Clinician’s Corner Re-Post: Is There a “Best Way” to Take Vitamins?


Throughout National Folic Acid Awareness Week (NFAAW), we’ve been encouraging readers to “Go Folic” by taking a daily multi-vitamin with 400-800 mcg of folic acid. So we thought that this would be a great time to re-publish one of our most popular blog posts, “Is There a ‘Best Way’ to Take Vitamins?” by guest blogger and project consultant, Barbara Kass, RNCNP, MSN.


Best way for taking vitamins?Morning or Evening?  With or Without Food? Is there a  “Best Way” to take a vitamin supplement?

If you’re reading this, you already know that taking a daily multivitamin with 400-800 mcg of folic acid is good for your health. But how can you get the most from your supplement? It all has to do with when and how you take it.

On an empty stomach or with food?

Try to take your supplement with a meal. Your body makes better use of vitamins when you already have food in your stomach. If you can’t take it with a meal, try to take it within 30 minutes of eating. Taking supplements with food can also help prevent nausea.

When is the best time to take a vitamin?

It’s most important to take the supplement when it is most convenient for you and when you’ll remember to take it.  However, you may not want to take it in the afternoon or evening. Doing so may prevent you from sleeping well that evening.

Do vitamin supplements and medicines mix well?

If you are taking any medicines, ask your doctor if taking a multivitamin is safe. Some vitamins don’t mix with certain medicines such as blood pressure and blood thinning medicines. Other medicines may increase your need for certain vitamins.

Do multi-vitamins replace a good diet?

No! Vitamin supplements cannot replace a good diet.  They won’t give you protein, fiber and many other important nutrients found in foods.  Your diet should include fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains. Vitamin supplements need to work with these foods to help you stay healthy.

Is there anything special to look for when buying supplements?

Be sure that there is a ‘USP’ on the label.  USP stands for United States Pharmacopia.  This means that the supplement meets national quality standards. Also make sure that the vitamins aren’t old. Check the expiration date on the package.  If it has expired, will expire soon, or there is no expiration date, don’t buy the supplement.

Anything else I need to know?

Keep your vitamins in a dry, cool place. Don’t store them in a hot and humid place like a bathroom. Also, be sure to store them safely so that little children can’t take them.

Barbara Kass-AnneseBarbara Kass-Annese, RNCNP, MSN, is a clinician who has written extensively on the topic of vitamins and women’s health.  She also serves as a medical consultant to the Go Folic! Women’s Nutrition Project.

Where are My Multis Contest is Back for National Nutrition Month®!


Where are My Multis? Photo - March 2012

Where in the world are our Go Folic! Multis this month?  Email us with your correct guess and if you’re the 15th person to get it right, you’ll win two free AMC movie passes (good at any AMC movie theater).

In line with our March emphasis on nutrition, our multis are hanging out with the fruits and veggies.  They know that your body can make better use of them when they are taken with healthful foods.   The location is, of course, in San Francisco.

So, here is how to enter the contest:

  1. Decide where the photo was taken.
  2. Email us your best guess at gofolic@yahoo.com by Friday, March 23 at 12 AM.
  3. Include your mailing address in case you win if you would like for us to mail your tickets; you can also pick then up at the Go Folic! office (and get some free vitamins, also).
  4. If you win, we’ll email you and arrange to get you the tickets.
  5. We will announce the winner on our blog, twitter feed and Facebook page on Wednesday, March 28 by noon.

Good luck!

Healthy Woman Bio, Part 2 – Amina Burell


Last week on our blog we talked with Master of Public Health Student and health advocate Amina Burell.  We read about how her diet as a vegan (no meat and no dairy) changed her eating habits and the ways she got her vitamins.  Today we continue her story and read about how important her diet choices became when she was pregnant with her baby girl…

Now that you are pregnant how has your diet been different?pregnant woman

It has been very different. I have had to really make accommodations for myself in order to consume the proper amount of protein.  Pregnant women who are vegans need 85 to 100 grams of protein everyday.  This has been very difficult to achieve as it requires me to eat a lot of food.  Being human, I have on occasion eaten fish and eggs making sure of course that they’re organic farm raised fish and cage free eggs.

What would you say the difference is from a woman who is pregnant and normally eats everything compare with your diet?

BIG difference, women who normally eat everything really have only to worry about staying away from foods high in fat and sugar, and they have to make sure they’re not overeating.  As a vegan I have to make sure every bite counts, I cannot waste calories on something silly like tortilla chips.

Do you take supplements?  What’s in it?

Yes I take a prenatal vitamin and it has many different vitamins like A, B, C, D, E, folic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B12, iron, zinc, and calcium.  I also take a calcium supplement.

When did you start to take vitamins?

When I got pregnant I started taking them religiously; before I became pregnant would take a daily vitamin every few days or so.

Do you do anything special to remember to take your vitamins?

No, they’re right by the fridge so when I’m making breakfast I just grab them out of the cabinet.

What is one thing you would like to tell other women about vitamins?

Take a lot of calcium and make sure you’re getting folic acid in your diet every day.

Thanks Amina!

Forget Me Not


Forget Me Not?According to Barbara Kass-Annese, Go Folic! Medical Consultant, the best time to take your multivitamin is at the end of a meal.  Taking your vitamin with food makes it easier for your body to absorb the nutrients.  But remembering to take your vitamin can be difficult.  We lead busy lives and it’s easy to forget.  That’s why Go Folic! asked around and came up with some helpful tips for remembering to take your vitamin with folic acid every day.

1. Write yourself a note

2. Set an alarm on your cell phone

3. Put the bottle somewhere where you can see it everyday

4. Start taking them with a friend

5. Make it part of your daily routine

6. Keep the bottle in your purse

7. Take it before you brush your teeth

The most effective time to take your multivitamin with folic acid is at the end of a meal.  But the best time for you is whenever you remember!

Beauty Box: Shampoos and Soaps with Vitamins – Hype or Truth?


Beauty Box w/ ShampooIt seems like almost every soap and shampoo made today has vitamins added to them.  But are they really going to give you the beautiful, healthy hair and skin that the ads promise?  They may help a little but not as much as you think!

Though it is true that your skin and hair absorb some of the ingredients in these products, it is also true that there is no way of knowing how much of the vitamins your body will actually get from them. There is also no way of knowing if the amounts they contain are going to help your hair and skin be healthier.

What we do know is that it takes more than shampoos and soaps to give your body enough of the vitamins your hair and skin need.  We also know that to have healthy skin and hair, your diet and multi-vitamins need to give you enough vitamin B 9 (folic acid) in combination with B5, B6, B12 and other B vitamins.  This helps your body to make enough new cells for skin and hair growth.

Without these vitamins and the others that come in a multivitamin, your hair can grow slowly, fall out and be weak. Your nails can also become weak and may break. You may get skin problems including acne.

All of this means that no matter what kind of product you use, you need to be healthy on the inside to look good on the outside! And that comes from what you put into your mouth, not on your skin and hair.

Barbara Kass, NP
Go Folic! Medical Consultant

CONTEST ALERT: Where are your Go Folic! May Multis?


guess at gofolic@yahoo.comIt’s May and the time has come for our next contest!  Every month our Go Folic! Multi-Vitamin bottles will be taking a trip to different places in the city.  It’s like a scavenger hunt for your health!  Check out the photo at left and tell us where it was taken for a chance to win two free AMC movie passes.  This month we will have two sets of winners, so be sure to tell your friends!  Deadline: May 31, 2010 by 11 PM. We will announce the winner on June 4, 2010.
Here are the super SIMPLE rules:

1. Figure out where this picture was taken.
2. Email your guess to us at gofolic@yahoo.com.
3. The people who guess the location correctly will be entered into a raffle for two free AMC Theater Movie Passes. And if you want, you could be featured on our website!
4. Good luck!

Clinician’s Corner: Is there a “Best Way” to Take Vitamins? by Barbara Kass-Annese


Morning or Evening? With or Without Food? Is there a “Best way for taking vitamins?Best Way” to take a vitamin supplement?

If you’re reading this, you already know that taking a daily multivitamin with 400-800 mcg of folic acid is good for your health. But how can you get the most from your supplement? It all has to do with when and how you take it.

Should I take my multi-vitamin on an empty stomach or with food?

Try to take your supplement with a meal. Your body makes better use of vitamins when you already have food in your stomach. If you can’t take it with a meal, try to take it within 30 minutes of eating. Taking supplements with food can also help prevent nausea.

When is the best time to take a vitamin?

It’s most important to take the supplement when it is most convenient for you and when you’ll remember to take it. However, you may not want to take it in the afternoon or evening. Doing so may prevent you from sleeping well that evening.

Do vitamin supplements and medicines mix well?

If you are taking any medicines, ask your doctor if taking a multivitamin is safe. Some vitamins don’t mix with certain medicines such as blood pressure and blood thinning medicines. Other medicines may increase your need for certain vitamins.

Do multi-vitamins replace a good diet?

No! Vitamin supplements cannot replace a good diet. They won’t give you protein, fiber and many other important nutrients found in foods. Your diet should include fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains. Vitamin supplements need to work with these foods to help you stay healthy.

Is there anything special to look for when buying supplements?

Be sure that there is a ‘USP’ on the label. USP stands for United States Pharmacopia. This means that the supplement meets national quality standards. Also make sure that the vitamins aren’t old. Check the expiration date on the package. If it has expired, will expire soon, or there is no expiration date, don’t buy the supplement.

Anything else I need to know?

Keep your vitamins in a dry, cool place. Don’t store them in a hot and humid place like a bathroom. Also, be sure to store them safely so that little children can’t take them.

*****************************

Barbara Kass-Annese

Barbara Kass-Annese

Barbara Kass-Annese, RNCNP, MSN, is a clinician who has written extensively on the topic of vitamins and women’s health.  Currently with the California Family Health Council, she also serves as a medical consultant to the Go Folic! Women’s Nutrition Project.  We are lucky that she has agreed to write a semi-monthly column, “Clinician’s Corner” for our blog.