Best time of day to take vitamins

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People spend a lot of time talking about the importance of vitamins and what foods we should eat to get the right vitamins in our system. 

However, most people don’t know how to take vitamins, such as the best time of day to take vitamins or eat vitamin-rich foods to get the maximum benefits.

 Depending on the type of vitamins you take, the best time of day to take vitamins varies.

Fat-soluble vitamins

These are vitamins that dissolve in fats and oils, which means they are absorbed in your body tissue. 

These vitamins stay in your system longer as they move through your bloodstream and settle in the fatty tissue in your body.

Examples of fat-soluble vitamins include:

  •    Vitamin A (retinol)
  •    Vitamin D (calcitriol)
  •    Vitamin E (tocopherol)
  •    Vitamin K (phytonadione)

You can get these vitamins in beef, dairy products, and fatty fish, like salmon. Or, you can take supplements, but be sure to take them with fatty foods. 

Oddly, a fat-free meal will work against you with these vitamins because your body needs fat in order to absorb them.

Best time of day to take these vitamins: With your evening meal (when you eat a heavier meal and then rest shortly afterward). It is best to take these vitamins with fatty foods so the oils in your food will help your body absorb the nutrients.  

A word of caution: It’s pretty well known that many people are deficient in vitamin D, which often leads to sleepiness and fatigue, so a lot of people take vitamin D supplements. 

Be careful not to take too much, as it may interfere with your sleep. If you are low on energy but can’t sleep at night, you might want to talk to your doctor about your concern. 

Water-soluble vitamins

These vitamins absorb in the water in your body, so they are flushed through your system quickly with urine. 

Your body doesn’t store these vitamins in your system, so it’s important to make sure you regularly eat foods that are high in these vitamins to keep them in your system for as much time as possible.

Examples of water-soluble vitamins include:

  •    Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
  •    Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
  •    Vitamin B3 (niacin)
  •    Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
  •    Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
  •    Vitamin B7 (biotin)
  •    Vitamin B9 (folate)
  •    Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
  •    Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

Best time of day to take these vitamins: First thing in the morning (or when you first wake up to an empty stomach). This will help your body maximize the benefits of the vitamins before they are flushed out. 

Take these vitamins at least 30 minutes before breakfast. Otherwise, wait at least 2 hours after your most recent meal to make sure you take them on an empty stomach.

Another reason to take water-soluble vitamins in the morning is that they are believed to interfere with sleep – especially vitamin B12 and vitamin C, which are known for giving us energy.

However, many people find that taking vitamin and mineral supplements gives them an upset stomach. In this case, you should take your supplements with a light meal.

Other Nutrients

Multi-vitamins, including prenatal vitamins, often include both water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins. 

Therefore, there’s no specific time of day to take multi-vitamins in general. 

You should read the label to find out the best time to take these vitamins based on their specific vitamin and mineral combinations. 

If there’s no guidance, you should take it with breakfast and drink plenty of fluids.

Morning 

  • Fish oil can be taken effectively in the morning, especially if you have a heavy breakfast. It’s also very effective when taken with dinner, so you should consider splitting your daily dose. 
  • Zinc works best on an empty stomach, so it’s best to take it before breakfast. 
  • Probiotics are live microorganisms that promote a healthy digestive tract. The most common is yogurt, and they are most effective on an empty stomach. 

Lunchtime 

  • Take omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and calcium when you eat lunch. Many people have trouble taking them on an empty stomach, so taking them at lunchtime will help alleviate that issue while allowing you to benefit most of the day.

Mid-Afternoon 

  • Fiber is great for digestion to help keep your system clean, but it also interferes with the body’s absorption of certain vitamins. It’s best not to take fiber with any other vitamins or minerals.

Dinner Time

  • You can benefit from distributing your calcium intake throughout the day, so you can also take calcium with your evening meal. This is beneficial because calcium helps your body absorb vitamins D and K, which are fat-soluble vitamins that you should also take with your evening meal. 
  • Fish oil has been found to improve sleep quality, so it’s also helpful to take it at night – with your evening so your dinner can help absorb it for long-term use.

Bed Time 

  • Magnesium is a mineral that calms your mind and helps you relax to get a good night’s sleep. 
  • Zinc is effective in helping you sleep more soundly, but its greatest impact occurs on an empty stomach. Take zinc at night, and try to wait at least an hour or two after you eat dinner.

Combinations to avoid

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  • To enhance effectiveness, calcium should not be taken at the same time as iron and zinc. 
  • Vitamin C interferes with the absorption of fish oil, so you should consider taking them separately.
  • Taking ginkgo biloba with fish oil can increase the risk of excessive bleeding.

The safest, most effective method of getting the vitamins you need at the best time to take vitamins is to plan your meals. 

Try keeping a food diary to log the foods you eat and the times that you eat to make sure you are getting your vitamins at the right times of day. 

However, if you choose to take vitamin supplements, be sure they include the best vitamins to meet your individual health needs. 

You should also get your vitamins from a trusted source that monitors the quality and safety of its products.

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