When it comes to vitamins, timing is everything.
The time of day you take a vitamin can make the difference between getting the full benefits and wasting your money.
Should you take them in the morning? At bedtime? Spread them throughout the day? Take them with meals?
There are different answers for different vitamins.
The most popular vitamin supplements are multivitamins, vitamin D, B vitamins, and vitamin C. Fewer people supplement with other vitamins such as A, E, and K.1
While it is always best to get nutrients from your food, we’ve created a simple guide to ensure that you get the maximum health results from your supplements.
Research has found that more than 60% of people don’t get the recommended daily amounts of vitamins in their diet. Taking a high-quality multivitamin is an insurance policy against a deficient diet.2
To get the maximum benefit, take half your multivitamin in the morning with breakfast. Take the other half with your evening meal.
Two doses spread 12 hours apart keeps vitamin blood levels steady throughout the day better than one large dose. And taking them with food boosts absorption and lessens the chance of stomach upset.3 4
Vitamin D is fat soluble. It is best absorbed when taken with fatty foods.
A Cleveland Clinic study found that if you take vitamin D with the largest meal of the day, it increases blood levels 50% more than if you take it on any empty stomach.
You can take vitamin D in once-a-day dose.
Don’t take it with heartburn remedies. Antacids such as Alka-Seltzer and Bromo Seltzer can block the absorption. So can H2 acid reducers such as Tagamet, Pepcid, and Zantac.5
Some experts recommend vitamin D2, which is usually cheaper. But a study recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Research found that taking D3 is twice as effective as D2 in raising the blood levels of vitamin D.
Take B vitamins when you wake up before eating breakfast. An empty stomach helps the absorption of the B vitamins.
B vitamins can increase energy, giving you a morning boost. But if you take them late in the day, you may have trouble falling asleep.
Vitamin C is water soluble. This means your body does not store it. It gets flushed through your system quickly.
It’s best to take vitamin C in smaller doses throughout the day instead of one large dose. This keeps this important antioxidant at steady levels in your blood.6
Vitamins A, E, and K
Like vitamin D, these are fat soluble. So they are best taken with a meal to help absorption. You can take these supplements only once per day.
If you take vitamin E, consider taking it with selenium. It helps with vitamin E absorption.7
One more thing… Whenever you take your vitamin, be consistent.
Studies have found that those who stick to a daily regimen achieve better health benefits over the long haul than people who vary the timing of their supplementation.8