If you usually take your vitamins at night — because that’s when you finally remember to do it — you’re not alone. (Yup, I’m guilty of this!) However, you might be surprised to learn that there are certain times of the day that are best for different supplements, and by timing your doses accordingly, you’ll actually reap the most benefits from them.
When it comes to timing your vitamins, it’s important to consider how they could affect your sleep. Family physician Raixa Rivas, MD, doesn’t recommend taking vitamins at night, because “some can stimulate neurological activity and interfere with sleep, specifically B-complex vitamins.” Russell Cohen, MD, a dermatologist and advising physician for FlexIt, agreed that some supplements should be avoided before bed, but noted that others — such as magnesium — are actually best taken then, because of their soothing properties.
You might also be worried that taking supplements before bed will change the way they’re absorbed, but while some bodily processes — including digestion — do slow down at night, that isn’t necessarily cause for concern. According to Dr. Rivas, the breaking down of these nutrients depends on several other factors, including a person’s calorie intake, activity level, and age, which can translate to a slower metabolism. To a certain point, it might be more beneficial to look into these factors when thinking about how your body absorbs vitamins and supplements.
Your eating schedule is perhaps the most important thing to consider when timing out your vitamins. The main deciding principle? Whether the vitamins are fat- or water-soluble. “Water-soluble vitamins like vitamin B12, vitamin C, folic acid, and other B vitamins tend to be taken in the morning because they’re more likely to be better absorbed on an empty stomach,” Dr. Cohen explained. “Sometimes, splitting the dose throughout the day helps provide absorption that some people believe is better.”
On the other hand, “fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K are best absorbed right after meals,” Dr. Rivas told POPSUGAR. For this reason, it’s important to research whether your specific vitamins are fat- or water-soluble, and plan the times to take them accordingly. This will allow you to take advantage of all your vitamins have to offer, but it will also help you get in a consistent routine — and there’s perhaps nothing more important than that.