Approximately 40 percent of Americans use vitamin or mineral supplements, according to an article published on the IDEA Health & Fitness Association website. Not everyone realizes, however, that when you take your supplements may make a difference, at least for some people. Generally, you can take them at whatever time is convenient for you, but you'll get more benefits if you take into consideration potential interactions and side effects.
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Benefits of Taking Vitamins in the Morning
Some people may find that taking multivitamins at night interferes with their sleep, causing them to wake up more often during the night and get less sleep overall. A study published in Sleep Medicine in December 2007 found that there was an association between multivitamin use and poor sleep, but this doesn't prove that the vitamins caused the sleep issues. If you feel taking vitamins at night interferes with your sleep, it may be better for you to take them in the morning.
Benefits of Taking Vitamins at Night
Some people may feel nauseous when they take multivitamins or supplements containing iron. This is especially the case with women who get morning sickness during pregnancy. In this case, it may be better to take your vitamins at night when you may be able to sleep through any adverse effects, according to MedlinePlus. Eating a small snack at the same time as you take your vitamin may also help limit this side effect, as can splitting your pill and taking half in the morning and half at night.
Vitamin Type Considerations
Multivitamins and the fat-soluble vitamins are best taken around mealtimes because the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K require a source of fat for absorption, and the iron in multivitamins is less likely to cause side effects, such as nausea, when taken with food. The water-soluble B vitamins and vitamin C don't necessarily need to be taken with food and should be well-absorbed regardless of whether you take them at night or in the morning.
Some vitamins and minerals interact with each other, with compounds in food or with medications, potentially interfering with their absorption. For example, iron and calcium shouldn't be taken together, and you should also avoid eating high-fiber foods or drinking coffee or tea when you take a multivitamin or iron supplement.
Check with your doctor to see if any supplements you're considering may interact with any medications you're on, as you may need to take the supplements at a different time or not at all to limit the risk of adverse effects.