You’re getting ready for bed, but you can’t sleep. You feel like you’ve forgotten something very important, but can’t remember what it is… and then it hits you. You forgot to take your multivitamin again. Now you’re wondering if taking it so late at night is a good idea… well, not really… So, when is the best time to take vitamins? Morning, afternoon, evening? Scroll down to find out!
Why is it important to know when to take vitamins?
Different vitamins have different absorption rates. As you’ll learn in the next section, most essential vitamins dissolve in water. A few others, on the other hand, need fat in order to be fully utilized by the body.
Ideally, we would all like our multivitamins to be fully absorbed and used, so we can enjoy its health benefits (it’s why we’re supplementing in the first place, right?).
Want to know what happens to vitamins that don’t get absorbed? Well, they end up as expensive wee, which means you’re literally flushing vitamins down the toilet. This is why it’s really important to know when the best time is to take your vitamins!
What are the 13 essential vitamins?
Essential vitamins are important for the body to carry out its full range of normal functions like cell growth, metabolism, nervous system function, immunity, and more! But our bodies can’t produce them, so we need to take them from external sources like food and dietary supplements.
These are the 13 essential vitamins our bodies need:
- Vitamins A, C, D, E, and K
- Vitamin B Complex – B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12
The 2 essential vitamin classifications you need to know about
It’s important to understand the differences between these 2 vitamin classifications, so you’ll know when to take each type:
1) Water-soluble vitamins
Taking water-soluble vitamins every day is necessary. Why? Because these vitamins aren’t stored in the body (well, except for vitamin B12 which is stored in the liver). So, you need to take these continuously if you want to benefit from them.
Does this mean water-soluble vitamins aren’t efficiently absorbed by the body?
Well, no. You see, the body will only absorb the amount it needs. Anything in excess is disposed of. If you’ve taken multivitamins before, you may have noticed your pee turning yellow? These are the water-soluble vitamins getting washed out of your system.
These are the 9 water-soluble vitamins and their recommended daily values:
|Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)||90mg||75mg|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)||1.2mg||1.1mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||1.3mg||1.1mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||16mg||14mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)||5mg||5mg|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||1.3mg (below 51) – 1.7mg (over 51)||1.3mg (below 51) – 1.5mg (over 51)|
|Vitamin B7 (Biotin)||30mcg||30mcg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folic acid)||400mcg||400mcg|
|Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)||2.4mcg||2.4mcg|
When is the best time to take water-soluble vitamins?
Water-soluble vitamins are best taken on an empty stomach. Since they don’t require food (unlike fat-soluble vitamins), you can generally take them at any time. However, many people find that taking B vitamins at night makes sleep challenging.
This isn’t surprising at all since B vitamins are known for their energy-boosting properties. It’s usually recommended to take B vitamins in the morning, ideally right after waking up or before eating breakfast.
But is it okay to take them with food?
Yes, it’s fine. Some people experience digestive issues when taking vitamins (even water-soluble ones) on an empty stomach. If you experience this, feel free to take your vitamins with food.
2) Fat-soluble vitamins
As the name suggests, fat-soluble vitamins need fat to help the body absorb them. This means this group of vitamins need to be taken with food.
Unlike its water-soluble cousins, excess fat-soluble vitamins don’t get flushed out. Instead, they are stored in the liver and fatty tissues. It is therefore important to take only the recommended dosage for this type of vitamin. Otherwise, it may do more harm than good in the long run.
Here are the 4 fat-soluble vitamins and their recommended daily values:
|Vitamin A (Retinoids and beta carotene)||900mcg or 3000IU||700mcg or 2,333IU|
|Vitamin D (Calciferol)||15mcg for 31-70 years old, 20mcg for 71+ years old||15mcg for 31-70 years old, 20mcg for 71+ years old|
When is the best time to take fat-soluble vitamins?
To ensure absorption, these 4 vitamins should be taken with food that contains fat. It doesn’t have to be super fatty or oily, a little bit of fat will help. You can take this anytime during the day as long as it’s taken with food, so snack time or mealtime will do.
What about multivitamins? Should you take them?
People take multivitamins for a variety of reasons. Many do it because they only want to take 1 multivitamin pill instead of 13+ individual vitamins and minerals. Others want to save a bit of cash.
It’s difficult enough to remember to take one or two pills a day, imagine taking 13 or more! Multivitamins are also a more economical option. However, the downside to taking multivitamins is that they’re quite huge in size.
For a lot of people, it’s literally a tough pill to swallow and a choking hazard, too. Fortunately, some multivitamins now come in easy-to-break tablets, so it’s easy to divide into two halves for easy swallowing.
When’s the best time to take a multivitamin?
Most multivitamins in the market contain a combination of (1) water-soluble vitamins, (2) fat-soluble vitamins, and (3) dietary minerals like zinc, iron, magnesium, iodine, potassium, etc.
If taking individually, these will have to be taken at different times. However, since these are all bundled in one pill, the best time to take a multivitamin would be in the morning, preferably with food. So, breakfast, brunch, or lunch. Dinner may be a bit too late, especially if your multivitamin includes B vitamins. You may have trouble sleeping if you take it late in the day.
When is the best time to take prenatal vitamins?
Just like regular adult multivitamins, the best time to take prenatal or pregnancy multivitamins is in the morning, with food. Or you can also take it right before a meal or whenever your doctor recommends.
And as promised, here’s the bonus:
If you’re looking for a high-quality prenatal vitamin, check out our Intelligent Labs Women’s Prenatal Pregnancy Multivitamin! It contains 25 essential vitamins and minerals, including Active vitamins B6 (P-5-P), B12 (Methylcobalamin), and B9 (5-MTHF). Each bottle will also last you a good 60 days!
Here are 10 things you must know about our prenatal product. We offer free shipping on all orders and if you choose the recurring option, you also get a huge discount (plus, you never have to worry about running out)!
Now that you know when the best time is to take your vitamins, don’t forget to take it! After all, what good is a vitamin if you don’t take it, right? What about you? What kind of vitamins or multivitamins do you take? Let us know in the comments below!