Why do supplements take so long to work?

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Have you ever reached for a supplement in a moment of desperation in hopes that it would be a quick fix? Whether you’re looking for help with sleep, energy, bloating or another issue, I’m sure you’ve felt the need for results…fast! But as with any nutritional program, supplements take time—as much as 90 days—to reach full effect. Here’s why. 

1) It takes time for nutrients to build up 

Nutrient stores take time to build up in your body, especially if you’re low or deficient, and that means delayed results. If your doctor says you’re low on iron, for example—and you’re feeling tired as a side effect—you may only notice a change in energy once your levels are within a healthy range. That could take several months. So if you don’t feel different right away, don’t worry. Your supplements are hard at work behind the scenes!  

2) Some supplements are slower than others 

Some supplements may be quicker to take effect than others. Sleep supplements for instance are usually fast-acting; you might be getting your best sleep within the first two weeks. But even if those Z’s are still elusive, don’t feel discouraged! It can take different amounts of time for different people.  

3) Monster doses don’t work 

Contrary to popular belief, taking supplements in higher doses won’t always help fill gaps quicker. Your body actually absorbs nutrients more efficiently in small but consistent amounts, since most of a large dose will just leave your body as waste. It’s a little like drinking water: Guzzling 10 glasses in the morning won’t quench your thirst for the entire day; you need to keep it up to prevent dehydration. 

4) Your supplements are part of a team 

Supplements are meant to complement your diet – not replace it. If you’re taking supplements regularly, but your diet consists mostly of processed foods without any fruits and vegetables, it’s going to take a lot longer to notice any changes. A well-balanced diet also allows your gut to thrive, which helps with supplement absorption and faster results!  

5) Consistency is hard 

Despite all that supplements bring to the table, they aren’t miracle pills (unfortunately). They only work if you take them consistently—ideally at the same time every day. This is especially true of water-soluble vitamins like vitamin B and C that aren’t stored in your body and so have to be replaced regularly. Missing a dose here and there isn’t a problem, but if you get too far off track, you may find it takes a long time to feel a difference—if at all.  

If you’re struggling to remember to take your supplements every day, don’t fret! We’ve got you covered. Here’s a few things you can try. 

  • Stack it on other habits: Aim to take your supplements with an activity you do every day, like brushing your teeth or making your bed. Even better, put your supplements right where you do that activity, to act as a reminder. As a skin-care freak, I put mine by my dresser, and I’m proud to say I haven’t missed a dose since (okay maybe once or twice, but we’re all human!).
  • Set a reminder: Try using a scheduling app or your phone’s alarm to remind you to take your daily vitamins. This is especially helpful when you’re just starting your program and trying to make it a routine!
  • Carry your vitamins in your bag: Mornings are busy for many of us, so sometimes we just don’t think about vitamins until we’ve already left the house. If this is your issue, try keeping a few daily packs in your bag, so you have them wherever you go.
  • Write a Note: Just like leaving yourself some positive affirmations on your mirror, leave a note on your toothbrush, fridge door, TV remote, water purifier or anywhere prominently seen! 
  • Take this step with your bestie: Sharing this experience with someone will not only motivate you but help keep you right on track!


About Gina 

Gina is a Registered Associate Nutritionist (ANutr) and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Nutrition from London. She believes nutrition is all about choosing to respect yourself & your body by making smart yet enjoyable choices everyday. 

Do you have questions on how you may benefit from supplements? Reach out to one of our experts, or take Persona’s free nutrition assessment, and learn exactly what you need to take your wellness to the next level.   

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.   
This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional, or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.    



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