Remember to Take Your Vitamin Supplements? 6 Tips to Jog Your Memory
Did you remember to take your vitamin supplements today? Let’s face it: you get busy and distracted and it can be darn easy to forget to take any of your natural supplements unless you set up a system or routine to help you remember.
Millions of people don’t remember to take their prescription drugs either. In fact, a recent poll of people age 65 and older found that 57 percent admit they forget to take their medications.
The vitamins and other supplements sitting in your medicine cabinet can help you support and promote a healthy lifestyle only if you take them regularly. Although supplements cannot replace a nutritious diet and accompanying positive lifestyle choices, they can be key players in overall health given the declining nutritional value in many foods, exposure to environmental toxins, and both physical and psychological stress.
Tips on how to remember to take vitamin supplements
Here are six tips to help you remember to take your nutritional supplements. Feel free to incorporate more than one tip; customize your approach to find the best way that fits your lifestyle and supports your health goals.
1. Take with meals. You gotta eat, so pair up your supplement intake with your meals. According to Andrew Weil, MD, founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and author of many best-selling books, generally advises individuals to take nutritional supplements with meals that contain some fat, which aids absorption and is less likely to cause stomach irritation. Some supplements can cause gastrointestinal issues if taken on an empty stomach.
2. Choose an app for that. Yes, there are various apps—and usually free--available that can prompt you to take your vitamin supplements and track your progress. Generally they are designed to help people take their medications, but the principle is the same. Among the many on the market for different platforms (iPhone, iOS, Android) are MyMedSchedule, Mango Health, MedCoach, and PillBox. Some help you keep track of supplements taken by more than one person (e.g., MedHelper), so the entire family can benefit.
You also may want to set an alarm on your phone, tablet, or computer to remind you when to take your supplements.
3. Try a customized supplement subscription service. This is a relatively new idea that combines being able to choose specific vitamins and other nutrients to fit your personal needs and then having them delivered to you in a form that helps you to remember to take them.
One such service for my UK readers is called Feed. You can choose the vitamins and nutrients specifically for your needs (e.g., Sport Woman, Sport Man, Detox, Diet, Immune, etc) and they are sent to you in a monthly pillbox with each day’s dose separated for you.
In the United States, vitafive offers a similar subscription service, but your chosen nutrients are packed in individual little bags that you can easily carry with you. You don’t need to worry about having water available to take the nutrients: these gummies can be consumed anywhere, anytime. One vitafive employee noted that “I used to struggle to remember to take my vitamins and now that I have vitafive on my desk, the struggle has become only eating one pack a day.”
4. Use the buddy system. Have a friend, neighbor, coworker, or family member keep you honest, and you do the same for them. This individual should be someone you interact with daily in one form or another: email, text, phone, instant messaging, and/or face-to-face.
5. Keep supplements in plain view. Don’t hide your vitamins in the cabinet or medicine chest. Put them right next to an object you engage with every day. For example: your smartphone, makeup, coffee pot, toothbrush, computer, or car keys.
6. Carry your supplements with you. This may or may not be a good idea, depending on how many supplements you are taking, how you will store them, and if you will remember to take them. This tip, combined with the one on using an app, may be the secret for you. If you are taking several supplements and don’t want to carry around individual bottles, then you will need to gather together the supplements you take each day in a separate container, or use a convenient service such as that offered by vitafive (see “Try a customized supplement subscription service”).
A few words of caution
- Your healthcare provider may feel it is better for you to take one or more of your supplements on a schedule different from one you have chosen, particularly if you are taking any prescription medications. Be sure to discuss this situation with a professional.
- Use of nutritional supplements may have an impact on the effectiveness of over-the-counter and/or prescription medications and vice versa. Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist about the supplements you wish to take and how they may interact with medications.
- Choose high-quality, reputable vitamin and other nutritional supplements and store them as directed to maintain potency.
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