Sometimes your healthcare provider gives you a nutritional supplement that they say you need and nothing happens. A classic example is someone who has low levels of vitamin D that doesn’t improve after months of therapy. One reason for this, according to a small but striking study at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, is that some vitamin D resistant people are taking vitamin D supplements on an empty stomach or with a small meal, usually breakfast or lunch.
Twenty five people participated in the study, 17 of them were instructed to take the same supplement they had been taking with their largest meal of the day, usually supper. After 2 to 3 months, taking the same vitamin D supplement with the “largest” meal of the day, researchers found that serum vitamin D levels had increased on average by 56.7%. This magnitude of increase was seen across a wide range of vitamin D dosage.
Vitamin D is fat soluble and generally it is recommended that it be taken with a meal containing fats. However, based on this study, it may be best to take vitamin D with your largest meal of the day, which is likely to contain the most fat.
As people age and their digestive track becomes compromised, the ability to secrete digestive enzymes decreases, especially HCL. Also digesting food takes energy and if someone has been ill for a prolonged period of time their digestive capacity is further reduced. So keep in mind, if you have a weakened immune system you may have difficulty absorbing all nutrients even if they are taken at the largest meal.
Fat soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E, K as well as Coenzyme Q10, must be emulsified by either bile or pancreatic enzymes. But what if your liver is under-performing due to toxic over-load, fatty liver or if the bile is not stored properly and released due to gall-bladder removal? That may also lead to reduced absorption. You may need to take digestive enzymes with your supplements to help with your nutrient absorption.