If you are taking vitamin supplements you’re obviously someone interested in being as healthy as you can be, but have you ever considered if there’s an optimum time of day you should be taking those vitamins?
Actually, there is! While vitamins at any time of day is definitely better than no vitamins at all, not all vitamins are the same and the best time of day to take them does vary. Some vitamins are fat-soluble and are best taken with a meal while others are water-soluble and are best taken on an empty stomach. One or two may even be best a few hours before bed to help you rest better.
So, which vitamins are fat-soluble, which are water-soluble, and should you be taking them at different times of day? Let’s take a look.
Which Vitamins are Fat-Soluble?
Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed by fat, so taking them on an empty stomach generally means your body won’t be able to use the vitamins you’ve taken. If there’s no fat in your stomach, they won't be absorbed. When you eat, your body produces bile and lipase, which is what breaks down this fat and makes the fat-soluble vitamins water-soluble so they can be absorbed by the intestines. Fat-soluble vitamins include the following:
· Vitamin A: is essential for maintaining good eye health, healthy organ function, and a healthy reproductive system. There’s no evidence to say that taking vitamin A is better in the morning or evening, so simply take it with your meals to ensure it’s absorbed.
· Vitamin D: helps keep your immune system healthy, bones and nerves. Your body naturally produces vitamin D when you’re exposed to the sun, but due to the damage UV can do to our skin, it’s beneficial to keep out of the sun for too long and supplement your vitamin D production instead. It’s best taken with your meals.
· Vitamin E: this is another vitamin that aids your vision and immune system, but also protects cells, and widens blood vessels which helps to prevent blood clots. Vitamin E is particularly beneficial to our overall skin health. It’s best taken with a meal, but you’re otherwise free to take it at any time of day.
· Vitamin K: helps make strong bones, fight diabetes by making your body more sensitive to insulin, and helps your blood to clot. While blood clots aren’t good for your body, your blood must be able to clot to make scabs and heal when tissues are broken. This is an extremely important vitamin because it does a lot to fight cancer and keep your bones strong, so you should ensure you get the daily recommended intake.
Which Vitamins are Water-Soluble?
Water-soluble vitamins are absorbed by water, and so best taken on an empty stomach, that means first thing in the morning, 30 minutes before breakfast, or two hours after a meal. The body takes what it needs of these vitamins and flushes the rest away and aren’t stored in the body, so you need to consume these vitamins regularly. Water-soluble vitamins include:
· Vitamin B2: (otherwise known as riboflavin) is vital because it helps break down the essential building blocks of your food: protein, fat, and carbohydrates. This means it helps regulate your energy supply.
· Vitamin B3: otherwise known as niacin, is essential for numerous functions in the body and can also help lower cholesterol, lessen the symptoms of arthritis, and boost brain function. Too much niacin can cause your body serious problems, but if you’re taking a multivitamin at the recommended dosage this will never be a problem for you.
· Vitamin B6: is extremely important because it benefits the central nervous system, which is what tells everything in your body what to do and when to function at its best. There has been a small amount of research to show that B6 may cause especially vivid dreams if taken in large doses, but this simply won’t be a problem for most people.
· Vitamin B12: is instrumental in helping your body produce energy. This vitamin is extremely important for vegetarians and vegans as it is largely found in animal products. Some people have said they found it difficult to sleep after taking a Vitamin B-specific supplement, but this won’t be a problem if you take your multivitamin with your dinner, and not a supplement loaded with B vitamins.
· Vitamin C: Is key in keeping your immune system running optimally, as well as protecting your cells from free radicals, and assisting in the absorption of iron. Being water-soluble, you don’t need to take it with your meal, but some people who are extra-sensitive to it will find it beneficial to do so. (You can read more about vitamin C here.)
What’s the Best Time to Take My Multivitamin?
Of course, spending all day taking numerous different vitamin supplements just isn’t practical, and it’s far better for your body if you focus on eating a healthy diet and supplement it with a well-rounded multivitamin.
The best time to take your multivitamin is with your meals, ideally your first and last meal of the day. This provides your body with ample time to utilise the vitamins before you “top them up” again later in the day. If your multivitamin advises you to take it once a day with food, the morning will always be the best choice.
Most multivitamins will advise you to take your multivitamin with meals, so check with your multivitamin’s guidelines to see if they tell you to take it “with” meals or “after”. In an ideal scenario, you’ll take your multivitamin with a glass of water or cup of tea before you eat your meal, so the water-soluble vitamins are absorbed first, followed by the fat-soluble vitamins just minutes later, ensuring your body absorbs everything provided in your multivitamin.
The only thing you should be cautious about here is if they tell you not to take your vitamin before you eat your meal, as this may mean something in it will irritate your stomach lining or acid. If you use a multivitamin like ours, which contains only natural ingredients, including the capsule, this should not be an issue.
Can I Take My Multivitamin and Medication at the Same Time?
Some medications, such as statins and antibiotics, can be affected by the calcium and magnesium that you find in your multivitamin, so it’s best to take them at a different time as your multivitamin, just in case, or ask your doctor. In most cases, simply taking your multivitamin before your meal and your medication after is enough, but check with your doctor.
If you’re looking for a multivitamin that contains all-natural ingredients that can be easily taken in the morning and evening our multivitamin may be the right choice for you.