You can take most vitamins at any time of the day. But your body may absorb some nutrients better if you take them with a meal containing fat.
To function properly, your body needs 13 vitaminsTrusted Source — 9 of which are water-soluble and 4 of which are fat-soluble. While these nutrients are found in varying amounts in food, some people need to supplement with certain vitamins to meet their nutritional requirements. In this article, we shall determine when it is best to take vitamins.
The time you take your vitamins can sometimes determine their efficacy. While some vitamins work best when you take them first thing in the morning, others work better when you take them with a meal or just before bedtime.
Taking vitamins and multivitamins is a great habit to develop at any age. A wealth of research shows that vitamin and multivitamin supplements can improve your general health and well-being and help prevent nutritional deficiencies, which can affect your mental health.
So it’s guaranteed that taking vitamins and multivitamins benefits your health, but you may not know when to take them to get the best out of their benefits. This article discusses the benefits of taking some of the most common vitamins and the ideal time to take them.
Table of Contents
- 1 Multivitamins
- 2 B Vitamins
- 3 Vitamin C
- 4 Vitamin D
- 5 Vitamin A
- 6 Vitamin E
- 7 Prenatal Vitamins
- 8 Are All Vitamin Supplements Good for You?
- 9 How Can I Get My Child or Loved One to Take Their Vitamin Supplements?
Multivitamins contain both fat- and water-soluble vitamins. Multivitamins contain an array of vitamins hence the name.
One study noted that in the United States, between 40% and 50% of men and women over 50 take multivitamins. The study concluded that there might not be many benefits in taking multivitamins.
Another journal article noted that multivitamins (taken with iron and folic acid) benefit pregnant women because doing so can reduce low birth weight and miscarriage rates.
When to Take Multivitamins
If you do take or plan to take multivitamins, do so with a meal and drink a lot of water to allow for optimal absorption by your body.
B vitamins include a range of vitamins from B1 to B12 and folic acid. B vitamins are essential for the optimal functioning of many processes in your body. They help your body to form healthy red blood cells and get energy from the food you eat. B vitamin deficiencies have also been linked to poor mental health.
When to Take Vitamin B
B vitamins are water-soluble, so you can take them on an empty stomach. Most people are hungry upon waking up, so take your B vitamins in the morning along with some water.
Vitamin C, aka ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin. Vitamin C is essential for the repair of your tissues, skin, and bones. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb iron. Additionally, taking vitamin C can also help your body heal wounds more effectively.
Also, there’s an established link between vitamin C and your mood. Research shows that antioxidants in vitamin C can reduce anxiety levels and may even be able to prevent it.
When to Take Vitamin C
If you are not getting enough vitamin C from your diet alone (from vitamin C-rich foods like citrus fruits, berries, leafy greens, etc.), supplements ranging in dosage from 25 to 1000 milligrams are available. The ideal time to take vitamin C supplements is during mealtime.
Vitamin D, affectionately known as the “sunshine” vitamin because the sun is a major source of vitamin D, is necessary for several bodily functions.
Often, a vitamin D supplement is necessary for those who live in regions with very little sunlight or people with darker skin complexions. Melanin is a pigment in the skin and hair responsible for dark skin tones and hair. For people with higher amounts of melanin in the skin, it becomes more difficult for the body to synthesize vitamin D in the skin.
Aside from impacting your physical functioning, vitamin D sufficiency can significantly affect your mental health. Scientists have observed that in colder climates, people who don’t get sufficient sun exposure are prone to depression. People who are at risk of vitamin D deficiencies are more prone to developing depression and other mental health disorders.
Aside from sunlight, other vitamin D sources include:
- Orange juice
When to Take Vitamin D
There’s no consensus on the best time to take vitamin D. Many people believe that taking it during mealtimes is best. However, in a small study, on whether taking vitamin D with foods can aid the rate at which your body absorbs it, researchers found that people who took vitamin D supplements alongside low-fat meals absorbed it better.
Additionally, it’s not clear whether the time of day plays a factor in how well your body absorbs vitamin D. Research does show taking vitamin D at night can boost melatonin, which improves your sleep. This suggests that taking it at night instead of in the morning may be more beneficial for people with sleep disorders.
Vitamin A is one of the vitamins and micronutrients your body cannot produce. This means you must get it via food or supplements.
Vitamin A is vital for many processes in your body, including maintaining the health of your skin, eyes, and gut lining.
There are two forms of vitamin A, the form we consume through our diet and supplements are carotenoids. Some research shows that including carotenoids in your diet can reduce your risk of developing depressive symptoms.
When to Take Vitamin A
As a fat-soluble vitamin, it is best to take vitamin A with a meal, especially one that contains a portion of healthy fats. The recommended dietary intake for adults is between 700 and 900 micrograms.
Vitamin E, an antioxidant that aids in protecting your body’s cell membranes, can only be obtained from the foods you eat.
For example, you can add vitamin E to your diet via supplements or foods such as:
- Vegetable oils
- Sunflower seeds
- Peanut butter
Some research shows that low levels of vitamin E have been linked to depression and anxiety. While it’s unclear whether supplementation can help with managing symptoms of depression and anxiety, scientists are optimistic about its potential and are clamoring for further research into the possibility.
When to Take Vitamin E
It’s advisable to take vitamin E with a glass of water, preferably with food.
These vitamins are designed for people who are pregnant. Some of the most crucial vitamins for pregnant people are folic acid, calcium, vitamin D, iron, and vitamin A. Prenatal vitamins include a cocktail of vitamins necessary for you and your child’s well-being before, during, and after pregnancy.
Research shows that prenatal vitamins play a vital role in aiding the proper brain development of your child and reducing their risk of developing mental conditions.
When to Take Prenatal Vitamins
It’s essential to start taking prenatal vitamins when you begin trying to have a baby. You can take your prenatal vitamins at any time of day.
Are All Vitamin Supplements Good for You?
There are a number of people who rely on vitamin supplements to fulfill their daily nutritional requirements. While taking the recommended doses of vitamin supplements can be helpful, taking high doses is not only ineffective but can be harmful to your health.
An overdose of supplements containing vitamins B and K may only result in temporary side effects, however, supplements containing vitamins A, E, and D can cause serious adverse effects when used improperly.
If you’re experiencing serious effects, go to your nearest emergency room.
What About Chewable or Gummy Vitamins?
Chewable or gummy vitamins are an ideal option for people who either don’t like to swallow pills or don’t like the taste of vitamin supplements.
Taking chewable or gummy vitamins in place of traditional tablets is mostly safe and effective.
In a 2020 study, researchers compared the efficacy of vitamin C gummy sources with tablet sources. They found that there was no significant difference in the rate at which the body absorbed both forms, as such they are similarly effective.
Researchers also caution parents against using chewable or gummy vitamins to replace nutritional vitamin sources for their children, as a result of their appeal.
In one study, they observed a wide variation in the dosage of these types of vitamins depending on the supplement, which can be problematic. Many of these supplements also contain a higher dose of vitamins than the daily nutritional requirements for children. While taking your vitamins is beneficial, consuming them in excess could result in adverse effects.
How Can I Get My Child or Loved One to Take Their Vitamin Supplements?
It’s common for some people to have an aversion to vitamins. Some people may simply not enjoy the taste, and others could just be stubborn or forgetful.
It can be difficult to get your child to take their vitamins, so here are some ways you can help them do so:
- Mix it in with food: Some children are averse to taking vitamins because of the way they taste. Mixing in their vitamins with food is a great way to mask the taste. Foods like yogurt and pudding are great options.
- Help them understand: Children are capable of understanding a lot more than they are given credit for. If your child is resisting taking their vitamins, it might be helpful to sit them down and explain all the ways vitamins benefit their well-being.
- Make it fun: Your child is more likely to push back on taking their vitamins if they see it as a chore. Make the process fun by making a game out of it or taking it with them. You can also put in place a reward system, where your child gets to do something fun after taking their vitamins.
If you have a loved one or a partner(s) who does not take or forgets to take their supplements, here’s how you can help them:
- Help them make a schedule: For many adults don’t take their vitamins simply because they don’t remember to. Creating a schedule makes it easier to remember the exact days and times to take their vitamins.
- Explore different vitamin forms: If your partner is avoiding their vitamins because they don’t like swallowing pills, it can be useful to explore other forms of vitamins such as gummies or powders.
- Get organizational tools: It can be overwhelming going through numerous bottles when one wants to take vitamins. Organizational tools like pill boxes are labeled and split into sections that make it easy for your partner to identify their daily vitamins. They are also portable, making it easy to carry them around all through the day.