The Best Time to Take Vitamins and Supplements to Optimize Your Health

With the dawn of the information age, there are many resources available about vitamins, and it can be overwhelming. This article aims to help you understand the best time to take various vitamins and supplements.

Key takeaways:
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    Vitamin A is fat-soluble and best taken with a meal. Do not take it with Vitamin D.
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    The Vitamin B spectrum is water-soluble and best taken in the morning. Vitamin B12 should not be taken with Vitamin C.
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    Vitamin C is water-soluble. Avoid taking it with Vitamin B12 and try to avoid taking it with Vitamin E. Take it as it fits your daily schedule.
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    Vitamin D is fat-soluble. Do not take it with Vitamins E or A; try spacing them 2 hours apart.
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    Vitamin E is fat-soluble. Avoid taking Vitamin E with Vitamins D, K, A and C. Try taking Vitamin E in the evening with a snack.
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    Vitamin K is fat-soluble. It is especially important to consult your physician before taking Vitamin K, particularly if you are on blood thinners. Take Vitamin K 2 hours apart from Vitamins E and D.

Under normal conditions, most vitamins can be taken at any time of day. Some vitamins are better absorbed when taken with a meal or on an empty stomach, so it is good to know how and when to take your vitamins to optimize your results. It is also helpful to know if vitamins are fat- or water-soluble – that is, whether they dissolve in fat or in water.

Should the average adult or child take vitamins or supplements? This question has sparked endless debates. It is proven that supplements provide health benefits in specific situations. In pregnancy, folic acid helps reduce the risk of neural tube defects. Many children in developing countries do not get enough iron or vitamin A in their diet, so supplementation is beneficial.

The question remains – should average, healthy people take vitamins or supplements? There is no easy answer. It is a personal or medical choice best made with accurate information. While this article will discuss timing in the taking of vitamins and supplements, individuals should discuss the choice to add vitamins or supplements with their medical provider.

Vitamin A

Retinoids and carotene are also known as Vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for vision, and it also keeps skin healthy and acts as an antioxidant. The recommended dose is 900–3000 mcg daily. Too much Vitamin A can be harmful to bones.

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, and although there is no standard recommended time to take it, it might be better to take Vitamin A with a meal containing fats. Some studies have shown that taking Vitamin A and Vitamin D together is antagonistic, so it may be better to avoid taking these together. There are also negative interactions between Vitamin A and blood thinners.

The B spectrum

There are many B vitamins. All B vitamins help convert food to energy. It is best to take B vitamins in the morning, before or after a meal. B vitamins are water-soluble.

  • Thiamin is Vitamin B1. It is needed for healthy skin, nails, and hair and is critical to nerve function. Recommended daily dose: 1.2 mg .
  • Riboflavin is Vitamin B2. Recommended daily dose: 1.3 mg.
  • Niacin is Vitamin B3. Recommended daily dose: 16 mg.
  • Pantothenic acid is Vitamin B5. Recommended daily dose: 5 mg.
  • Pyridoxine is Vitamin B6. It plays a role in sleep, mood, and appetite. Recommended daily dose: 1.3–1.7 mg.
  • Folic acid is Vitamin B9. It should be taken regularly by women of child-bearing age who are interested in child-bearing.
  • Cobalamin is Vitamin B12. Gastric juices can destroy Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 should not be taken with Vitamin C. It is used to treat pernicious anemia, and it is best absorbed when administered by a physician as an injection. Recommended daily dose: 2.4 mcg.
  • Biotin is often sold as a “Healthy skin and nails” supplement. Most supplements contain 5000 mcg. Recommended daily dose: 30 mcg.

For more information on the benefits of the Vitamin B spectrum, please refer to the Harvard Health List of Vitamins.

Vitamin C

Ascorbic acid, also known as Vitamin C, has many benefits.Some potential benefits include bolstering the immune system and preventing cancers in the mouth and esophagus. Vitamin C masks have shown great benefits for skin.

Vitamin C is water-soluble. Vitamin C can be taken at any time of day; it should not be taken with Vitamin B12. The recommended daily dose is 90 mg. If you are a smoker, the recommended daily dose is 125 mg.

Vitamin D

Calciferol is Vitamin D. It is best known for helping form teeth and bones, and Vitamin D is necessary for calcium synthesis. The natural source of Vitamin D is sunlight. If you live in a northern climate or do not spend enough time in the sun, you might not get enough Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is fat-soluble. The recommended dose is 800 IU (international units) per day. For optimal absorption, Vitamin D should be taken with breakfast; Vitamin D should not be taken with Vitamin A. Vitamin D can also assist with absorption of a calcium supplement, but they do not have to be taken together.

Vitamin E

Alpha-tocopherol is Vitamin E. Vitamin E may aid in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin E protects Vitamin A and lipids from damage. A common misconception is that Vitamin E prevents wrinkles or slows the aging process. The recommended daily dose is 15 mg.

The best time of day to take Vitamin E is with the evening meal. Take 2 hours apart from Vitamin K and Vitamin D. Vitamin E works well with Vitamin C for skin care, but they should not be taken together.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K has medicinal use as a clotting agent. If you are taking blood thinners, you should collaborate with your physician to keep your Vitamin K intake consistent. Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin and is best taken with a meal or snack. The recommended daily dose is 120 mcg. Vitamin K should not be taken with Vitamin E and Vitamin D.

Always remember to consult your medical provider before starting any supplement or vitamin. The vitamin schedule can be tricky to juggle. Most vitamins are not on a time schedule, but evidence and common sense can dictate some optimal times and conditions to take certain vitamins. A daily multivitamin might be enough for the average healthy adult. Super Spectrim is a brand designed for optimal absorption.

It is a good idea to research foods that provide each vitamin, as natural sources are always the best way to reach your daily intake. The natural way to get your daily intake is always the best way.


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