When Is The Best Time To Take Vitamins And Supplements?

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Most of the time, a healthy and well-balanced diet is enough to provide your body with the nutrition it needs to function well. However, some people may need nutritional reinforcement, such as pregnant women or people suffering from nutritional deficiencies. If you’re one of them, you may be wondering if you need to take your vitamins and supplements at a specific time or if timing even matters.


If you want to learn more about the right time to take vitamins and supplements, here’s everything you need to know:

best time to take vitamins

Should You Take Vitamins in the Morning or Night Time?

The question of whether you need to take your vitamins and supplements in the morning or at night has always been controversial. Many people believe that taking them at night is better because you’re already getting the nutrients you need throughout the day from the food you consume. Taking supplements at night, thus, could help provide your body with nutrition while you’re sleeping.


On the other side of the table, some people believe supplements should be taken in the morning because of their role in energy production and metabolism. In an interview with the Washington Post, Jeffrey Blumberg from Tufts University stated that taking your supplements is best done in the morning. Digestion slows down at night, so if you take your supplements only before you go to sleep, they wouldn’t be absorbed by the body as efficiently. 


Either side has its own merits, but in most cases, the best time to take CBD oil, vitamins, and supplements will depend on which one you’re taking and what effects you’re hoping to gain. Here are some examples:


  1. In his book, ‘The Power of When,’ Michael Breus—a clinical psychologist and sleep expert based in Los Angeles—recommends taking CBD first thing in the morning. This will help you optimize its benefits and avoid potential side effects such as sleep disruptions.
  2. Neil Levins, a nutritionist from Now Foods, suggests that the best time to take B vitamins is in the morning as they may help stimulate brain function and metabolism. 
  3. According to Liz Weinandy, a dietitian at the Ohio State University, magnesium supplements are best taken before bed because they can make you feel sleepy.
  4. Weinandy also recommends splitting your daily calcium dose—half in the morning and the other half at night. Excessively high calcium levels may cause problems for people at risk for kidney stones.
  5. If you’re taking prenatal vitamins or folic acid supplements, Weinandy also suggests taking them before you go to sleep. Many women have reported feeling nauseous while they’re pregnant, and prenatal vitamins may exacerbate that. You can just sleep off the side effects if you take these vitamins at night.

Should You Take Vitamins Before Or After Eating?

According to Cleveland Clinic, most supplements need to be taken with food to reduce any adverse effects and ease absorption. For some, however, taking them on an empty stomach won’t matter. Below are a few examples:


  1. According to a study published in Epilepsia, the official journal of the International League Against Epilepsy, CBD should be taken with food to maximize absorption. However, a low-fat meal may be as effective as one with higher fat content. 
  2. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble, and that means that they’re absorbed by your body faster when you take them with a snack or meal containing at least 5 grams of fat. In fact, in a 2014 study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the people who took their Vitamin D supplements with a meal containing enough fat had a 32% faster nutrient absorption than those who took theirs with a fat-free meal.
  3. Vitamin C and the eight B vitamins are water-soluble, so you don’t have to take them with food to ensure optimal absorption. Just keep in mind that according to a 2018 study published in the Korean Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, taking Vitamin C supplements with food can help reduce any gastrointestinal side-effects due to its high acidity. 
  4. Probiotics are also best taken on an empty stomach, so there’s nothing to prevent the good bacteria from doing their work.
  5. Multivitamins should ideally be taken with food because they contain both fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins.


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Take Vitamins Together Or Separate?

Sometimes, certain vitamins have to be taken together with or apart from other substances, medications, drinks, or supplements to make the most of their benefits. Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind:


  1. Avoid taking your vitamins with tea or coffee. Caffeine may interfere with the absorption process, and it also increases urination which reduces the concentration of water-soluble vitamins. 
  2. Iron, zinc, and magnesium supplements should not be taken with calcium supplements, milk, or antacids. Iron and calcium compete for receptor sites, so it’s best to space them at least 2 hours apart. 
  3. Fiber should be taken apart from any other vitamins and supplements because it may interfere with absorption.
  4. Vitamin C can interfere with the absorption of some B vitamins. Space your vitamin C and any B-complex vitamin at least an hour apart. 
  5. Take your iron supplement with a vitamin C supplement or a vitamin C-rich food or drink to boost nutrient absorption. According to a study published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, taking iron and vitamin C together helps create the ideal gastrointestinal environment for optimal iron absorption. 


Most importantly, if you’re taking any other medication or drugs, consult your doctor on how to avoid any interactions with your vitamins and supplements. Your doctor will also let you know if you need to take these products or if your diet is enough to provide your body with the nutrients it needs. 


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Final Words

Timing is essential if you want to maximize the effectiveness of your vitamins and supplements. However, timing won’t matter if you don’t remember to take them at all. So, the best time to take your vitamins and supplements is when you’re most likely to remember to take them. Talk to your doctor if you’re worried about any potential side effects or interactions with your prescription medication. They can help you determine which ones you need to take and when you should take them.


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