For many people, eating a nutritious variety of foods daily is a difficult. They may not like healthy food items, or the products are hard to come by. That’s where supplements come in; to help ensure that you’re consuming adequate amounts of essential nutrients. This is something most Americans understand too well which is why they take supplements in one form or the other. Their popularity means there’s a large market for it these days.
Dietary supplements include minerals, vitamins, herbals and amino acids to mention a few examples. And they’re available in different forms such as capsules, tablets, powders and energy drinks.
Dietary supplements offer many health benefits as we’ll outline shortly. But just how long do these supplements stay in your system? We answer this question and more.
What Determines How Long Supplements Stay in Your System?
Before we discuss how long supplements stay in your system, it’s important to explain how duration depends on the following factors.
How severe is your deficiency?
The severity of your deficiency will determine how long the supplement will last. If you’re severely malnourished concerning a particular nutrient, the supplement won’t last as long compared to someone who is well nourished.
How much are you taking?
Your dosage will also affect how long the supplements last in your system. Taking below the recommended amount, either on a daily or weekly basis, won’t guarantee longevity. But this doesn’t mean that you should overdose because large doses can negatively affect your health.
Your absorption rate
People have different metabolism rates—including absorption. Besides, your body can only absorb a certain amount of a substance at any given time. If you have a slow absorption rate then naturally the supplements will stay in your system longer.
Quality of supplements
How long the supplement stays in your system also depends on the quality. Needless to say, high-quality supplements will last longer than their lower quality counterparts. Make sure you purchase from reputable companies that guarantee high quality products.
The food you eat
What other foods are you eating? Bear in mind that the word “supplement” means to add on to, rather than to replace. Also, the foods you eat will determine how long the supplements will last in your body, so maintaining a good meal plan is important.
If you’re a fan of eating junk food, supplements won’t last long.
How Long Do Supplements Last in Your System?
The time it takes for these supplements to last in your body also depends on the type. Some last longer than others as we’ll explain below.
Zinc is a type of mineral required by the body to facilitate many metabolic reactions. Note that zinc isn’t stored in your body at all. Whatever isn’t used is excreted.
It follows that you’ll need a steady supply—preferably daily— if you want your body to function effectively.
Among the many benefits of zinc are the following:
- Improving your immune system
- Expediting wound healing
- Effective breaking down of protein
- Improve mood
Water Soluble Vitamin Supplements
Vitamin B complex and C make up water soluble vitamins. As the name suggests, this type dissolves in water in your body. The longest they can last in your body is 48 hours. Often, they’ll last for a shorter period.
Generally, water soluble vitamins aren’t stored in your body—save for Vitamin B12 and C. Vitamin B12 is stored in your liver while the latter is stored in your adrenal gland for up to four months.
If you’re taking vitamin supplements that contain the nutrient in its water soluble form, you’ll have to take a regular supply. The body will only absorb what’s needed and excrete the remainder in urine.
Benefits of water soluble vitamins
Benefits of water soluble vitamins include:
- Proper functioning of the nervous system
- Healthy skin
- Good vision
- Improved digestion
Fat soluble vitamin supplements
Vitamin A, D, E and K form the group called fat soluble vitamins. For people who are adequately nourished, Vitamin D supplements can last up to three months in your body. In other individuals these supplements can last in the body for only four weeks.
On the other hand, Vitamin K can be manufactured by bacteria in your intestines and as a result these supplements can last longer.
Bear in mind that your body naturally stores fat soluble vitamins for long in your body, so be sure to consult your doctor before taking these supplements. This way you avoid consumption of large doses which can be detrimental to your health through vitamin toxicity.
Benefits of fat soluble vitamins
Fat soluble vitamins help with:
- Reducing risk of heart disease
- Healthy bones and teeth
- Regulate insulin levels
- Support lung function
Did you know your body uses magnesium for over 300 different processes? Keep in mind that magnesium is neither water nor fat soluble. However, when combined with oxygen it becomes water soluble.
Your kidney actively clears magnesium from your system relatively quickly. Approximately 70% is excreted from your body in as little as 24 hours—though rates will vary depending on the factors listed earlier.
Benefits of magnesium
Magnesium is a natural anti-inflammatory substance that helps with the following:
- Improve your heart health
- Increase your bone density
- Keep you well rested and alert
- Fights against diabetes
- Keeps migraines at bay
Keeping healthy levels of iron in your body is important especially for menstruating, pregnant and lactating women. Iron supplements will last between two to three weeks in your system.
Benefits of iron
Iron is crucial for the following:
- Eliminating fatigue
- Improving your immune system
- Treating anemia
We’ll reiterate that dietary supplements must not be taken in place of food, but as an addition. And it’s important to stick to the recommended dosages to prevent adverse effects on your body.
For many people, taking these supplements is viewed as an “insurance policy’’ just in case your body is short of these essential nutrients. But there’s certainly no harm in taking them. Just be sure to consult your doctor beforehand for the correct dosages and time frames.