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Medical DOs and Don'ts
Back to ask the Doc.

  • DO take iron medications after your meal.  Iron, taken orally, causes gastrointestinal disturbances such as gastric distress, nausea or diarrhoea.
  • DON'T take iron medications with antacids such as calcium carbonate, aluminium hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide, as they reduce iron absorption, possibly by neutralising the gastric activity.
  • DO take iron medications with vitamin C, as vitamin C accelerates the absorption of iron.
  • DO chew your antacids thoroughly for maximum efficiency.
  • DO wait an hour after your meal before popping an antacid - it will be effective longer (for three to four hours) rather than the 15 to 30 minutes when taken in a fasting state.
  • DON'T POP multivitamins indiscriminately, or as dietary supplements, "to keep up energy and strength".  They do no more than placebos if unwarranted.
  • DON'T take insulin orally, as gastrointestinal enzymes destroy it.  It must be administered parenterally.
  • DO inject plain insulin about half an hour before each meal.
  • DON'T take calcium, magnesium, aluminium and iron salts in combination with tetracycline as these form complexes in the gastrointestinal tract, impairing the absorption of the antibiotic.
  • DO take antibiotics with vitamin B complex, as these tend to destroy the normal bacterial flora that line the intestines, creating a vitamin B complex deficiency.