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What is the best time to take your vitamins & supplements?

When you take vitamins, the time of day can play a larger role than you’d expect.

March 30, 2021
5 min read

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 are the best times to take vitamins, and what effect the differences can have.

Article breakdown

When to take your vitamins

The quality of ingredients isn’t the only thing that has an impact on your body’s ability to absorb the vitamins and minerals you take. There are many other factors, including:

  • 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.

The best time of day to take vitamins

Different nutrients have different effects on the body. So think about the benefits of the specific vitamins and minerals, then work out when you would like to enjoy these.

For instance, vitamin E is known for contributing to sleep. 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.

When should you take vitamins 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.

For example: 

So if you’re taking any of these, either as individual supplements or as part of a multivitamin, time it to get the most out of them.

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Taking your supplements with meals

Nutrients can either be water- or fat-soluble. Water-soluble nutrients will always be absorbed, however fat-soluble vitamins need to be timed with a fat-containing meal or snack. 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.

When to take specific vitamin supplements?

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 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. 

2. The best time to take zinc

Some nutrients, like magnesium, can reduce how well your body absorbs zinc, and can also throw off your body’s natural levels of the mineral. So, if you’re taking both magnesium and zinc in a day, it’s best to space them apart by at least an hour.

3. The best time to take vitamin B12

As vitamin B12, along with the rest of the B vitamins, has a big effect on your metabolism and energy levels, taking it in the morning means that you’ll receive the benefits all day long. And there’s no need to time it with a meal—an empty stomach is just as good.

4. The best time to take folic acid

Like vitamin B12, folic acid (also known as vitamin B9), is water-soluble, so there’s no need to take it alongside a meal. We’d suggest taking it in the morning, alongside other B vitamins, to experience the full effects.

5. The best time to take vitamin D

As vitamin D is fat-soluble, you’ll want to make sure that you take it along with some fat. This could either be with a meal, or with an oil like omega 3. There’s also some research that suggests vitamin D may have a disruptive effect on sleep in the hours after you take it. Therefore, we’d recommend avoiding taking a vitamin D supplement just before bed.

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The best time to take multivitamins

Multivitamins can be a bit tricky because they contain such a diverse array of nutrients, and in so many different 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.

The best time to take the Smart Supplement

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 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 say the best time for them to take the vitamins and minerals in the Smart Supplement is first thing 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.

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