When is the best time to take your vitamins?

Vitamins are an increasingly popular trend in today’s world of wellness. From beauty supplements to sleep aids, more and more Americans are getting on board with holistic health. A study has shown that 4 in 5 Americans—or 86%—consume daily multivitamins or other nutritional supplements. With such a large portion of the population ingesting them, it is important that they are taken both safely and correctly. One facet of safe multivitamin use is deciding when exactly during the day you are going to take them. It can get a bit confusing, as multiple factors can contribute to the prime time of consumption. Continue reading in order to understand the factors involved with the proper time of day for use of your favorite supplements, and explore the range of products available at Dr. Emil’s online store! As always, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare provider before adding vitamins to your routine, and potential medication interactions should be discussed and monitored accordingly.

Key Takeaways:

  • The proper time of day to take vitamins is dependent on many differing factors, such as the type of supplement being consumed, diet, possible medication/other vitamin interaction, and chance of pregnancy or being pregnant.
  • Some vitamins and supplements are best taken with food and on their own, while others can be taken in conjunction with other nutritional additives.
  • No matter the type of vitamin you take, it is important to consume them at the same time each day in order to maintain consistency and for optimal results.

Vitamins placed on wooden spoons.
There are different benefits to taking vitamins at the suggested time of day. Image courtesy of cosmeticbusiness.com.

Which vitamins should be taken in the morning?

Prenatal vitamins are among the list of supplements that are recommended to consume before lunch time. When taken early in the day, the body can absorb all of the benefits the vitamin can offer. The main ingredients of prenatal vitamins—iron, calcium, and folic acid—should also be taken into consideration. Iron integrates into the body best when taken with vitamin C, so it might be wise to take it with a glass of orange juice at breakfast. However, some women have reported side effects with early prenatal supplement consumption, so in these cases the vitamins can be ingested in the evening. The benefits of prenatal vitamins are cumulative, so maintaining consistency with daily use is key.  

Water soluble vitamins are not necessarily recommended for strict morning use, but they do work best on an empty stomach. Many people choose to forego their breakfast, which makes the morning a perfect time to take any of these supplements. These types of supplements include (but are not limited to) folic acid, vitamin C, biotin, niacin, and riboflavin. The B vitamins, like B2, B6, and B12, are all known for their energy-boosting characteristics-- vitamin B6 in particular is known to potentially interfere with sleep, making morning consumption ideal.

Which vitamins should be taken later in the day?

Fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K, should be taken with a meal due to the fact that they dissolve in oil. Generally, the best time to do this is at dinner, so the fats used to dissolve the vitamins can be properly absorbed into the bloodstream. Unlike water soluble vitamins (which are flushed out of the body when they are no longer needed), excess fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the liver for future use. Due to their storage in the body, it is also recommended to take these types of supplements in small doses, as taking too much can lead to toxic and potentially harmful reactions.

Is it safe to take my vitamins together, or with other medications?

This can be a tricky question, and there is not one standard answer for everyone.  Generally, it depends on what type of vitamins you’re taking. One study showed that taking magnesium supplements alongside vitamin D supplements can help bolster the effects of the latter vitamin. However, taking vitamin A supplements with vitamin D supplements can negatively impact vitamin D levels in your body. Magnesium is also essential if you are suffering from a calcium deficiency, as magnesium helps to deposit missing calcium into the bones.

Another common concern is whether supplements can be taken alongside medications. Vitamins E and K, for instance, are not recommended for patients who are prescribed warfarin, as it could lead to excess bleeding, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), heart attacks, and strokes. Similarly, niacin should never be taken with statins, a group of medications used to treat high cholesterol, as it is associated with the onset of myopathies (muscle weakness due to a neuromuscular disorder). (include something about speaking with your doctor about all your medications and supplements and work out what best works for your situation. Kind of a disclaimer.)

Vitamins placed in front of a pile of fruit.
Vitamins and other supplements can help people regain key nutrients that may not be accessible through their diets. Image courtesy of totalgymdirect.com.

So, when should I be taking my vitamins?

The answer to this question is dependent on a multitude of factors, such as the type of vitamin being consumed, how many supplements are being taken, meal schedule, and chance of pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins are recommended for morning use, while fat-soluble vitamins should generally be taken with an afternoon or evening meal. Despite the general safety of vitamin use, it is always important to err on the side of caution when adding anything that could affect your overall health.

Vitamin consumption should always be thoroughly researched and discussed at length with a healthcare professional before being added to a nutritional regimen. It is important to note what vitamins can be taken together and which ones cannot, as well as monitoring your consumption for any complications or interactions it may have with certain medications. If you’re interested in exploring dietary supplements and vitamins to add to your routine, check out Dr. Emil’s extensive online store.

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