How do you know when to take all the different supplements, especially when some of them must be taken on an empty stomach? And what do you do if some of your supplements are not compatible with each other? Read on for some guidelines, tips, and a real-life example.

Here are some tips to help you determine your supplement schedule:

  • First, take the supplements that are absorbed the fastest.
  • If a substance does not specify that it should be consumed on an empty stomach, it is probably okay to take it along with other substances.
  • If taking an herb on an empty stomach is recommended, is it because an empty stomach is a prerequisite for proper absorption, because food interferes with its absorption? Or is it because it is a substance that needs to have a transparent surface to apply its healing properties? Supplements like slippery elm, aloe vera juice, and marshmallow root fall into the latter category and can therefore be easily taken together as they are all trying to achieve the same thing.
  • When a supplement says “take it on an empty stomach,” that means 20 minutes before a meal or 2 hours after a meal.

Now that you know the basic guidelines, sometimes you still need to experiment a bit to find the best program for 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

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

  • Probiotics (beneficial bacteria for the gastrointestinal tract – empty stomach for powders – 3 times a day)
  • Psyllium husk powder (for diarrhea control 2 times a day)
  • Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL): before or after a meal to relieve heartburn
  • L-glutamine (empty stomach for diarrhea control – 3 times a day)
  • N-acetyl glucosamine (NAG) – empty stomach for intestinal repair – 3 times a day
  • Slippery elm (empty stomach to heal the mucous lining of the intestines 3 times a day)
  • Aloe vera juice (empty stomach to heal the lining of the intestinal mucosa)
  • Multimineral and multivitamin (3 times a day for whole body health and replaces nutrients lost through malabsorption and fecal loss)

Krista’s problem is that she doesn’t know which ones they can take together, how far they should be separated from each other, or how to fit them all together at meal times. Since you are taking many supplements, and many of them three times a day, you can easily see why you are so confused.

She is especially confused as the probiotics say on the bottle that any herb should be taken at least 2 hours apart from probiotics as many herbs have antibacterial action and therefore kill the good bacteria from probiotics.

Experiment with your supplement program

First of all, Krista should be aware that even our food can contain natural antibacterials (such as garlic, onion, etc.) and Natren has had to set a time limit that applies to a wide variety of substances in all concentrations / powers. For example, if you are taking wild oregano oil or olive leaf extract, you definitely cannot consume the probiotics within 2 hours as you would be wasting your money. However, other supplements (and foods) are much less potent against bacteria. Therefore, it may be okay to implement one of the following supplement programs.

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

Schedule 1

Before a meal:

  • take probiotics in powder form
  • wait 20 minutes, then take 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 and take the Multivitamin / Multimineral with your meal
  • after the meal, take the DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice)

Before going to bed:

  • take probiotics in powder form
  • wait 20 minutes, then drink aloe vera juice


Schedule n. 2

Before every meal:

  • take NAG, L-Glutamine, Aloe Vera Juice, Slippery Elm, and Psyllium (these supplements can be taken together because although they all require an empty stomach, they are compatible with each other)
  • wait 15 minutes, then eat and take the multivitamin / multimineral with your meal
  • after the meal take the DGL (or in this case, you can also take it before the meal, if you prefer, as you are not consuming the probiotics at the moment)

Before going to bed:

  • Take 1 – 2 teaspoons of each probiotic powder

Krista will have to experiment with both schedules and see which one works best for her. Probiotics may work better for her in multiple doses and they may not be greatly affected by the other substances, or they may work better if taken alone in a large dose. Again, the only way to find out is to try and experiment.

The reason people need to experiment with their supplements is because everyone’s body and condition (or pathology) are different. Some people are very sensitive and respond to certain herbal medicines and not others. And some people need aggressive supplementation no matter what herb it is, while others are very sensitive to all supplements.

When it comes to a supplement like high-potency probiotics, for example, some people’s bodies respond more favorably when ingested in powder form on an empty stomach. And other organisms prefer probiotics in controlled-release capsules that are taken with food. Again, the only way to find out is by experimenting.

You will also have an “intuition” on what supplements to take and when. Our own body wisdom trumps any manufacturer’s instruction sheet, so definitely go with your intuition first. If you are good at listening to your instincts or following your intuition, you can ask your body directly when and how it wants the supplement. Or place your hand on your intestine, while holding the herb in your other hand, and ask. Or place the palm of your hand on the grass and wait to be prompted. This is how some medicinal women / men receive plant wisdom. They just hold their hand over the plant and knowledge flows to them about how to prepare the plant, what parts to use, and how to take it.

If you’re not at that level of fluency with your body’s wisdom, in the meantime, follow the supplement scheduling tips above, combine them with your own intuition, and experiment.