[Updated 11/8/19]

Supplement Scheduling: When & How To Take All Your Different Supplements

How do you figure out when to take all your different supplements – especially when some of them need to be consumed on an empty stomach? And what do you do if some of your supplements are not compatible with each other? These are questions I regularly get from readers of my books on natural healing.

Here are some tips to help you figure out your supplement schedule:

  • Take the supplements that are absorbed the fastest, first.
  • If a supplement does not specify that it needs to be consumed on an empty stomach, then it’s probably okay to take it together with other substances.
  • If a supplement is recommended to be taken on an empty stomach, is it because the empty stomach is a pre-requisite for adequate absorption – because food interferes with its absorption? Or, is it because it’s a substance that needs to have a clear surface to apply it’s healing properties? Supplements like slippery elm, aloe vera juice, and marshmallow root fit into the latter category and therefore can easily be taken together – since they’re all trying to accomplish the same thing.
  • When a supplement says “take on an empty stomach”, that means 20 minutes before food, or 2 hours after food.

Now that you know the basic guidelines, sometimes you still need to experiment a bit to find the best supplement schedule to achieve maximum potency and effectiveness from your supplements. Let’s take a look at an example, so you can see how this plays out in real life.

Supplements for Colitis

K suffers from colitis, so she needs to take the following supplements to repopulate her gut with good bacteria, relieve gas, bloating and diarrhea, eliminate heartburn, and heal the mucosal lining of her intestines:

  • Natren Probiotics (beneficial bacteria for the GI tract – empty stomach for the powders – 3x/day)
  • Psyllium husk powder (for diarrhea control 2x/day)
  • Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL) – – before or after a meal for heartburn relief
  • L-Glutamine (empty stomach for diarrhea control – 3x/day)
  • N-Acetyl Glucosamine (empty stomach for intestinal repair – 3x/day)
  • Slippery Elm (empty stomach for healing mucosal lining of intestines 3x/day)
  • George’s Aloe vera juice (empty stomach for healing intestinal mucosal lining)
  • Multimineral & Multivitamin (3x/day for whole-body health and replace nutrients lost through malabsorption and fecal loss)

K’s problem is that she doesn’t know which supplements she can take together, how far apart they need to be taken from each other, or how to fit them all in around mealtimes. Since she’s taking a lot of supplements – and many of them three times a day – you can easily see why she’s so confused.

She’s especially confused since the Natren probiotics state on the bottle that any herbs should be taken at least 2 hours apart from the probiotics – since many herbs have antibacterial action and thus will kill the good bacteria in the probiotics.

Experimenting With Your Supplement Schedule

First of all, K needs to keep in mind that even our food can contain natural antibacterials (like garlic, onions, etc.) and Natren has had to set a time limit that applies to a wide variety of substances at all strengths/potencies. For example, if you’re taking Wild Oregano Oil or Olive Leaf extract, then you definitely cannot consume the probiotics sooner than 2 hours, as you’d be wasting your money. However, other supplements (and foods) are far less potent against bacteria. Therefore, she may be okay to implement one of the following supplement schedules.

The main difference between the two schedules below is whether she wants to take her probiotics before every meal, or whether she would like to take just one large dose before bed. This is where the experimentation comes in. Her body will definitely prefer, and do better on, one or the other. She will have to test each of them for a week at a time and see which schedule benefits her body the most.

Schedule #1

Before a meal:
– take the Natren Probiotics
– wait 20 minutes, then take the NAG, L-Glutamine, Slippery elm and Psyllium (these supplements can be taken together because, although they all require an empty stomach, they are compatible with each other), then eat
– after the meal take the DGL (deglycyrrhizina