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.
Nearly eight out of ten 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. Now is a great time to spring-clean your supplement habits and rethink how and when you take them. Here is the best time to take vitamins, and the effects different choices can have.
When is the best time to take 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
What other supplements you are taking
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.
Is it better to take vitamins in the morning or at night?
There is no catch-all best time to take vitamins, because the different nutrients that they contain 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 them.
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 release tension 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.
Taking 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.
Since multivitamins traditionally contain both water- and fat-soluble nutrients, these should be taken with a meal that contains fat.
Which vitamins should you take at the same time?
Bioavailability refers to how well your body can absorb the nutrients in your supplements. Some vitamins and minerals enhance and support each other’s bioavailability if they’re taken at the same time.
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.
Which vitamins should not be taken together?
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. 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.
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. 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. 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. 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 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.