To function properly, your body needs 13 vitamins, 9 of which are water-soluble and 4 fat-soluble. Although these nutrients are found in varying amounts in foods, some people need to take supplements of certain vitamins to meet their nutritional needs. Normally, most vitamins can be taken at any time of the day. That said, some vitamins are better absorbed under particular conditions, so it’s good to know how and when to supplement to promote optimal absorption. This article explains how and when to take vitamins.
As their name suggests, water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water. It is therefore not necessary to take them with food for them to be absorbed. There are nine water-soluble vitamins, including vitamin C and the eight B vitamins – B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 (folate). ) and B12 (cobalamin).
You need to consume water-soluble vitamins regularly because, unlike fat-soluble vitamins, they are not easily stored in your body’s tissues. On the contrary, excess water-soluble vitamins are excreted through urine.
When to take water-soluble vitamins?
Vitamin C plays many essential roles in your body. For example, it functions as a powerful antioxidant and is necessary for immune health, as well as the synthesis of collagen and neurotransmitters. There are several forms of vitamin C supplements, including ascorbic acid, ascorbic acid with bioflavonoids, liposomal vitamin C, and calcium ascorbate. Ascorbic acid supplements have similar bioavailability to ascorbic acid found in foods like fruits and vegetables. You can take vitamin C supplements any time of the day, with or without food, although taking ascorbic acid with food may help decrease potential gastrointestinal side effects caused by its high acidity. Be sure to store vitamin C supplements in a cool, dark place, as this nutrient is sensitive to heat and light.
Also keep in mind that since excess vitamin C is excreted, doses above 1000mg are generally not needed – except in specific circumstances, such as during high dose intravenous vitamin C therapy. .
B vitamins are sold individually or as B complex supplements that contain all eight B vitamins. They are water soluble. As they are water-soluble, you can take them with or without food and at any time of the day. That said, B vitamins are often recommended to be taken in the morning due to their important role in nutrient metabolism and energy production. Additionally, some people may benefit from taking B vitamins on an empty stomach. For example, people with B12 deficiency are recommended to take B12 supplements on an empty stomach with water to promote maximum absorption.
When to take fat-soluble vitamins?
Unlike water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins depend on fat to be properly absorbed. Thus, it is generally recommended to take fat-soluble compounds with a meal that contains fat.
Vitamin A deficiency is rare but more common in developing countries. Certain populations are at higher risk of developing vitamin A deficiency due to increased requirements or reduced absorption. These include pregnant and breastfeeding people and people with cystic fibrosis. Most vitamin A supplements contain vitamin A derived from fish liver oil or in the form of vitamin A carotenoids, which are plant compounds that your body converts to the active form of vitamin A. To support For optimal absorption, you should take vitamin A supplements with a meal that contains fat. Keep in mind that if you eat a balanced diet, taking vitamin A supplements is usually not necessary.
Vitamin D is needed for immune function, bone health, cell growth, and more. Unfortunately, more than a billion people worldwide are deficient in this important nutrient. Vitamin D can be taken at any time of the day, and most of these supplements should be taken with meals or snacks that contain fat to ensure optimal absorption. For example, a study in 50 older adults found that vitamin D absorption was 32% greater in those who took a vitamin D supplement with a fat-containing meal than in those who took it with a fat-free meal. It is important to note that the activation of vitamin D depends on the presence of adequate levels of magnesium. Therefore, to maintain healthy vitamin D levels, be sure to get enough magnesium as well.
Also keep in mind that some fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamin E, can affect vitamin D absorption. On the other hand, taking vitamin K along with vitamin D may benefit bone mineral density.
Vitamin E functions as a major antioxidant in your body and is essential for healthy blood circulation and immune function. It is also a popular dietary supplement, although this nutrient is found in many foods and deficiencies are rare. That said, people with certain conditions, including short bowel syndrome, cystic fibrosis, and Crohn’s disease, sometimes need to take a vitamin E supplement to avoid deficiency.
It is generally recommended that vitamin E supplements be taken with a meal. It may not be necessary to take vitamin E with a meal containing fat, as long as you consume enough fat at subsequent meals. Keep in mind that while vitamin E is essential for good health, taking too much of it in supplement form may be harmful for some populations. For example, some research suggests that high-dose vitamin E supplements may lead to an elevated risk of prostate cancer in healthy men.
Vitamin K refers to a family of fat-soluble compounds that includes vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and vitamin K2 (menaquinones).
Vitamin K is needed for blood clotting, bone and heart health, and more. Clinically significant vitamin K deficiency is rare in adults, although it is more common in people with bleeding disorders and malabsorption, and in people taking medications that interfere with the absorption of the vitamin K. You can take vitamin K supplements any time of the day with a meal or snack that contains fat. Since most people get enough vitamin K through their diet, taking high-dose supplements is not recommended, even though these supplements are generally safe and not linked to significant side effects (28Trusted Source ).
However, vitamin K supplements may interfere with some blood-thinning medications. If possible, take vitamin K separately from the fat-soluble vitamins E and A. On the other hand, taking vitamins D and K together may be beneficial, as these nutrients work synergistically to promote healthy bones and healthy calcium levels in the body. your body
Multivitamins typically contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. Some people prefer multivitamins to single nutrient supplements because they are convenient and can be less expensive. Although data on the long-term health benefits of taking multivitamins is inconsistent, it is known that taking them can help fill nutrient deficiencies, especially in vulnerable populations like the elderly and women. pregnant.
As these supplements usually contain both fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins, it is generally recommended to consume them with a meal. This may improve the absorption of certain nutrients while reducing the risk of gastrointestinal upset, which can occur when taking multivitamins on an empty stomach.
If you take two or more pills a day, consider splitting the dose to help your body absorb certain nutrients more efficiently. For example, take one pill with breakfast and another with lunch.