There are certain things that are best at specific times of the day. Caffeine is best in the AM; a scary horror film right before bed is not. (Meanwhile, breakfast is ideal at literally any hour.)
However, if you've recently started a vitamin kick to improve your overall health, you might be looking at all of those supplements lined up before your eyes and wonder if there is an optimal time to take them.
Let's be real, here: the best time to take a pill is whenever you will actually remember to take said pill.
If you're not consistently taking your vitamins, you're getting less of it over the course of the week.
That being said, there are some differences between how certain vitamins are processed by your body, so timing can sometimes make a bit of a difference. While your body can absorb water-soluble vitamins no matter what you have -- or haven't -- eaten, other supplements are best taken with a meal, while others don't mix well with certain vitamins in the slightest.
Interested in learning more? We've got your back! Read on to learn everything you need to know about vitamins and the best time to take them.
Why Do People Take Vitamins?
First things first, why do people take vitamins in the first place?
People all take vitamins for the same basic reason: to supplement their body's supply of crucial nutrients that may not be found in their diet.
You see, no matter how healthy you eat or whatever kind of special diet you follow, it can be really difficult for your body to get all of the nutrients it needs from food, all the time. Every diet can have gaps, whether you're keto, vegan, paleo, or eat everything under the sun.
There are also things outside your diet that can play a role, like your age and current life stage, as well as genetic variations. Deficiencies of crucial vitamins can lead to all sorts of highly serious health consequences -- after all, everything in your body is intertwined, so a deficiency in just one nutrient can affect a whole lot.
With that in mind, it's easy to see why taking vitamins is so beneficial!
Basic Vitamin-Taking Guidelines
There are a few basic guidelines to follow to get the most out of your vitamins. However, it's important to always communicate with your healthcare provider and seek personalized advice if you're uncertain about the best way to take them.
But, when in doubt, here's what you need to know about when to take vitamins, no matter your unique supplement mix.
Fat-Soluble Vitamins: At Mealtime
Your body better absorbs fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K, when they are taken with fat-containing food.
Why? Because consuming fat triggers the production of enzymes and bile that help transport fat-soluble nutrients out of your digestive system and into your liver -- where they are processed. Without that activation, your body won't absorb as much of those vitamins as effectively.
Now, don't take this as carte blanche to dive into a stuffed crust, triple-cheese pizza with pepperoni for the sake of getting more vitamin D. Even a measly five grams of fat will do the trick -- think oatmeal with sliced almonds, or better yet, avo toast, mmm!
Since multivitamins and prenatals tend to contain fat-soluble vitamins, they are also best taken with a meal.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Whenever
Omega-3, also known as fish oil, is a vital nutrient for your body because it helps improve heart health, helps support proper growth, and helps to protect that beautiful brain of yours!
It doesn't matter when you take this essential vitamin because you will only experience its amazing benefits if you're consistent with it. Just find a time that works best for you.
It is good to keep in mind that Omega-3 does have some unwanted side-effects such as acid reflux, so to combat this, you can split your daily dose into two smaller ones and take one with breakfast and the other with lunch.
Pro Tip: Do you get weirded out by the fishy smell that often accompanies these essential vitamins? Store your capsules in your fridge or freezer! This is a game-changer for sensitive taste buds. You're welcome.
Vitamin B: With Breakfast
If you're taking a B vitamin -- or prenatals or even a multi containing B vitamins -- you might find that you need to take it earlier in the day. That's because B vitamins naturally boost your energy levels, so some people find if they take it at night or with a late meal, it's a wee bit too stimulating.
But everyone is different, and while some may be sensitive to B vitamins, others are not. If you notoriously forget to take your pill in the morning, or if taking a prenatal during the day makes you even more nauseous than you already are, it's perfectly fine to take vitamin B later in the day.
Fiber: Right Before Bed
Believe it or not, the megadose of fiber in a supplement can interfere immensely with the absorption of medications as well as other nutrients -- so always take it separately from your prescriptions and other vitamins.
The best time to take a fiber supplement is with a large glass of good ol' H2O right before you hit the sheets for some well-deserved beauty rest.
Calcium: Separately From Zinc and Iron
If you happen to be taking calcium as well as iron or zinc, it's important to space your supplements throughout the day.
You see, calcium competes for the same resources as iron and zinc, so they'll essentially duke it out in your body. Experts suggest aiming to leave at least one to two hours between taking these vitamins.
Also, it's smart to keep in mind that your body can only absorb 600mg of calcium at a time -- so if you're taking more, be sure to have one dose in the AM and one in the PM. Otherwise, you're flushing anything over 600 mg right down the drain.
Other Things You Should Know About Taking Vitamins
Something that's also good to know is that certain vitamins work better together than others.
For instance, magnesium and Vitamin D help your body to absorb calcium -- which is why you will often see the three paired in the same pill.
Vitamin C and vitamin B12 help your body to process folic acid, while vitamin C also improves iron absorption. That's especially important for those who are vegan or vegetarian because the iron in plant-based foods is absorbed only half as well as the iron found in fish, poultry, and meat.
The vitamins in foods count, too -- so consider guzzling your iron supplement down with a tall glass of orange juice that's rich in vitamin C.
Additionally, multis and prenatal vitamins usually require you to take two or three pills -- and you can't just simply swallow all three in one sitting and call it a day. The reason they are separated is that they are meant to be taken at different times of the day. If remembering to take a vitamin multiple times throughout the day sounds difficult, you may want to opt for a vitamin that contains a full day's dose in one easy capsule.
A Final Word
The truth is that vitamin and mineral supplements won't work unless you take them every single day. Some specific vitamins have their golden windows that help you ease discomfort or increase their effectiveness, but the most important thing you should do is always be consistent.
Not sure which vitamins to take? We totally get it -- there's a sea of options on the market, which can make it extremely confusing to know which vitamins are best for you.
At the end of the day, Love Wellness is happy to help with our true passion for creating supplements made with only the best ingredients to support your specific self-care issues.
With 25+ vitamins and minerals for your baseline nutritional needs to support total body health and functionality, it's no wonder Love Wellness is loved by so many women all over the globe, no matter when they’re taking their vitamins!