it can impact the effectiveness of the supplements you take. Many essential nutrients, including vitamins A, D, E, and K, are fat-soluble vitamins. That means for these vitamins to work, you need to include omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. Opposite of these types of vitamins are water-soluble vitamins, which include vitamins C and B. These are more easily absorbed by your body and therefore tend to work faster.
The Type (form) of Vitamin You are Taking
The effect of the supplement does not necessarily depend on what form the vitamin is in when it reaches the stomach (tablet, gel, liquid), but the absorption rate may be affected by its form. Vitamins might also be better absorbed if they are taken under the tongue instead of swallowed.
When a tablet is swallowed, the intestines need to break down the capsule before the nutrients are released into your bloodstream. When a tablet is dissolved under the tongue, they bypass the digestive system and go straight into the bloodstream. Both supplement forms are effective, but the time it takes for absorption may be affected by the form of the supplement.
Multivitamins vs. Individual Vitamins
Multivitamins are the most common type of supplement used by people in the United States. They often include a dozen or more vitamins in one supplement, which is great if that’s what you’re looking for. However, if you are extremely deficient in one vitamin, it may make more sense to take an individual supplement consisting of just that vitamin.
Underlying Health Issues
Certain underlying health issues can greatly impact the absorption of supplements. Obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, lactose intolerance, celiac disease, and age over 70 years of age can all have a negative effect on the absorption of certain supplements. It’s important to note that if you have one of these underlying conditions, it doesn’t mean supplementation will not work for you, it may just take longer to be effective.
The general consensus is that consistent supplementation yields the best and fastest results. Your body needs to recognize the bioavailability of the supplement which not only includes how much of the supplement is absorbed into the bloodstream but also how much of the vitamin your body stores for future use.
Interested in learning how supplements can make a difference in your quest for optimal wellness? Reach out to 10X Health today to find out more or purchase your first batch of supplements today!