Let’s face it: most people don’t have perfectly well-rounded diets. But that’s all right since most folks can take vitamins and supplements to support their overall nutritional needs. Of course, vitamins won’t make up for unhealthy eating habits, but they can do wonders to fill in the nutritional gaps. 

However, many people wonder when the best time to take a vitamin is or whether taking a vitamin at a particular time will affect its absorption rate in the body. Let’s break down this question in more detail and take a look at the optimal time for vitamin absorption based on the type of vitamins you take. 

Why Does Timing Matter When Taking Vitamins?

If vitamins are something that your body needs to be healthy, why does it matter when you take them?

Vitamins work in vastly different ways based on their mineral content and how they interact with your body. Furthermore, your body has a daily physicochemical cycle, so certain vitamins are more or less effective based on when they are absorbed by your body’s tissues and organs.

It’s important to note that there aren’t any specific recommendations for taking vitamins at special times, such as “precisely at 2 o’clock in the afternoon”. However, there are generally better times of day when you should take certain vitamins if you want to get the best results.

Let’s break down the best time to take vitamins based on vitamin type.

When to Take Water-Soluble Vitamins

Water-soluble vitamins are those that can dissolve easily in water. Our bodies can’t produce or store any water-soluble vitamins, which means we have to consume them regularly from foods like broccoli and other vegetables or other parts of our diets.

Water-soluble vitamins include vitamin C and the majority of the class B vitamins.

Ultimately, you can take vitamin C supplements any time of the day, as well as eat any vitamin C-rich foods, such as oranges and other citrus fruits. In fact, because the body doesn’t store vitamins like vitamin C, you should make sure your body gets plenty of these vitamins periodically throughout the day.

Taking B Vitamins

As mentioned, B vitamins are a subclass of water-soluble vitamins. These can improve your energy and play a key role in a variety of bodily functions and processes. B vitamins include thiamin, riboflavin, biotin, folic acid, and vitamin B 12.

You can often find supplements that contain multiple B-type vitamins at once. This is totally safe, but you should take B vitamins shortly after waking up, so you benefit from their energy-boosting effects. That way, your body will benefit from the vitamin content, and you’ll get a slight boost to your energy and motivation to start your day off right. 

By the same token, avoid taking vitamin B supplements right before bed, as they may disrupt your sleep cycle and make it harder to catch those z’s.

When To Take Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Fat-soluble vitamins are the opposite of water-soluble vitamins. They’re easy to dissolve and store in fat, which is why the human body can store fat-soluble vitamins for later use. Of course, we can also overdose on fat-soluble vitamins if we aren’t careful, so you should only take fat-soluble vitamins in the recommended amounts.

Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K. All of these vitamins can dissolve in oils, so your best bet is to take your fat-soluble vitamins alongside your meals. That way, your body can easily absorb the vitamins in the oils and fats of your food, allowing for faster absorption.

When To Take Prenatal Vitamins

Prenatal vitamins are a special vitamin category only taken by women who are pregnant. Prenatal vitamins provide the woman’s body with extra vitamins and minerals both for her health and for the health of her fetus.

There’s some evidence to suggest that taking between 0.4 and 0.8 mg of folic acid in the form of a daily supplement can improve conception chances, so women who want to become pregnant may also opt into taking prenatal vitamins.

Pregnant women or women looking to become pregnant should try to take prenatal vitamins with food. That’s because prenatal vitamins can induce nausea and indigestion if they are taken on an empty stomach. 

Furthermore, any woman looking into a prenatal vitamin should talk to her doctor before starting one. That’s because there are tons of prenatal vitamins to choose from, and each contains a different collection of nutrients and ingredients. Each pregnancy is different and may require different vitamins or minerals for success.

Naturally, women should not take double doses of prenatal vitamins in an attempt to boost the viability of their unborn babies, either.

The Best Time To Take a Vitamin

No matter which vitamins you’re currently taking, the best time to take a supplement is when you can add it to your schedule regularly. There are tons of people who start a multivitamin regimen or who try to take a specific vitamin for a nutritional goal, only to fall off the plan after a few days.

That may be because they don’t stick to their plan or take their vitamin at a manageable time every day. A vitamin doesn’t do anything for your body if you don’t regularly take it and let it build up over time.

Some of the best times of day to take vitamins regularly, so you don’t forget, include:

  • In the morning, with your breakfast
  • In the evening with your dinner
  • At a set time in the middle of the day when work may be slowing down, and you can rely on an alarm

Summary

All in all, the best time to take vitamins depends on the vitamin itself and when is best for your schedule. Remember, it doesn’t matter how good your vitamin is. It’s worthless, if you forget to take them! So the best time overall is when you can make sure that you remember to pop your supplement or eat it alongside your meal.

Be sure to check out Dr. Livingood’s huge selection of supplements and vitamins if you want to boost your fitness or reach optimum nutritional goals. 

Dr. Livingood, yes that is his real name, is the Founder of drlivingood.com natural health site and also the founder of Livingood Daily. He has authored two Amazon #1 Best Selling Books Livingood Daily and Make Food Simple. In 2007 after nearly losing his father to health conditions, Dr. Livingood was prompted to find a health care system to save his father’s life. Where medicine failed Dr. Livingood discovered solutions that got his father off 15 medications and overcame major heart and autoimmune conditions. As a Doctor of Natural Medicine and DC he now serves thousands of people in Morrisville, NC, and millions through his online and media presence. Dr. Livingood, his wife Jessica, and three kids spend their lives leading people nationally and locally in the hopes that others can experience real health.

Sources

Folic Acid Supplementation for the Prevention of Neural Tube Defects: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement (pubmed.ncbi.nim.nih.gov)

Vitamin C Benefits, Sources, Supplements, & More (webmd.com)

Fat-soluble vitamins: Types, function, and sources (medicalnewstoday,com)

Article Pregnancy and prenatal vitamins (webmd.com)