If you take vitamin supplements, here’s a rundown of when to take them.
Your body needs 13 vitamins to function properly. It’s best to get the vitamins you need from your diet, but some people need more than what they get from food. This may be because of dietary restrictions (such as being vegan), not liking or having access to certain foods or because the body needs more of some vitamins than what is generally recommended.
When this occurs, you may decide to supplement with vitamins taken in pill, capsule or powder form. Not everyone needs to take vitamin supplements, and before you do, you should talk to your health care provider. Based on your health, dietary habits and other medications you take, your doctor may recommend specific vitamins or tell you to avoid others.
Most vitamin supplements can be taken at any time of the day but there are some vitamins that will be better absorbed depending on when and how you take them. Here’s a breakdown of different types of vitamins and when it’s best to take them.
Water Soluble Vitamins
These vitamins can be taken any time you want. Since they dissolve in water, it’s best to take them with a glass of water, but you can take them on an empty stomach or with food.
You need to regularly consume water soluble vitamins because your body doesn’t store them. If you take more than you need, the excess is excreted through your urine.
- Vitamin C
- B Vitamins
- B1 (thiamine)
- B2 (riboflavin)
- B3 (niacin)
- B5 (pantothenic acid)
- B6 (pyridoxine)
- B7 (biotin)
- B9 (folate)
- B12 (cobalamin)
You can take any of these water soluble vitamins at any time of the day, but it’s often recommended that you take B vitamins in the morning because they help with nutrient metabolism and energy production.
Fat Soluble Vitamins
These vitamins are best taken with meals or snacks containing fat, because the fat helps your body better absorb the vitamins. However, the time of day you take them doesn’t matter much.
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
Many people have no need to supplement with these vitamins in large doses. Taking too much of some vitamins can cause more harm than good. Additionally, some vitamins (such as vitamin K) may interfere with medications.
Since multivitamins contain an assortment of vitamins and minerals the body needs, they include both water and fat soluble vitamins. Taking these with a meal or a snack may improve absorption of some vitamins (the fat soluble ones), although you can take a multivitamin at any time. Taking a multivitamin with food may also reduce stomach upset.
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Date Last Reviewed: February 15, 2022
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Dietary Review: Jane Schwartz, RD