I used to hate taking vitamins when I was little. My mother didn't buy the chewable kind that looked like cartoon characters and tasted like candy. No. She bought the horse-sized tablets that smelled like mothballs and tasted like chalk as they squeaked their way down your throat.

These days, however, I've come to appreciate vitamins.

I'm always interested in anything that can boost my immune system, increase my energy, and help me maintain a healthier lifestyle with minimal effort. Vitamins fit the bill. I've got it down to a science. I've figured out the best time of day to take specific vitamins to achieve optimum results.

A clock.

You see, there can be adverse side effects when you don't take vitamins at the best time. These side effects might range from improper absorption into the bloodstream, an upset stomach or even not being able to sleep at night. You, too, might have this problem if you take vitamins and you might not even know it.

Allow me to help! I've prepared a handy guide to the best time to take your vitamins so they enhance, rather than hinder your lifestyle.

B Vitamins

Fresh broccoli.

B vitamins naturally occur in foods like meat, dairy, and eggs. Also, vegetables such as soybeans, spinach, and broccoli. These vitamins include the obvious, with names starting with a B (such as B-12), but also:

  • Pantothenic Acid
  • Folic Acid
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Biotin

B vitamins can increase your energy. If you aren't getting enough of them in your diet, supplemental vitamins are a great option.

The best time to take your B vitamins is in the morning when that boost of energy will be welcome, rather than at night, when you're trying to sleep.

Additionally, it's best to take B vitamins before you have your breakfast. Your body has an easier time absorbing them on an empty stomach.

Vitamin C

Organges.

We all know that vitamin C comes from citrus fruit like oranges, grapefruit, lime, or lemons. It can also be found in tomatoes, broccoli, and herbs like thyme and parsley. Vitamin C is full of antioxidants and good for your immune system.

Vitamin C is not produced by your body, nor is your body able to store it, which is why many people take supplements to make sure their body receives the benefits vitamin C has to offer.

Like B vitamins, Vitamin C is best taken on an empty stomach. This could be any time of day, as long as it's 45 minutes before or 3 hours after you eat. We suggest taking your vitamin C in the morning as part of an established routine.

Vitamin A

A basket of fresh carrots.

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin found in dairy products, seafood, and liver. It is also found in a variety of fruits and vegetables including orange crops like carrots, winter squash, pumpkin, and apricots. You can also find it in dark, leafy, bitter greens such as spinach and kale.

Unlike vitamin C, vitamin A is stored in the liver for later use. In fact, our body is so good at storing vitamin A that you might be able to go without it for up to two years before symptoms of a deficiency develop.

Vitamin A is an antioxidant. It's good for vision and bone growth. It's also necessary to keep our body moist in the right places - namely our eyes, mouths, lungs, nose, and throat.

The best time to take vitamin A is in the evening with healthy fats like salmon, olive oil, and avocado.

Vitamin D

A pitcher and glass of milk.

Vitamin D is similar to vitamin A in that it is a fat-soluble vitamin. It can be found fatty fish like salmon, and dairy products are generally fortified with it. What's more, your body produces it on its own in conjunction with exposure to sunlight.

Vitamin D shares another thing in common with vitamin A. It is best taken at night with a delicious meal consisting of healthy fats.

Calcium

A cheese board.

Calcium is well known for its ability to strengthen our bones, teeth, and nails, but it's also good for our blood vessels and helps prevent our blood from clotting. Calcium is famously found in dairy products of every ilk and vegetables like turnip greens and kale.

If you're allergic to dairy and don't get enough calcium from other sources, supplements are probably in order. So, should you take your calcium in the morning or at night? The correct answer is both.

Your body most efficiently absorbs calcium if in smaller doses which means it will benefit you to take calcium supplements in two different doses. Once in the morning and once at night.

Iron

Steak topped with fresh parsley.

Iron is an important mineral. It delivers oxygen to our bodies. Without it, we're vulnerable to developing anemia which can lead to feeling tired, weak, and unfocused. Natural sources of iron include red meat, shellfish, spinach, and dark chocolate.

Iron supplements are most easily absorbed by the body on an empty stomach. A good rule of thumb is 45 minutes before you eat or 3 hours afterward. To simplify things, take your iron supplements in the morning with your B vitamins and Vitamin C.

Multivitamins

Fruits, veggies, and nuts.

Multivitamins are exactly what they sound like. Many vitamins and minerals concentrated into one tablet. They are extremely popular because they negate the need to take multiple vitamins ala carte. However, the downside is that a multivitamin nearly always contains a vitamin you don't need because of your diet and lifestyle.

If you do decide to take a multivitamin, they are best taken in the morning alongside breakfast.

Prenatal Vitamins

A harvest of fruits and vegetables.

Prenatal tablets are super multivitamins that help ensure pregnant women and their unborn babies receive the vitamins and minerals they need to flourish. These supplements are typically very strong and typically prescribed under the care of the doctor.

Many women report that the high doses of vitamins and minerals in prenatal vitamins make them feel nauseous and constipated. Many have trouble keeping them down if not accompanied by food.

Since many women experience morning sickness while pregnant, they should avoid taking prenatal vitamins before noon, or whenever those feelings dissipate.

The best time to take prenatal vitamins is with a healthy, hearty, lunch in the afternoon.

Magnesium

Fresh peeled shrimp.

Magnesium is an important contributor to bone health, cardiovascular function, and even energy production. It also relaxes our muscles and brings a feeling calm to the nervous system.

Magnesium can be commonly found in foods like shrimp, nuts, seeds, avocados, and leafy green vegetables.

Because magnesium promotes relaxation, supplements are best taken at night, before bed.

Potassium

Bananas.

Potassium is a natural electrolyte that helps regulate blood pressure, digestion, and cardiovascular rhythm, among other things.

It isn't produced by the body, which means it needs to be obtained from outside sources. Bananas are perhaps the best-known source of potassium, but it can also be found in plums, apricots, carrots, and potatoes.

Potassium can upset the stomach if it isn't taken with food. It is best taken in the afternoon, with lunch, just like you would do with a prenatal vitamin.

Fish Oil

Salmon topped with herbs.

Fish oil is an omega-3 fatty acid. Fish oil promotes healthy cardiovascular and kidney function. It is also believed to elevate your mood, increase energy and strengthen alertness. Omega-3 fatty acids are not naturally produced by the body. Fish oil is, unsurprisingly, found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. If you're not a fan of seafood, you can also find omega-3 fatty acids in nuts and seeds such as flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.

Fish oil is best absorbed with food. Due to its ability to boost energy, the best time to take fish oil is with breakfast in the morning.

Vitamin K

A bowl of brussel sprouts.

Vitamin K helps the blood clot and the skin heal from bruises and abrasions. It is naturally occurring in a wide range of green vegetables, including bitter greens such as broccoli and Brussel sprouts. It is also found in leafy green vegetables and asparagus.

Vitamin K promotes relaxation, which makes it an ideal vitamin to take at bedtime, however, it is best taken with food.

If you are prone to snacking before bedtime, take your vitamin K supplement before bed. If you don't like to eat in the later hours of the evening, take your vitamin K at dinner time instead.

Vitamins

It's important to choose your vitamin supplements carefully and to get them from natural food sources whenever possible.

What's more, it's important to know that taking excess amounts can be just as or even more harmful than having a deficiency. There is no specific dosage for vitamin and mineral supplements that could be deemed appropriate for everyone. Much depends on your diet, age, physical health and activity, and even other factors such as pregnancy or alcohol consumption. Therefore, your vitamin regimen should be planned in conjunction with your physician.

Once you determine what vitamin and mineral supplements would be the most beneficial and in which doses, knowing what time of day to take them will help you make the most of their benefits. Here's to a happy, healthy lifestyle!

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