The best time to take vitamins
Not all vitamins and minerals play well with each other. Nutrient timing lets you get more out of your supplements.
Nearly eight out of 10 adults now say that they regularly take supplements—an all-time high. But even as supplement usage has soared, education about how to take them has lagged behind. It’s time to spring-clean your supplement habits and rethink how and when you take your vitamins and minerals. Here’s what to do, and what not to do, to maximise your supplements’ health benefits.
When to take vitamins for maximum absorption
It’s not just about what’s in your supplements (ie ensuring your supplements are made with pure, high-quality ingredients with no fillers or unnecessary additives) that impact your body’s ability to absorb the vitamins and minerals you take.
It’s also about:
The time of day
The time you took your other supplements
When (and what) you last ate
Every vitamin and mineral is different, but there are a few general nutrient timing principles that everyone should keep in mind.
Double up: nutrients that should be taken at the same time
Bioavailability refers to how well your body can absorb the nutrients in your supplements. And some vitamins and minerals enhance and support each other’s bioavailability if they’re taken at the same time.
Vitamin D and calcium
Vitamin B12 and folate
Zinc and copper
Iron and vitamin C
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Supplements with guidelines to keep an eye on
On the flip side, some nutrients reduce the bioavailability of other nutrients when taken together. You should time your intake so that you’re taking these a couple of hours before or after any other supplement.
1. The best time to take calcium
Your body can only absorb 500mg of calcium at a time. Yet the NHS recommends you take 700mg of calcium a day.
For the best results, split your daily dose and take your calcium at two separate times during the day.
2. The best time to take vitamin C
Large doses of vitamin C can block the absorption of some B vitamins.
Unless you’re taking it in a carefully measured dose (like what you’ll find in Heights’ Smart Supplement), time your vitamin C intake so that it is at least an hour before or after you take a B-complex vitamin.
3. The best time to take magnesium
Zinc reduces how well your body absorbs magnesium, and can also throw off your body’s natural levels of magnesium. So, if you’re taking both minerals in a day, it’s best to space them apart by at least an hour.
Timing your supplements with your meals
Unlike water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins need to be timed with a fat-containing meal or snack for maximum absorption.
Prominent fat-soluble vitamins include:
Always take fat-soluble supplements with food. It doesn’t have to be a full meal—a handful of nuts, or a glass of milk will more than suffice.
This is one reason why Heights wraps its vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin E in plant-based omega-3 oils. The natural fats in the marine algae oil support healthy absorption of the Smart Supplements fat-soluble nutrients.
Consider form and function
Consider the benefits that come with a specific nutrient, then work out when you would like to enjoy these.
For instance, magnesium is renowned for relaxing your central nervous system. To better utilise its calming properties, you can take it before bed to help you de-stress and enjoy a deeper night’s rest.
In contrast, B vitamins can have an energising effect. So take your B-complex supplements in the morning or early afternoon, when you need a boost.
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The best time to take multivitamins
Multivitamins are a bit tricky because they contain such a diverse array of nutrients, and in so many differing quantities.
Since they traditionally contain both water- and fat-soluble nutrients, you’ll want to time your intake with a meal that contains fat. This will support maximum absorption. It also reduces the risks of nausea and other gastrointestinal problems, which some people experience when taking a multivitamin on an empty stomach.
This is why Heights’ nutritionists and doctors formulated the Smart Supplement with carefully measured doses of each individual vitamin and mineral. We’ve only selected essential nutrients that work together for maximum absorption and don’t negatively affect bioavailability.
Every Smart Supplement dose is also wrapped in omega-3 fats, so you can take it with or without a meal, at a time of day that works for you.
However, most people prefer to take it in the morning so they can reap the benefits (such as improved focus, energy, and mood) all day long.
Try the Heights Smart Supplement. 20 essential nutrients in two capsules a day, whenever suits you. Learn more.