Dietary Supplements and Medications That Should Always Be Taken With Food - Suzy Cohen, RPh offers natural remedies to make you feel better now! (2023)

Take with food or on an empty stomach?
There is a lot of confusion about when to take herbal supplements, vitamins, and medications.Do you take them on an empty stomach or with food?And how long do you wait before you eat? Today my goal is to clear up the confusion about the most popular supplements and medications.

Regardless of what you're taking, you should drink a full glass of water to ensure the pill doesn't get lodged in your esophagus and cause irritation. Regardless of whether it is taken with a meal or on an empty stomach, it should always be taken with an adequate amount of water. To prevent heartburn, do not lie down immediately after swallowing your pills. You should sit upright for a few minutes. At first you might be wondering why an item can be ingested with food.There are 4 main reasons:

  1. Food can improve intestinal absorption
  2. To minimize nausea or reflux
  3. To prevent stomach irritation or ulcers
  4. Because it has an effect on the food you eat (like a diabetes drug)

What exactly does "take with food" mean?
When a supplement, enzyme, or medication says "take with food," it usually means take it with or a few minutes before eating. But since you have food in your gastrointestinal tract for a while, it would be okay to eat the food right after eating it. There is no right or wrong.

Essen -This means a full meal.

Snack -That might mean a can of Guarantee for some people, or crackers with jam or cheese, pretzels, popcorn, maybe some applesauce or peaches...a few bites of yogurt, some milk, or a banana. It doesn't have to be a lot, that's my opinion. It's a snack that just goes down with the pill, it doesn't have to fill you up like a meal.

Fat food –Some fat-soluble vitamins and many medications pair best with a fatty meal, so in this case consider meals that include eggs (scrambled eggs or quiche), a baked potato with butter or sour cream, grilled cheese, a hamburger or meatloaf, a bagel with Cream cheese, pizza, or peanut butter with celery, or even a PB&J sandwich. Guacamole too, since avocados are high in fat. These are all high in fat. Read your labels carefully to see if there are any specifics.

Take the following with a meal or a snack

This popular adaptogen should be considered a bit like "edible" as it is an herb. Almost all herbs should be taken with a snack or meal to enhance benefits and reduce nausea. Herbs come from plants and their essential components are better absorbed with food. However, some proprietary forms of herbs, in this case ashwagandha (in the trademarked, patented form of KSM-66), can be taken with or without food. I used this in Thyroid Script. xxx

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Some people take this for general health or to fill nutritional gaps. A multivitamin contains so many ingredients that it's best to take them with food to minimize stomach upset and nausea.

Coenzym Q10.
Some people take this powerful antioxidant for cellular energy production to support their heart, pancreas, liver and brain. CoQ10 is a nutrient that you make in your body that is also sold as a dietary supplement. Coenzyme Q10 or ubiquinone should be taken with food or a fatty meal as it is absorbed at least twice as fast (than on an empty stomach). If you take "Ubiquinol", you can take it regardless of meals.

Some people take selenium or selenomethionine for thyroid inflammation or low thyroid levels, as well as for bone health, prostate support, and autoimmune disorders. Like most other minerals, it is ideally taken with food.

Some people take magnesium for depression, regularity, reducing leg cramps, and blood pressure support. Like most minerals, it's a bit irritating to the gut, especially when not chelated. Taking magnesium with a snack or meal can minimize diarrhea and stomach upset.

Vitamin K.
Some people take vitamin K because it helps you produce prothrombin, a protein that is a clotting factor useful for bone metabolism and blood clotting. It is ideally taken with food. In fact, a study was conducted to show that more vitamin K was absorbed from buttered spinach than spinach that wasn't drizzled into the fat.

Many people with anemia take this, as do people with hypochlorhydria (low acidity). Betaine should come first in your food or fatty meal to improve acid levels in the stomach and help you digest everything. Better digestion and breakdown means you extract more iron and all the minerals and nutrients in the meal. Take this dietary supplement 5 to 10 minutes before eating a full or fatty meal. You should not take it with snacks. Did you know that people with POTS are sometimes deficient in betaine? Sometimes also in choline. If you get dizzy or light-headed when you stand up, you may have POTS, and you can learn more about it todayCLICK HERE.

Vitamin D – You can take it with or without food according to the latest research, but most older scientific literature says you should take it with food as it is fat soluble. Today, most vitamin D supplements come in soft gel suspended in oil.

Vitamin E – Some people take antioxidants for their brain, skin, heart, immune system, and vision. It is a fat-soluble vitamin and should be taken with food for best absorption and to minimize nausea.

Collagen supplements are useful if you are looking for beautiful hair, beautiful skin, strong nails, and flexibility.* There is much controversy over the time to take collagen, which is made from peptides. Ideally, take collagen supplements with a small snack or meal. If done well, the collagen will still be absorbed.

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fish oil.
Some people take fish oil to help with cholesterol, triglycerides, depression, and blood vessel health.* Taking fish oil supplements (EPA, DHA, or both) with food or fatty meals is ideal as it promotes absorption.

Medications that should always be taken with food
(This is not a complete list)

This is a drug that is taken for gout. Ideally, it is taken with a meal and a full glass of water.

These help with heartburn or reflux. They should always be taken with food so that the acid that is excreted when eating can be neutralized. If you take it on an empty stomach, the antacid will leave your stomach too quickly and won't be able to do its job properly.

The most popular antibiotic, especially for children. It can be taken with or without food, but I recommend giving it with food, especially to young children and teenagers, to reduce indigestion, nausea, and vomiting.

Mepron (Atovaquon).
People take this antibiotic to treat a co-infection from Lyme called Babesia. It can also be used to prevent pneumonia (particularly Pneumocystis jiroveci). FYI, this drug is a powerful coenzyme Q10 drug robber. xxx Insert image and affiliate link for the book that ERIC has.

These are used for pain, allergic reactions, skin rashes and an overactive immune system. These should always be taken with food or milk. Some examples are prednisone, hydrocortisone and dexamethasone.

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Ideally, aspirin is taken with food, as it can irritate the sensitive lining of your esophagus. Aspirin is derived from white willow bark, a herb. Aspirin belongs to the category of NSAIDs (see below). Did you know that many people are allergic to aspirin? If this is the case, use caution when consuming certain foods as foods contain the same base (salicylate) as aspirin.CLICK HEREto read my article 36 foods that contain aspirin

People take these medications like ibuprofen, diclofenac, ketoprofen, and indomethacin to manage their inflammation and pain. They should be taken with food. A newJAMAAn article was published on a large meta-analysis concluding that aspirin is beneficial in reducing cardiovascular problems over time. Here is theJAMA STUDY.

People seeking pain relief take oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and others. These are ideally taken with food to minimize stomach upset, nausea, and possible vomiting. Avoid alcohol when taking opiates for additive CNS depression. Just one more warning: if you're taking the extended-release forms (e.g., Oxycontin), you must swallow them whole.Do not chew, break, divide, shred, or dissolve them. You can take Oxycontin with or without food.

In general, all oral medications (inclMETFORMIN) that treat diabetes should normally be taken with meals to help reduce the rise in glucose that occurs naturally after eating and to prevent very low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia). If you take it on an empty stomach, you may become hypoglycemic.

Metformin should always be taken with meals to relieve any stomach upset, indigestion, or gut side effects that may occur, especially during the first month of treatment. This is a prime example of #4 above how the drug affects the food you eat.

Enzyme replacement (supplements or Rx drugs).
These supplements are used to help many people break down (metabolize) the starch, fat, or protein in a meal. In that case, you should take them with your meal. For people seeking their anti-inflammatory effects, it's okay to take enzymes on an empty stomach. Finally, if the enzyme is required to support pancreatic function, for example Creon or Pancrease, it would need to be taken with each meal.


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Suzy Cohen

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Suzy Cohen has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes that the best approach to chronic disease is a combination of naturopathy and conventional medicine. She started her own nutritional supplement company specializing in custom formulas, some of which have patents. With a particular focus on functional medicine, thyroid health, and nutrient depletion through medication, Suzy is the author of several related books, including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.


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