Best Times to Take Vitamins and Supplements
6 min read
Different vitamins and supplements get best absorbed into your body at other times and under different conditions.
If you're looking for a definitive guideline for the optimal amount of each vitamin you should be getting per day, click here.
Here are a few guidelines for the most optimal times to take your vitamins and supplements.
What Are Fat-soluble Vitamins?
Fat-soluble vitamins are those that get broken down in fat and get stored in your body's fat tissues.
Generally speaking, you should take fat-soluble vitamins at night with a large meal. It's best if that meal consists of some healthy fat (avocados, salmon, etc.).
Eating fatty foods with fat-soluble vitamins allows your body to absorb and integrate them optimally. It’s best if you can take your fat-soluble vitamin intakes together because fat-soluble vitamins tend to balance each other out.
Fat-soluble vitamins include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
Although it's rare, a deficiency in one fat-soluble vitamin could lead to a surplus in another one. When taking certain supplements, be sure to take the appropriate amount for you specifically for optimal health results.
What Are Water-Soluble Vitamins?
Instead of storing water-soluble vitamins in your tissues, your body will take any leftover water-soluble vitamins and excrete them.
As a result, you do need to have a constant supply of these vitamins since they are quickly used and eliminated from your body.
Should You Take Vitamins with a Meal or without One?
The short answer is it’s best to take fat-soluble vitamins with a meal when possible.
It would help if you ate a large, well-balanced meal with fat-soluble vitamins mainly because large quantities of fat-soluble vitamins can upset your stomach without food. Water-soluble vitamins, on the other hand, are best taken without a meal or on an empty stomach as they tend to function best when you have nothing but water in your stomach. These are general guidelines, but for best results, read the labels on your vitamins carefully for recommendations on taking them.
Do Vitamins Interfere with Sleep?
Different vitamins may have a positive or negative impact on your sleep cycle.
Vitamin D, E, and Melatonin all seem to help with sleep problems. According to scientists, combinations of vitamin B supplements have been shown in recent studies to be correlated with insomnia and sleep issues.
These factors are primarily dependent on how, when, and how much of a particular vitamin you decide to take.
For best results, make sure to choose specific vitamin supplements that work best for your diet and lifestyle.
Generally, if you eat a large dinner and a small lunch, you should take water-soluble vitamins in the morning and fat-soluble vitamins at night. Meals will allow your body to process each vitamin at the maximum absorption rate.
Best Times to Take Vitamins
It’s best to take your multivitamin earlier in the day because it contains a mixture of different vitamins and minerals. You may experience a change in alertness after taking your multivitamin.
Remember, not all multivitamin supplements are created equal so read all the labels on your multivitamin properly before taking. Aim to take Multivitamins when you wake up.
Always aim to take your B Vitamins such as B6 and B12 in the morning. B vitamins are known to give you a boost in energy and awareness. For most people, that means taking Vitamin B between 7 to 10 AM.
You should take Vitamin C up to a few hours before a meal because it is a water-soluble vitamin. It will be best absorbed and most efficiently used if you take it on an empty stomach.
Try to take Vitamin C before or between meals.
It’s best to take Vitamin A with dinner so in the evening around 5 to 7 PM. Again, a dinner high in healthy fats is best.
The best time to consume Vitamin E supplements is with a meal at night. Eating a meal will allow for the best absorption rate of the vitamin into your body.
Take Vitamin E while eating a large meal.
Try to take Vitamin K at night with a meal.
Best Times to Take Supplements
Take magnesium at night after dinner. Research has shown that magnesium may help with sleep.
It would help if you took Iron on an empty stomach whenever possible. Iron is a mineral that will absorb the best without food.
Try to take Iron in between meals.
Take calcium supplements with a meal. Your body will use it more efficiently if you take it in smaller doses since its absorption rate is quite low.
You should take Omega 3 fatty acids with a large fatty meal since they are fat-soluble.
Like omega 3s, fish oil supplements should be taken with a meal whenever possible as taking them with a meal will increase their efficacy. It’s probably best if that meal is dinner. Fish oil, like Omega 3s, seems to be most effective when paired with other healthy fats.
CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10)
You should take Coenzyme Q10 in the morning to avoid insomnia and other potential sleep-related side effects.
Best Time to Take Prenatal Vitamins
Since prenatal vitamins are a multivitamin, it’s best to take them earlier in the day and on an empty stomach to make sure you get optimal time to absorb them.
Some women did find that adding prenatal vitamins to their daily diet caused nausea and constipation. If taking vitamins during the day and without food causes distress, try taking them before bed or with small amounts of food.
Don’t worry too much about taking them at the exact best time if that is not possible. The most important thing about taking prenatal vitamins is taking them daily with consistency and regularity since their benefits add up.
If you want to learn more about prenatal vitamins, check out this article from HealthLine covering 7 ingredients that nutritionists say your prenatal vitamins should have.
Risks and Considerations
Vitamins and supplements should be taken with care. The content, effectiveness and actual benefits can vary and they may be harmful if taken in large doses. Vitamins and supplements may also interact with medications you’re taking.
Check with your doctor to see if taking any vitamins or supplements will be beneficial to your health or if you have any medical concerns. Be prepared to discuss your diet as well to understand the amount of essential nutrients you’re already getting.
That might be a lot to think about and we understand if you can’t remember all of that right now. You can bookmark this to refer back to. In short, take fat-soluble vitamins at night with a meal and take water-soluble vitamins in the morning without a meal.
What vitamins are you taking? Any favorite supplements? Comment below!
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