Sticking to a plant-based diet that includes leafy green vegetables, lean meats, whole grains and healthy fats is the best way to meet your body's nutritional needs. Sometimes, though, that is just not possible, whether because of illness, morning sickness, loss of appetite from depression or just bad habits. Vitamin supplements can help fill in any gaps in your nutrition to keep you functioning at your best.
The best time to take vitamins is when it is most convenient and comfortable for your schedule.
Why You Need Vitamin Supplements
It is almost impossible to eat a perfect diet every single day, but it is also unlikely that you can figure out what vitamins you are missing just through guesswork. The only way to be certain is to take a blood test, but many people either don't have the time, the access to health care or the money to do so. Multivitamins provide a little bit of everything, so taking one benefits you by addressing as many common vitamin deficiencies as possible.
The best time to take vitamins, according to experts at North Dakota State University, depends entirely on what type of supplement you are taking, and on your own personal preferences.
The most common vitamin deficiency is that of vitamin D, according to Texas A&M Today. Your body produces vitamin D naturally in response to exposure to sunlight, but you can be deficient if you work the night shift, live in an area with long, dark days or simply avoid the sun due to concerns about skin cancer or visible aging.
Read More: 9 Ways to Help Avoid Vitamin D Deficiency
Taking Vitamins in the Morning
The best time of day to take a multivitamin is really any time you are having a meal, because vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble, meaning they should be taken with foods that contain a bit of fat to help your body process and absorb them. Good sources of fat at breakfast include eggs and avocado, according to the wellness experts at My Body+Soul. It is also important to drink a lot of water when you take a multivitamin to help dissolve it. This would obviously not be a good idea at bedtime, or you'll be up several times during the night.
Taking Vitamins at Midday
Some vitamins, such as calcium, not only tend to come in the form of huge, hard-to-swallow pills, but are absorbed more easily when taken in small doses. Shape recommends breaking or cutting 1,000 mg calcium tablets in half and taking one half with breakfast and the other half at lunch. According to Harvard Medical School, your total calcium intake should be between 1,200 mgs and 1,500 mgs per day for a woman and closer to 700 mgs per day for a man. Keep in mind that you are also getting calcium from foods, especially dairy foods, and don't overdo it.
Read More: Negative Side Effects of Too Much Calcium
Taking a Sleep Aid Vitamin
Taking vitamins at night can be very effective, especially if you are taking slow-acting fiber or supplements known to help you fall asleep, such as melatonin and magnesium. Melatonin is found in fruits, grains and meats, but if you prefer not to eat just before bed, it is also available in supplement form. Magnesium occurs naturally in beans, dark leafy greens, fish, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and in supplements. Magnesium works by reducing your levels of cortisol.
- Texas A&M Today: Do You Really Need to Take Multivitamins?
- North Dakota State University: Do You Need a Dietary Supplement?
- Body and Soul: This is the Best Time of Day to Take Your Vitamins, According to an Expert
- Shape: The Best Time to Take Your Dietary Supplements
- BT: Tired? The Vitamins and Minerals Your Body Needs to Help You Sleep Better
- Harvard Medical School: What You need to Know About Calcium
- Unilab: 5 benefits of Taking Multivitamins Daily