A common question among those taking natural supplements on a daily basis is "When is the best time to take them?" If you are taking prescribed medications, it is a good idea to consult your doctor as occasionally a supplement may affect the efficacy of your medication if taken at the same time.
Here are helpful guidelines about taking vitamins and supplements:
Taking Vitamins at the Same Time Each Day
Many fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body for up to 24 hours making it important that you take supplements at roughly the same time each day to maintain a constant supply. This particularly applies to fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K which are often included in multivitamin tablets.
Taking Vitamins on an Empty Stomach
Generally it is not advisable to take supplements on an empty stomach as they will quickly be passed out in your urine without having time to be digested and do the most good. This is particularly true of vitamins B and C as they dissolve in water.
Taking supplements on an empty stomach can cause nausea and gastro-intestinal problems for some. The exception to the rule is if you are taking enzymes or amino acid supplements to lower inflammation as they work best on an empty stomach.
Taking Vitamins with Breakfast
Most people establish a regular regimen of taking their daily supplements with breakfast. It is a good habit to get into as it avoids them being forgotten and the food prevents them passing through the body too quickly.
Most naturally-sourced vitamins and minerals are present in food so it makes sense to take any additional supplements in the same way, as part of a meal. B vitamins are a source of energy and they promote metabolism so they are best taken early in the day to boost and maintain energy levels.
Fat-soluble vitamins are best taken with a meal that contains some fat. If your breakfast is totally fat-free, for example fruit, add a handful of nuts or some avocado to enable the vitamins to be fully dissolved and available to be digested.
Taking Supplements Throughout the Day
Some hard-to-digest minerals such as calcium are best taken in small but regular amounts
throughout the day. The body is unable to digest more than 500mg of calcium at any one time, so for those taking 1000mg in two tablets, consider taking one at breakfast and another with the evening meal for maximum benefit.
Magnesium promotes the relaxation of muscles, so it is better to take it in the evening when it can aid a good night's sleep.
Iron tablets are best taken separately as caffeine and tannins can affect its absorption. However, citrus fruits are particularly good for aiding iron absorption, so consider taking them with a glass of orange juice rather than water.
Take Supplements When it Suits You Best
The most important part of taking vitamins and supplements is taking them at all. Find a time when you will remember to take them, and if you find they are causing indigestion or nausea then try switching to other mealtimes to see if the problem improves.
Do you take your supplements and vitamins at a certain time of day?
Read other blog posts on this topic:
10 Best Natural Vitamin Supplements
Mineral Supplements – Are You Getting Enough?
Which Supplements are Best for Me?
The Importance of Reading Vitamin, Mineral and Supplement Labels
Is It OK to take Medicines and Vitamins Together?