Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My problems have problems. But not big problems.

Peanut Butter Puffins and pill box

What should one do when her vitamin regimen is messing with her meals/snacking schedule? I've been tossed on these horns for the past week or so.

Want to read the medium-length (i.e. could be longer OR shorter, but is neither), medium-boring version? Here you go:

I made up my mind to start taking a magnesium supplement daily. So far I have been unable to work it into my schedule.

Often, I don't eat anything that qualifies as "breakfast" at home. I don't leave myself enough time between waking up and leaving the house. If I'm doing a morning shift, I try to be at work between 8:30 and 9am, and I eat breakfast there.

As it turns out, magnesium needs to be taken on an empty stomach, or with Vitamin C, so my plan has been to take my magnesium pill with a (hydrated) packet's-worth of Emergen-C as soon as I get to work (I could take the pill at home, I suppose, but it seems unlikely I would remember to do that). Then, in theory, I'd wait 30 minutes to an hour before eating breakfast at 9:30 or 10am. Though this begs a question: How long does my stomach have to remain empty (except for the magnesium) in order for it to "count" as empty while the pill is being ingested?

In practice, since "as soon as I get to work" is not only when I like to eat breakfast, but also the quietest time of day in the office, when I put breakfast off until after taking my magnesium, I often get busy with other things and forget or don't have time to ever come back to eat my Peanut Butter Puffins (or other cereal "Flavor of the Week) until it's 11am, and too close to lunchtime for me to back up to breakfast.

OR I eat something and put off taking the magnesium, but then I never know when my stomach qualifies as "empty" again, and I'm loathe to take the supplement incorrectly.

OR I neither eat, nor take the vitamin pill, and just stew in my own indecisive juices.

OR, like the morning pictured above, I finally remember to take the magnesium around 10 am, and then at 11am feel like it's too close to noon for "breakfast," so just eat a handful of dry Peanut Butter Puffins at my desk. Dissatisfying.

At the heart of this dilemma is probably the fact that I didn't consult my doctor before starting to take magnesium (she did recommend a multi-vitamin and calcium, which I also take, along with fish oil caplets, but all of those things can be taken with food). If I had actually talked to the doctor about it, her advice probably would have helped me sort out the timing of things.

What is "an empty stomach," anyway? I mean, how long of a buffer of time on either side of my magnesium do I need to have not eaten?

I could have worse issues. I realize this.


Anna said...

The issue of "an empty stomach" is more a question of when you last ate than when you are going to eat next. I would say to take it first thing in the AM with plain water, not emergen-c (which counts as food since it has sugar in it) and then wait at least 15 minutes before eating. This will let the magnesium get through the stomach to the intestines where it is best absorbed. Although, IMHO, magnesium is something I would say not to take unless your MD prescribes it.

Jennette said...

Very informative! I only see my doctor once or twice a year, so I've always taken vitamins without talking to her (or any other doctor), but it's something I could talk to her about this summer when I see her for my yearly exam. What I've read about magnesium made me want to try it, though I'm only taking one pill (instead of two recommended on the bottle) because there's a little magnesium in my multi-vitamin, too.

Thanks for commenting! I'll stop taking it with Emergen-C, as well.

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