Initial Posting: 7/5/2014    Last Update: 12/13/2018
Question: Which supplements should be taken with food?
Answer: As explained in our Reviews of each, vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble and are better-absorbed when taken with a meal that contains fat. The same is true of CoQ10, curcumin (from turmeric), CBD, and even fish oil. If you must take these without a meal, there are special formulations of CoQ10 and curcumin that can improve their absorption by making them more water-soluble.
The key compound in Boswellia serrata extracts (sold as a single-ingredient supplement or in combination with ingredients such as glucosamine and chondroitin in supplements for joint health) is also fat-soluble and absorption may be enhanced by taking with fatty foods.
Certain other supplements are best taken with food because it can help to reduce potential side effects. For example, taking magnesium with food can reduce the occurrence of diarrhea and taking vitamin C, iron or SAMe with food can reduce the chance of stomach upset, although food is not needed for their absorption. (There are vitamin C formulations and iron formulations that may be less likely to cause stomach upset).