What You Will Learn in This Article
- Which supplements to take in the AM, not PM
- How to determine your dose
- Estrogen Reset
- What type of magnesium is right for you?
- Ingredients you should not find in your supplements
- What your supplement labels should say
We get lots of questions on supplements and this article will attempt to answer as many of them as possible. Before I start, first things first: if you’re currently taking medications, please always check with your prescribing physician before adding a regimen of vitamins or supplements. Certain supplements such as Calcium-D-glucarate, can interfere with medications, particularly those that are detoxed by the glucuronidation pathway in the liver. Taking a supplement like Calcium-D-glucarate could speed up that process and cause the medications to be less effective. (1)
Bottom line: it’s important that these supplements are taken away from pharmaceuticals.
Supplementation can truly be a bit confusing. After all, some supplements are better taken in the morning; others are better taken in the evening. You’ll see a number of different dosage options on bottles, and several available forms of minerals like magnesium. Some supplements should be taken with food; others, away from food. There are all kind
s of additives to watch out for, and some certifications you’ll want to seek out.
All that said, you can see how there are quite a few things to keep in mind when it comes to supplements. We’ll start by covering the timing for taking supplements.
Supplements to Take in The AM, Not PM
There are certain supplements that are better taken in the morning rather than the evening. The ones we’ll cover in this article are the B Vitamins, Vitamin D3, and a particular form of magnesium.
The B-Complex Vitamins include B1 (Thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (Pyridoxine), B7 (Biotin), B9 (folate), and B12 (cobalamin). The B vitamins have all kinds of important roles in the body, but one of them is supporting the metabolism and creating energy. (2)
Because B vitamins are so important in energy production, taking them in the evening can be too stimulating for some people. That’s especially the case for vitamins B6, B12, and folate, which help the body produce and release energizing neurotransmitters, like dopamine and norepinephrine. (3, 4)
So, just in case, you may want to try taking them in the morning. B-vitamins are water soluble, so they don’t have to be taken along with food. You can just take your B-complex with your morning glass of water. If you’re deficient in B12, you might want to take it first thing, on an empty stomach, as it may be better absorbed away from food. (5)
Ideally, you want to find a B-complex product that has key B vitamins (B6, B12, folate) in a metabolically active (ready-to-use) form. For example, that means the vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is in the active form of Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate or P-5-P and B12 in the methylated form of methylcobalamin. Folate will also ideally be in the methylated form, not in folic acid form.
That type of supplement will be much easier for the body to use than a run-of-the-mill multivitamin with folic acid and other Bs in their basic form.
The product I recommend (and take personally): B Maximus. This supplement contains all the B complex vitamins with key Bs in their active form. It also contains choline to support methylation.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient that our skin cells make in response to sunlight exposure. (6) As a supplement, you’ll want to make sure that you seek out vitamin D3 rather than vitamin D2. Vitamin D3 is more bioavailable or usable to the body. (7) In fact, one study found D3 to be twice as effective as D2 in increasing levels of 25-Hydroxy-D in the bloodstream (8)
Because it’s a fat soluble nutrient, vitamin D3 is best absorbed when taken with a meal containing fat, such as the PFF breakfast I recommend to support hormone balance. Taking it with the largest meal of the day is also helpful for absorption, according to research. (9)
However, that’s only as long as dinner isn’t your largest meal. Vitamin D3 is best taken in the morning because it can interfere with melatonin production. (10) However, overall increasing your levels of vitamin D tends to improve sleep quality. (11) So, you want to make sure you get enough vitamin D; just don’t take it at night.
The product I recommend (and use personally): D3 Maximus (also containing vitamins K1 and K2). This supplement is a higher dose vitamin D3 product. One capsule contains 5,000 IUs of vitamin D3 as cholecalciferol. It also has added vitamin K in the forms of both K1 and K2. Vitamin D and Vitamin K work together in many different ways. (12)
Learn more about the connection between low vitamin D and thyroid conditions by reading this article.
Magnesium malate is another supplement that is best taken in the morning, rather than at night. That’s because this form of magnesium is useful in helping the body produce energy. It literally helps the mitochondria (the energy factories of the cells) put out more energy. (13) That’s something you don’t want to be creating in high amounts when you’re trying to wind down for bed.
The product I recommend: Mag Energy. The recommended dose of magnesium malate is 300 to 400mg per day, and Mag Energy provides 360 mg in a two capsule dose. Take it in the morning or no later than early afternoon so that you don’t interfere with your melatonin production.
Take it with Meals or Empty Stomach
The simple answer is: the supplement label will tell you, especially if a supplement is to be taken on an empty stomach or in between meals. If it does not, it just means: “it does not matter, take it when you can.”
How to Determine Your Dose
How do you determine what dose is right for you? Let’s go over a couple of supplements we’ve gotten questions on.
The RDA for magnesium is around 320 milligrams per day. If levels drop below this, the ramifications can quickly be seen. Many women need a higher magnesium intake than the RDA suggests, particularly if they are being robbed of magnesium by genetic issues, conditions such as thyroid autoimmune disease, or stress.
To know if you need a higher dose, try the “bowel tolerance test” described below. This means you go up in doses every two days until your stool becomes loose.
Some women are so depleted (stress and sugar are common magnesium robbers) that they need as much 1,200 mg per day to replenish their reserves. Once you get a loose stool, back off to a lower dose.
Here is an example:
- Day 1: 300 mg per day; regular stool or constipation
- Day 2: 300 mg per day; regular stool or constipation
- Day 3: 600 mg per day (300 mg in the morning and 300 mg at night); regular stool or constipation
- Day 4: 600 mg per day (300 mg in the morning and 300 mg at night); regular stool or constipation
- Day 5: 900 mg per day (600 mg in the morning and 300 mg at night); regular stool or constipation
- Day 5: 900 mg per day (600 mg in the morning and 300 mg at night); loose stool
- Day 6: Back off to 600 mg per day (300 mg in the morning and 300 mg at night) to go back to regular stool
Continue taking 600 mg per day until you develop loose stool, then back off again. If not, stay on this dose. Magnesium is one nutrient I recommend taking long-term. In times of stress, you may need to up the dose.
To settle on the best dose of magnesium, you need to listen to what feels right for your body. If you overdo it, you will experience loose stool or intestinal rumbling and then you will know to reduce your daily intake.
The standard recommended dosage for vitamin C is just 100 to 200 mg per day. But if you’re wanting to give your immune system a boost and stabilize your hormones (especially support your progesterone production), up to 2,000 mg per day may be used.
In the Nurses’ Health Study, premenopausal women with a family history of breast cancer who consumed an average of 205 mg per day of vitamin C from food had a 63% lower risk of breast cancer than those who consumed an average of 70 mg per day. In the Swedish Mammography Cohort, overweight women who consumed an average of 110 mg per day of vitamin C had a 39% lower risk of breast cancer compared to overweight women who consumed an average of 31 mg per day.
Vitamin C is water-soluble, so it can just be taken with water rather than alongside a meal. (16).
The RDA for vitamin C is 70 milligrams per day for women. Most RDAs state minimal values for a person to live and survive, not thrive in optimal health. You may therefore consider higher doses, with 2,000 mg per day being the upper limit.
To know what dose of vitamin C you need, try the “bowel tolerance test” described below. This means you go up in doses every two days until your stool becomes loose. Some women are so depleted that they need as much 4,000 mg per day to replenish their reserves. Once you get a loose stool, back off to a lower dose.
Here is an example:
- Day 1: 600 mg per day; regular stool or constipation
- Day 2: 600 mg per day; regular stool or constipation
- Day 3: 1,200 mg per day (600 mg in the morning and 600 mg at night); regular stool or constipation
- Day 4: 1,200 mg per day (600 mg in the morning and 600 mg at night); regular stool or constipation
- Day 5: 1,800 mg per day (1200 mg in the morning and 600 mg at night); regular stool or constipation
- Day 5: 1,800 mg per day (1,200 mg in the morning and 600 mg at night); loose stool
- Day 6: Back off to 1,200 mg per day (600 mg in the morning and 600 mg at night) to go back to regular stool
Typically, when you replenish your levels of vitamin C, you will start getting loose stool even with 1,200mg per day; lower the dose then to 600mg or even less until your stool returns to normal.
Estrogen Reset Kit – How to Take It
The Wellena Estrogen Reset Kit is a trio of three supplements: Calcium D-Glucarate, Brocco Power, and DIM. We’ve received a lot of questions around whether all three supplements should be taken together or separately.
The answer is that they are meant to be taken together:
- Brocco Power: 1 capsule per day with a meal
- Calcium D-Glucarate: 2 capsules per day with meals
- DIM: 1 capsule per day with a meal
However, that said, some people may have sensitivities to supplements. In that case, we recommend introducing one product at a time. The final goal is to eventually use all three of them together.
We recommend starting off with Brocco Power for 2 weeks. Then, add Calcium D-Glucarate (practicing caution with your current medications) for 2 weeks. If you feel good, add DIM. If any of the supplements give you reverse reactions, please discontinue it.
The Estrogen Reset Kit has been the top supplement kit in our community to address Estrogen Dominance.
What Type of Magnesium is Right For You?
How do you know which magnesium supplement is right for you? There are quite a few types of magnesium out there. I’ll give a brief overview of the most common types next:
Magnesium Oxide is one form of magnesium I’d avoid. Its main purpose is just as a laxative, as its absorption is only about 4%. It literally goes straight through you. Unfortunately, it can still cause problems. We’ve had readers write in, telling us about joint pain and GI problems when they take Mag oxide.
It might not even be good for you. A Taiwanese study of adults over 65 found that hip fractures were more common in those who took Magnesium oxide supplements. (17) Magnesium oxide is not recommended.
Mag glycinate (also called magnesium chelate, magnesium bisglycinate, magnesium diglycinate) is the best all-round magnesium to take. It’s the form of magnesium I take on a daily basis. This magnesium is “chelated” or bound to the amino acid, glycinate. It’s a form of magnesium that’s less likely to cause GI effects and isn’t the form to take if you need a laxative.
Magnesium glycinate is helpful for hormone-related symptoms such as PMS, cramps, pain, fibrocystic breasts, cravings, and difficulty sleeping. (15)
The product I recommend: Magnesium Replenish. This product is simply magnesium glycinate. It’s free of gluten, dairy, soy, yeast, sugar, colors, and GMOs. The recommended use is 2 capsules per day, which provides 240 mg of magnesium.
Mag malate is a magnesium that is bound to malic acid. It’s energizing, because it helps the body create ATP, the energy currency of our cells. If you’re feeling energy-depleted, you might want to try magnesium malate. Along those same lines, this is a magnesium you don’t want to take in the evening, as it could keep you up all night.
It also helps with muscle recovery and reducing fatigue. (18)
The product I recommend: Mag Energy. This product is Di-Magnesium Malate. The only other ingredients are the veggie capsule and ascorbyl palmitate (vitamin C, serving as a preservative).
Mag citrate is a great form of magnesium if you’re dealing with constipation. It’s calming both in the digestive tract and the nervous system. This form is about 30% bioavailable, but still has a laxative effect because it pulls water into the bowels.
The product I recommend: Magnesium Citrate. The capsules are taken 3 at a time to get a dosage of 400 mg. Magnesium Citrate has a simple list of ingredients and is free of allergens and GMOs.
Ingredients You Should NOT Find in Your Supplements
There are certain ingredients you should look out for when shopping for quality supplements. The following is a list of ingredients you should NOT find in your supplements:
- Titanium dioxide – a colorant sometimes used in supplements. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified it as a Group 2B carcinogen: ”possibly carcinogen to humans.” (19)
- Zinc oxide – a cheap binder used as a filler
- Magnesium oxide – a cheap binder used as a filler
- Folic acid – a synthetic form of folate
- Coloring – For example, FD&C Yellow No. 5
- Gluten, dairy, soy – These are common allergens.
What Your Supplement Labels Should Say
Now you know what shouldn’t be on your supplement labels. Here’s what your supplements should say:
- Made at a GMP facility – GMP stands for Good Manufacturing Practices. You’ll also see cGMP for Current Good Manufacturing Practices.
- Free of gluten, soy, yeast, GMOs – Your supplements shouldn’t be creating allergies or inflammation.
- Methylated B12 – Cobalamin is vitamin B12. Your B vitamins containing B12 shouldn’t just say “cobalamin.” You should see methylcobalamin.
- Folate (not folic acid) – Folic acid is the synthetic version of folate. It can be especially problematic for anyone who has the MTHFR mutation, which requires taking folate.
To learn more about finding quality supplements without the cheap binders and fillers, check out the article: 6 Rules to Evaluate Supplement Brands.
The result of my own search for quality supplements led to the launch of my brand, Wellena. All the supplements in the Wellena line comply with the 6 Rules I wrote about in that previous article.
Our supplements are free of gluten, dairy, soy, corn, peanuts, artificial sweeteners, additives, preservatives and are made with non-GMO ingredients. They use metabolically active forms of key B vitamins and the magnesium is in the glycinate form.
In our online store, you can find single nutrients and multinutrient products as well as bundled Hormone Kits.
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(2) Huskisson, E., Maggini, S., & Ruf, M. “The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Energy Metabolism and Well-Being.” The journal of international medical research.” 2007.
(3) Parra, Marcelina et al. “Vitamin B₆ and Its Role in Cell Metabolism and Physiology.” Cells. 2018.
(4) Miller, Alan L. “The methylation, neurotransmitter, and antioxidant connections between folate and depression.” Alternative medicine review : a journal of clinical therapeutic. 2008.
(5) NHS UK. “Oral B12 – What are the prescribing considerations and what formulations are available?” Specialist pharmacy service. 2020.
(6) Piotrowska, Anna et al. “Vitamin D in the skin physiology and pathology.” Acta biochimica Polonica vol. 63,1 (2016): 17-29. doi:10.18388/abp.2015_1104
(7) Tripkovic, Laura et al. “Comparison of vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 supplementation in raising serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D status: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” The American journal of clinical nutrition. 2012.
(8) Romagnoli, Elisabetta et al. “Short and long-term variations in serum calciotropic hormones after a single very large dose of ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) or cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) in the elderly.” The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism. 2008.
(9) Mulligan, Guy B, and Angelo Licata. “Taking vitamin D with the largest meal improves absorption and results in higher serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D.” Journal of bone and mineral research : the official journal of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. 2010.
(10) Ghareghani, M., Reiter, R. J., Zibara, K., & Farhadi, N. “Latitude, Vitamin D, Melatonin, and Gut Microbiota Act in Concert to Initiate Multiple Sclerosis: A New Mechanistic Pathway.” Frontiers in immunology. 2020.
(11) Gominak, S C, and W E Stumpf. “The world epidemic of sleep disorders is linked to vitamin D deficiency.” Medical hypotheses. 2012.
(12) Kidd, Parris M. “Vitamins D and K as pleiotropic nutrients: clinical importance to the skeletal and cardiovascular systems and preliminary evidence for synergy.” Alternative medicine review : a journal of clinical therapeutic. 2010.
(13) Ods.od.nih.gov. 2011. Office of Dietary Supplements – Dietary Supplements for Primary Mitochondrial Disorders. [online] Available at: <https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/primarymitochondrialdisorders-healthprofessional/> [Accessed 2021 May 3].
(14) Ods.od.nih.gov. 2011. Office of Dietary Supplements – Magnesium. [online] Available at: <https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/>[Accessed 2021 May 3].
(15) Patel, K. and Examine.com team. Magnesium. Examine.com. March 24, 2021.
(16) Patel, K. and Examine.com team. Vitamin C. Examine.com. January 7, 2021.
(17) Wu, Y Y et al. “Magnesium oxide and hip fracture in the elderly: a population-based retrospective cohort analysis.” Osteoporosis international : a journal established as result of cooperation between the European Foundation for Osteoporosis and the National Osteoporosis Foundation of the USA. 2020.
(18) Qiang, Fu. “Effect of Malate-oligosaccharide Solution on Antioxidant Capacity of Endurance Athletes.” The open biomedical engineering journal. 2015.
(19) Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. “Titanium Dioxide Classified as Possibly Carcinogenic to Humans.” CCOHS website. August 2006.