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Old 01-21-2010, 08:43 AM
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What happens if I take my vitamins on an empty stomach?

The bottle of fish oil capsules I bought says to take three a day, preferably with meals. But what if I don't? What if I just consume enough water to wash it down?

And while we're at it is their any agreement on how much fish oil to take daily?
Old 01-21-2010, 08:51 AM
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You can get a tummy ache.
Old 01-21-2010, 09:45 AM
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General vitamins (like a multivitamin) will make me very nauseous if I take them on an empty stomach.
Old 01-21-2010, 11:10 AM
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I've heard of having fishy burps after taking fish oil caps on an empty stomach. Gross.
Old 01-21-2010, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Revtim View Post
General vitamins (like a multivitamin) will make me very nauseous if I take them on an empty stomach.
I think that's from the acidic components, like Vitamin C. Or at least, that's what I've been told in the past.

A real shame, as they certainly help a hangover, if you can keep them in your stomach.
Old 01-21-2010, 12:02 PM
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I have to take a handful of pills every day, at specific times. It doesn't seem to make any difference whether or not they're taken with food.
Old 01-21-2010, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by SmellMyWort View Post
I've heard of having fishy burps after taking fish oil caps on an empty stomach. Gross.
The B vitamins can have a similar, unpleasant effect on an empty stomach. I don't know how to describe the actual flavor but it's not nice.
Old 01-21-2010, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by SmellMyWort View Post
I've heard of having fishy burps after taking fish oil caps on an empty stomach. Gross.
My endocrinologist wrote me out a prescription for Omega-3 oil tablets that are not derived from fish (as a WAG). Ask your doctor; there are a ton of them, are cheap, and have the benefit of being regulated to have the exact same amount of medicine per pill (which is not the case with OTC pills).
Old 01-22-2010, 12:10 AM
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I usually don't get the fishy burp . . . but when I do, it's just one small burp; no big deal.
Old 01-22-2010, 03:28 AM
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Several vitamins are fat soluble. If you don't take them with a meal they won't be absorbed. It won't do you any harm, but it is a complete waste of vitamins.
Old 01-22-2010, 03:35 AM
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What about taking vitamins with alcohol? Will it harm your liver if you wash it down with booze?
Old 01-22-2010, 06:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blake View Post
Several vitamins are fat soluble. If you don't take them with a meal they won't be absorbed.
By this logic, ingesting, say, a small piece of butter, about the same size as a typical fat soluble vitamin tab/cap, in the absence of any other simultaneous food intake, would not be absorbed either. So, I don't think you are correct. I'm not trying to be adversarial, but do you have a cite for your statement?
Old 01-22-2010, 07:47 AM
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I don't know about a cite, but I am certian there is a difference between a compound which is fat-soluble (such as the vitamins in question) and a fat (such as the butter).

Just because something is water-soluble does not mean it will be act like water in the absence of water. If something is fat-soluble and does not have fat available to dissolve in, it will not work the same way.
Old 01-22-2010, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by panache45 View Post
I have to take a handful of pills every day, at specific times. It doesn't seem to make any difference whether or not they're taken with food.
That'll vary from person to person. My wife gets deathly nauseated if she takes most pills without food; I take all sorts of stuff on an empty stomach and it's never bothered me at all.
Old 01-22-2010, 08:44 AM
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Just like panache and Smeghead, I can take mine (a bunch, with some horse-size pills thrown in) on an empty stomach and never have a problem. No burping either. Obviously though, your mileage may vary.
Old 01-22-2010, 09:24 AM
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You don't have to take fat soluable vitamins with a food made of fats. I'm certain it's because all those pills can cause stomach problems if taken by themselves.

It's really all about one's individual tolerance levels
Old 01-22-2010, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by DrFidelius View Post
I don't know about a cite, but I am certian there is a difference between a compound which is fat-soluble (such as the vitamins in question) and a fat (such as the butter).

Just because something is water-soluble does not mean it will be act like water in the absence of water. If something is fat-soluble and does not have fat available to dissolve in, it will not work the same way.
I think the best answer is that taking fat soluble vitamin supplements with a fat-containing meal, may augment the former's absorption. This statement is based on what is said in a review of the area which, unfortunately, I cannot link to. The reference is:

Factors Affecting Intestinal Absorption of Highly Lipophilic Food Microconstituents (Fat-Soluble Vitamins, Carotenoids and Phytosterols). Borel P. Clin Chem Lab Med 2003; 41(8):979-94
Old 01-22-2010, 09:42 AM
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There are meals which do not contain fat?
Old 01-22-2010, 09:59 AM
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Well, they probably contain a bit of fat. According to my reading of the reference, fat-soluble vitamins might not be absorbed as efficiently (? not as completely) if taken with such a meal.
Old 01-22-2010, 10:22 AM
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Alcohol will tend to decrease the absorption of certain Vitamins.

And the Fat Soluble Vitamins are K,A,D,E
Cites

Another fact sheet on those vitamins.

The big thing between water soluble and fat soluble vitamins besides their intake also has to do with the fact that Fat soluble vitamins tend to stay in the body longer especially in fatty tissue, so those vitamins not only have deficiencies associated with them, but they also have Toxicities associated with them because having them in large amounts can lead to toxicities and poisonings, while water soluble Vitamins (the Bs and Vitamin C namely) tend to be renally excreted, so if you tend to take those energy drinks/ pills that give you 500% the daily value of Vitamins B and C, you will take what you need and then pee the rest out in your urine without any major trouble. This isn't quite the case for Vit. K, A, D, and E.
Old 01-22-2010, 10:36 AM
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Fish oil isnt a vitamin per se. Its literally oil extracted from fish. The pills with the endemic coating get broken down in your intestines so you dont have worry about stomach aches or fish burps. If your pills dont have this coating you probably want to take them when there's some food in your stomach or with a snack.

>And while we're at it is their any agreement on how much fish oil to take daily?

Generally people at 2000-4000mg per day of oil or about 1000mg of DHA+EPA. While I dont doubt that fish oil is good for heart patients and people who eat poorly, Im certain a lot of the other benefits are the placebo effect or greatly exaggerated. People who eat pretty well to begin with get a fair amount of Omega-3 naturally. A lot of what I see regarding fish oil lacks control groups or involves small groups. Or it purposely confuses cause vs correlation like "Japanese people live long, they also eat fish, thus fish oils make them live long."

Last edited by HorseloverFat; 01-22-2010 at 10:36 AM.
Old 01-22-2010, 09:57 PM
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If you're me and you take an iron-containing multivitamin on an empty stomach, you vomit within five minutes. I did it three times before I realized what was happening. I buy my multivitamins without iron these days.
Old 01-23-2010, 10:00 AM
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Another anecdote ...

I normally have an iron stomach. But ...

I used to buy One-a-Day brand multivitamins, which are bright red capsule-shaped pills. Taking them on an empty stomach always caused a moderate tummy ache for an hour or so, but nothing worse. Tried several store brands, all marked "Compare to One-a-Day(r)" and all bright red. Same tummy ache.

Switched to Centrum brand, which are sorta pink / caucasian colored. No tummy ache ever. Tried the various store brands like them. Also no tummy ache.

The labelling of which active ingredients are in which appear to be all but identical. Same stuff in the same proportions +/- a couple percent. But if the pill is red, I'm gonna feel like crap.

So consider fillers & colorants as a possible source for the difference between various pills.
Old 01-23-2010, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Visual Purple View Post
If you're me and you take an iron-containing multivitamin on an empty stomach, you vomit within five minutes. I did it three times before I realized what was happening. I buy my multivitamins without iron these days.

This is what happens to me with my regular multivitamin, and it took about the same amount of time... on day two I was starting to worry I was pregnant. I switched to chewables after that.

/edit: I've taken my fish oil capsules on an empty stomach before with no problem other than fish burps, but I usually don't.

Last edited by Vihaga; 01-23-2010 at 10:39 AM.
Old 01-23-2010, 10:47 AM
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Thanks for all the responses. I guess I'm lucky that I don't get any of these symptoms.

I was worried that something really bad would happen, like a nuclear winter....or worse!
Old 01-24-2010, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by KarlGauss View Post
By this logic, ingesting, say, a small piece of butter, about the same size as a typical fat soluble vitamin tab/cap, in the absence of any other simultaneous food intake, would not be absorbed either.
Huh? This makes no sense at all.

In really simple terms, fat soluble vitamins need to be dissolved in fat to cross the gut wall. If there is no fat in the gut they simply cannot cross the gut wall and are excreted.

What the relevance of fat itself being readily absorbed is remains totally beyond me.

Quote:
So, I don't think you are correct. I'm not trying to be adversarial, but do you have a cite for your statement?
Sure.
Old 01-24-2010, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Blake View Post
Huh? This makes no sense at all.

In really simple terms, fat soluble vitamins need to be dissolved in fat to cross the gut wall. If there is no fat in the gut they simply cannot cross the gut wall and are excreted.

What the relevance of fat itself being readily absorbed is remains totally beyond me.



Sure.
As I said in an earlier post here, an absence of an accompanying dietary fat may decrease the "efficiency" of fat soluble vitamin absorption, but to say that the latter are not absorbed whatsoever in the absence of the former, does not jibe with my cite. And even your very first cite (in the Yahoo search you provided) says that dietary fat must be coingested, "in order (for fat soluble vitamins) to be properly absorbed" (emphasis added).

So, to be sure I'm understanding, are you saying that fat soluble vitamins are NOT absorbed unless accompanied by dietary fat?

In my mind, barring a prolonged fast, or a literally fat-free diet, I would have guessed that there is always enough residual fat in the small bowel (from earlier intake) to facilitate the absorption of a fat soluble vitamin. And, (this is not a disingenuous question, please teach me) but would fat soluble vitamins not be at least partially absorbed even in the total absence of dietary fat anyway, because of the action of things like bile acids, the vitamins' chemical nature (fat solubility) promoting their uptake by gut cells, and maybe even by mechanical means (emulsification). Thanks.
Old 01-24-2010, 07:46 PM
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If you're only dispute is that, even in the absence of fat, .00001% of the vitamins will still be absorbed, then have it your way. the fact is that the majority of fat soluble vitamins can't be absorbed without fat being present. They're wasted.

And no, bile salts don't help at all. Bile salts solubilise fat. The vitamins are fat soluble, they aren't fat. If they have no fat to dissolved in they can't be absorbed. The problem isn't solubilising the vitamins. The problem is that they need to be incorporated into a lipid micelle to pass through the gut wall. No lipids, no micelles. No micelles, no absorption.
Old 01-24-2010, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Blake View Post
If you're only dispute is that, even in the absence of fat, .00001% of the vitamins will still be absorbed, then have it your way.
I'm sorry that you feel my genuine questions are simply to get "my way". I wasn't "disputing", I was asking. For God sakes, I even said "teach me".

"(h)ave it your way". Right.
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