What is the Best Time of Day to Take Vitamins for Maximum Effect?
  /   Dr. John Snow

What is the Best Time of Day to Take Vitamins for Maximum Effect?

Your body needs vitamins. What it doesn’t get enough off from food, it needs to get enough of from supplements. This should be a straightforward process, but it isn’t always that easy.

Vitamins work better at different times and with different meals. Some vitamins negatively interact with each other or with prescription medications. It’s a balancing act, and if you want your vitamins to work for you, you have to master that tightrope. 

Do I Really Need All These Vitamins?

You may not need to take a ton of vitamins. In fact, you shouldn’t start taking a bunch of vitamins and supplements until you talk to your doctor. 

If you’re already meeting your recommended daily amounts of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients through your daily diet, taking additional vitamins in the form of a supplement would serve no purpose.

Vitamins and other supplements are helpful for people with absorption issues related to bariatric or gastrointestinal surgery or bowel conditions. They’re useful for people who have food allergies or intolerances that limit the food groups they’re able to safely enjoy. They’re also useful for people on vegan or vegetarian diets who may not be getting sufficient amounts of certain vitamins in their diet due to their exclusions. 

Before you hop on the vitamin train, be sure to talk to your doctor. It might be a wise idea to supplement certain vitamins depending on your unique needs. Your doctor will advise you of what vitamins or minerals you may benefit from supplementing. 

All Vitamins Work Differently

Some vitamins are water-soluble, which means they dissolve in water. Your body can easily use these vitamins at any time, especially if you take them with a full glass of water.

Other vitamins, like A, E, D, and K, are fat-soluble. Your body needs to incorporate them with fat in order to be able to use them effectively. A glass of water won’t cut it.

Some vitamins and minerals will compete with each other for absorption. Calcium, magnesium, and zinc are in a constant struggle for your body’s attention. 

Vitamin C may keep your body from effectively utilizing vitamin B12. For this reason, you’ll want to put your vitamins and minerals on a schedule to promote maximum effect. 

What’s the point in taking a vitamin if your body can’t use it? You don’t want your supplement interactions to put you back at square one. 

Vitamins in the Morning

Any water-soluble vitamins are easy to take in the morning. You can have them with a glass of water or a cup of coffee, and they’ll get right to work. 

You might experience the benefits of B vitamins better in the morning, as they tend to rev up your metabolism and encourage natural energy production. This isn’t an effect you’d seek after dinner when the night starts winding down. 

Vitamins with the Right Meal

Vitamins A, E, D, and K are fat-soluble. If you eat a light breakfast or practice intermittent fasting in the morning, your body won’t effectively use these vitamins. You need to have a little bit of fat in your system. 

Take fat-soluble vitamins with yogurt, a salad with olive oil vinaigrette, or a piece of grilled salmon. Healthy fats will help deliver these vitamins to your body. 

Timing Certain Vitamins Around Medications

Some thyroid medications and statins will interact negatively with certain vitamins or minerals. If you’re taking any medications at all, you should talk to your doctor before starting any supplements. 

Your doctor will explain how to space your vitamins and medications or if you should even take these vitamins or minerals at all. 

Spacing Out Certain Vitamins

Vitamin C may impact your body’s ability to utilize vitamin B12, which it needs for energy production. 

Give your body two hours to fully utilize one or the other before you take the next one. If you had B12 at breakfast, use vitamin C at lunch. This will assure an adequate amount of time has passed, and you’ll be able to experience the full benefits of each vitamin. 

Calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D are a dynamic trio. Vitamin D helps your body to absorb calcium, and magnesium helps your body deposit calcium into your bones. You can and should take calcium and vitamin D together, but what may come as a surprise is that calcium and magnesium need time apart.

While they both need to work together, they will first compete for absorption.

Allowing one to absorb before you use the other ensures that they’re able to work together. If you’re taking them in small doses, you won’t need to worry about this competition. They can both share the spotlight in modest amounts without overtaxing your body. 

Then, all you need to be concerned with is getting your vitamin D and your calcium at the same time. This could be a problem if you’re taking that vitamin D in conjunction with vitamin A, which might decrease the amount of vitamin D you ultimately absorb. This means you’ll need to take more vitamin D to overcompensate for the loss. 

But there’s another problem! Your body uses the water-soluble vitamins it needs and flushes them out. It stores fat-soluble vitamins in your fat cells. Both vitamin A and vitamin D are fat-soluble. 

Consuming them on a regular basis might have negative consequences. However, you don’t need to carry around a wealth of vitamins that your body can’t use. 

What’s the Best Solution?

There are more than a few complicated issues with interactions and vitamins competing with each other. 

Juggling individual vitamin supplements can be difficult, especially when you’re on the go. You’ll have to remember what to take and when, and you’ll have a container of supplements to take with every meal. 

It’s challenging to handle, and for most people, it’s unnecessary.

If your doctor believes you would benefit from vitamin supplementation that won’t interact with any essential medications, the best thing to do is take a bioavailable multivitamin designed by or recommended by doctors. 

As long as the supplement contains the things you need, it’s hard to go wrong.

Vitamins and minerals in their most bioavailable forms can be expertly blended to avoid absorption conflicts or utilization negation. If the supplement contains fat-soluble vitamins, take it with your first meal of the day to help your body use the vitamins. It’s a one-and-done solution that you won’t have to worry about. 

Reputable vitamin brands have already done the math. All you need to do is take the supplement once a day. 

What About Children’s Vitamins?

Many children are picky eaters, and macaroni and cheese alone will not fulfill the nutritional needs of a growing youngster. It’s important to discuss nutrition with your children and explain the importance of making healthy choices.

While they may not get it right away, keeping the conversations going and encouraging them to try new foods will slowly sink in overtime.

In the meantime, they can’t afford to go without the necessary vitamins and minerals they’re missing. If your child’s pediatrician agrees that supplementation can help fill the gaps, the best way to help your child meet their needs is to use a children’s multivitamin formulated by pediatricians.

While children have specific needs, several vitamins and minerals often lack in the average American child’s diet. Hiya worked with pediatricians to establish where these gaps were and how to fill them with a multivitamin to promote health, growth, and development. 

The Takeaway

Navigating the timing of vitamin supplements can become complicated very quickly. Taking several capsules a day at varying times is dizzying. If taking your vitamins is such a complicated process, you’re going to feel less inclined to take them. 

The best solution is to avoid multiple supplements and stick to an expertly formulated multivitamin with minerals that you can take during breakfast or lunch. 

The same philosophy goes for children’s multivitamins. Giving them a healthy one-a-day chewable vitamin will help them meet their nutritional needs in a way that makes sense to them. 

Children don’t like taking tablets, and if you’re asking them to take them all day at different times, you’ll likely be met with constant struggles. 

Hiya formulated the perfect one-a-day for picky eaters who still have a lot of growing to do. 

Sources:

7.2: Fat-Soluble Vitamins | Medicine LibreTexts

Causes of Malabsorption | Lab Tests Online

Calcium Supplements: When Should They Be Taken? | Mayo Clinic

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