So, you’ve found the right prenatal supplement regime for you – you’ve got your pregnancy multi-vitamin, iron, calcium and probiotic. And you’re done, right?
Well, not quite! Timing and spacing your prenatal supplements is important to ensure you’re getting the most out value out of the money you’re spending on your nutrient.
In this article, you will learn what key nutrients in your prenatal vitamin regime can interact with each other and affect absorption, and how to lay out your supplement plan throughout the day for optimal absorption so you get the most out of it!
- Nutrients that Inhibit Each Other
Did you know that some nutrients interact when they’re taken at the same time to lower absorption?
There is a group of minerals which are particularly important to note their interactions when thinking about timing of your prenatal supplement routine, and they are, iron and calcium.
Both iron and calcium play an important role in pregnancy health, from preventing iron deficiency anaemia whilst your body deals with expanding blood volume or helping to reduce your risk of pre-eclampsia. If you want to learn more about the role of iron and calcium in pregnancy, read our previous articles on the topic here:
Many prenatal multi-vitamins contain both iron and calcium and it’s safe to say if you’re taking a supplement like this, you are probably not absorbing both of these minerals as optimally as possible. As they inhibit each other, including high amounts of both of these nutrients, in the same capsule or tablet, they wont be fully absorbed and hence won’t provide as much benefit.
So, ideally, your prenatal multi-vitamin should contribute a small amount of either of these nutrients or more of one than the other so you can make the most out of your prenatal vitamin.
2. What is the best timing for my prenatal vitamin, iron and calcium supplements then?
If your health care provider has recommended an iron and/or a calcium supplement in conjunction with your prenatal multi-vitamin, remember that nutrition is a science and the little changes or slight alterations to how you take your supplements can make a great difference.
So, here’s a suggestion around how you can time your prenatal, iron and calcium supplements. Obviously, this is going to depend on your exact regime, however, we have used Perdays products to demonstrate how you can space supplement intake throughout the day. The perdays products are formulated for the best absorption hence why they have created an additional Pregnancy iron and Pregnancy calcium so they can be taken separately throughout the day and therefore not impacting absorption or either nutrient.
Lets go through the daily regime of Perdays products so you can understand why its important to take particular supplements at different times of the day.
Pregnancy Calcium & Vitamin D
Perdays Calcium and Vitamin D is water soluble, meaning it easily breaks down in the body and can be taken on an empty stomach. Studies also show calcium is best absorbed in small doses throughout the day rather than in 1 large amount. This is why we recommend taking 2 tablets, three times a day, well before you take your iron at night.
Pregnancy Iron & Vitamin C
We advise to take this before bed, so that you have the maximum amount of time to absorb this, before taking your calcium.
The Perdays probiotic can be taken before food, as there is less of an acidic environment in the stomach. Meaning there’s an even higher chance of the probiotics making it to your small intestine.
Pregnancy Key Essentials
As this a pregnancy multi-vitamin, they are best absorbed with food, on two occasions throughout the day.
3. Is there anything else I can do to optimise absorption besides timing my supplements?
This article certainly would not be complete without some additional notes. Besides supplemental iron and calcium how they interfere within your supplement and between the different capsules you take.
However, there are some additional considerations to account for:
- Tea (including herbal tea) and coffee (including decaffeinated varieties) contain tannins, which can inhibit the way your body absorbs iron. So spacing your favourite hot drink at least 30 mins to 1 hour away from your iron supplement or prenatal can help ensure you’re getting the most out of your supplements.
- Some medications may require some spacing between your mineral containing supplements (zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium) such as some thyroid medications. Please follow your health care provider’s advice to ensure your supplement plan and medications are right for you, including timing.
So, it absolutely does matter when you take your prenatal supplements to ensure you maximise your absorption of key nutrients to support both you and baby.
Please seek individual health advice from your health care provider, this is general advice only and does not replace individual medical or health advice.