Vitamins are essential to life. Unfortunately, we lose some of the nutrients from our food every day, so it is important to make up for those losses by eating foods rich in vitamins.
However, the body can only use a certain amount of vitamins at one time. So, if you take too much of one vitamin, your body will have difficulty using it all up and excrete the excess through urine.
When taking vitamins, timing can be just as important as the vitamins themselves. Taking vitamins at the right time ensures optimal absorption and effectiveness.
Taking vitamins with a meal is generally recommended to enhance absorption and reduce the risk of stomach upset. However, some vitamins may be better absorbed on an empty stomach, such as Vitamin B12 and Vitamin C.
Many experts agree that taking a multivitamin with breakfast is the best way to start your day. Taking a multivitamin before bedtime may cause indigestion or nausea. Some people find that taking their multivitamins in the afternoon helps keep their energy levels high throughout the day without causing problems at night.
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But not all vitamins can be taken at any time during the day. Some vitamins should be taken before or after meals. Here is a list of different vitamins and when to take them:
- Vitamin A: Best time to take: Before breakfast. Taking vitamin A in the morning helps boost your immune system to fight off infections more effectively during the day. Vitamin A also helps maintain healthy vision, skin, and mucous membranes. It also encourages growth and development in children.
- Vitamin B Complex: B vitamins are best taken with meals, as they are water-soluble and can easily deplete on an empty stomach. This group of B vitamins can be taken at any time, but it’s best not to take them too close to bedtime because they may cause insomnia if taken before bedtime.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is best taken with food, as it can cause stomach upset if taken on an empty stomach. Best taken in the morning because it can cause drowsiness if taken too late in the day; it also increases skin cell turnover, so it’s best not to use this vitamin if you wear makeup as well as other cosmetics that could go bad due to increased activity in your skin cells.
- Vitamin D: When it comes to vitamin D, the best time to take it is any time of day. Vitamin D is fat-soluble and stored in your body’s fat tissues. You can take it any day without worrying about overdosing or running out before bedtime.
- Vitamin E: The best time to take vitamin E depends on what type of supplement you’re taking. If you’re taking a liquid form of vitamin E, take it with meals for maximum absorption. If you’re taking a pill form of vitamin E, however, don’t eat anything for an hour after taking it because the pill can interfere with the absorption of food and nutrients from your meal.
- Calcium is not one of the fat-soluble vitamins, but it needs to be taken with meals to be absorbed properly. Calcium supplements should be taken with food or at least one hour before or two hours after exercise. If you’re taking calcium citrate — the most common type — take 500 mg with food three times a day (for example, breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Take calcium carbonate (like Tums) with meals three times daily (for example, breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
- Iron: The best time to take iron is between meals when you’re not eating so that your stomach doesn’t interfere with its absorption into your bloodstream. Taking iron with food may decrease its absorption somewhat because vitamin C decreases its absorption, and vitamin E increases it.
- Multivitamins: If you’re taking a multivitamin, it’s best to take it in the morning or early afternoon. This will help ensure that your body absorbs all the tablet’s nutrients. Taking your multivitamin at night may not be fully absorbed before bedtime and could lead to headaches and nausea when you wake up.
It’s always best to check the label or consult a healthcare professional for specific recommendations on when to take a particular vitamin. It’s also important to note that you should not exceed the recommended dosage of any vitamin or mineral, as it can harm your health.