zig
0

Notifications

  • You're all caught up!

What Are Time Release Vitamins?

by
author image Shannon George
Shannon George, former editor-in-chief of the trade magazine "Prime," holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from San Diego State University. Her health interests include vegetarian nutrition, weight training, yoga and training for foot races.
What Are Time Release Vitamins?
Some time-release vitamins are associated with health risks. Photo Credit Iromaya Images/Iromaya/Getty Images

Time-release vitamins -- supplements designed to slowly release vitamins over an extended period of time -- appear to offer more health benefits than regular vitamins. However, health authorities, including the Harvard School of Public Health, say that time-release vitamins are not particularly useful. In some cases, time-release vitamins may be prescribed to treat a health condition, but taking over-the-counter time-release vitamins can be dangerous.

Usefulness

The theory behind time-release vitamins is that they deliver a steady amount of vitamins into your bloodstream over the course of the day. However, unlike time-release medications, time-release vitamins are are no more effective than regular vitamins, and they usually cost more, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. According to Columbia University Health Services, most people do not need the constant influx of vitamins advertised by time-release vitamins, and time-release vitamins may also be dangerous as well as ineffective. Supplements containing time-release niacin, for example, cause fewer side effects than regular niacin supplements but are associated with liver damage.

You Might Also Like

Research

There is not s significant body of research on time-release vitamins, but the existing research indicates that time-release vitamins sold as nutritional supplements are perhaps even less effective than regular vitamins and may be dangerous. According to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, one study found that a time-release vitamin C capsule was 50 percent less bioavailable than other formulations of vitamin C, and another study found no difference in the body's absorption of time-release vitamin C versus regular vitamin C. Regarding time-release niacin, a review published in "Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy" in 2004 concluded that while time-release niacin sold as a nutritional supplement is associated with liver toxicity, a prescription-only, time-release formulation of niacin does not carry the same health risk.

What to Look for in a Vitamin

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, people looking to take a vitamin for general health should look for a multivitamin that supplies 100 percent of the dietary reference intakes for most vitamins, avoiding extended release and "mega" vitamins that supply 200 percent of the DRI or more. High-doses vitamins, including many time-release preparations, may cause liver problems and other toxic effects, particularly with fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A and E. The exception to the "100 percent DRI" rule, according to HSPH, is vitamin D, as many people need more than the DRI. If you have dark skin or little exposure to direct sunlight, have your doctor check your vitamin D status.

Considerations

Unless your doctor recommends you take vitamins due to a medical condition or dietary insufficiency, you probably don't need to take a multivitamin. As long as you are generally healthy and eat a varied diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, low-fat dairy, lean meats and fish, you probably receive the nutrients you need from food. In general, whole foods are preferable to vitamins as they also contain micronutrients and fiber. While taking a regular multivitamin that contains 100 percent of the DRI is likely safe for most people, high-dose, time-release vitamins should only be taken under the supervision of a doctor.

Related Searches

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
THE LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate Nutrition, Workouts & Tips
GOAL
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
GENDER
  • Female
  • Male
lbs.
ft. in.

References

Demand Media