Dr. Kathleen Jones
How to Get Maximum Nutrients from Your Vitamins
Taking vitamins regularly is one of the simplest ways to improve your health, but figuring out which vitamins your body needs, which brands to buy from, and the best way to schedule your vitamins throughout the day can be a daunting process. Vitamins can technically be taken any time of day, but having a set vitamin routine will help you remember to take your vitamins regularly and make good habits for yourself. Knowing whether to take vitamins on an empty stomach, with a snack, or with a regular meal requires some extra knowledge and a bit of planning ahead.
Generally speaking, most vitamins are “water-soluble”, “fat-soluble”, or a combination of the two. Water-soluble vitamins like the B vitamins or vitamin C should be taken with a large glass of water on an empty stomach to ensure your body can absorb them. Iron supplements are also most effective when taken without food - especially dairy products, which can interfere with iron absorption. Taking your iron supplement with a glass of water or orange juice (the vitamin C will help your body absorb it more easily) is best. Other supplements best paired with water are probiotics, which are most effective when taken at least a half hour before eating. Taking these supplements right when you wake up, 30 minutes before a meal, or two hours after a meal will ensure your body is able to get the most nutrients possible from them. If you find that taking vitamins without food upsets your stomach, it is alright to take them with a snack - you will still get more nutrients than if you had not taken any vitamins at all.
Fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, or E can only be broken down when your body produces bile and pancreatic enzymes, so these vitamins should be taken with a snack or meal that includes a healthy fat like avocado, hummus, olive oil, nuts, or egg yolks. Regular multivitamins should be taken with a snack or meal because they contain both fat and water-soluble vitamins. Prenatal multivitamins are best taken with food for the same reason - and because having a snack or meal with your vitamins will help you avoid an upset stomach, which is more common during pregnancy. Magnesium supplements promote muscle relaxation and are best absorbed with food, so it’s a good idea to take them around dinner time.
When it comes to buying vitamins, it's important to know you're choosing pure, high-quality products from reputable companies. I strongly believe in the products I recommend to my patients, so you can have peace of mind knowing your wellbeing is in good hands. If you find yourself overwhelmed with the process of choosing vitamins or supplements, let me help!
I use a combination of blood testing and hair analysis to find out which supplements your body needs, and take what I learn from the data to create a personalized vitamin routine for you. Schedule a virtual consultation with me today to learn more.
Heger, Erin. 2021. The best time to take vitamins and supplements for maximum absorption, according to nutritionists. Insider. https://www.insider.com/best-time-to-take-vitamins
Watson, Kathryn. 2018. When is the Best Time to Take Vitamins? Healthline.