Ask the Herb Lady

With Cathy Burkemper

Q: Should I take my supplements with food or on an empty stomach? What’s the best time of day to take them?

A: It is best to take a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement with meals because nutrients help the body to better metabolize food for energy and they are more easily absorbed. Some minerals should be taken separately due to their respective stimulating and calming effects. For example, chromium is best taken with breakfast, or throughout the day, because it helps regulate blood sugar levels, while calcium and magnesium are best taken before bed due to their relaxing effect. Because herbs are classified as food, they can be taken with or without meals.

Q: I understand there is a natural sweetener that can actually lower your blood sugar. What is it?

A: Stevia. This naturally sweet herb contains no calories, is non-toxic and is 30 times sweeter than sugar. Use it in anything you would add sugar to. You can even cook with it. Stevia helps to nourish the pancreas and restore normal pancreatic functions. Research has shown that hypoglycemic diabetics showed an approximate 35% drop in blood sugar levels 6-8 hours after consumption. Stevia does not affect normal blood sugar levels.

This herb information is for health education purposes only. It is not intended to replace the services of licensed health practitioners. Consult with a physician for any condition that requires professional care.

Do you have questions about herbs or vitamins? Send them to Cathy Burkemper, CNHP and Certified Herbalist. Write to: Herbs & More.