For your body to function properly, it needs 13 vitamins, 9 of which are water-soluble and 4 are fat-soluble. Although these nutrients are present in varying amounts in foods, some people need to take supplements of certain vitamins to meet their nutritional needs. Usually, most vitamins can be taken at any time of the day. However, some vitamins are better absorbed under certain conditions, so it is a good idea to know how and when to take supplements to promote optimal absorption. This article explains how and when to take vitamins.
As its name suggests, water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water. Therefore, it is not necessary to take it with food to be absorbed. There are nine water-soluble vitamins, including vitamin C and eight B vitamins – B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B9 ( folic acid).) and B12 (cobalamin).
You need to consume water-soluble vitamins regularly because, unlike fat-soluble vitamins, they are not easily stored in your body tissues. On the contrary, excess water-soluble vitamins are excreted through urine.
When do you take water soluble vitamins?
Vitamin C plays many essential roles in your body. For example, it acts as a powerful antioxidant and is essential for immune health, as well as for the synthesis of collagen and neurotransmitters. There are several forms of vitamin C supplements, including ascorbic acid, ascorbic acid with bioflavonoids, fatty vitamin C, and calcium ascorbate. Ascorbic acid supplements have similar bioavailability to ascorbic acid found in foods such as fruits and vegetables. You can take a vitamin C supplement at any time of the day, with or without food, although taking ascorbic acid with food may help reduce potential gastrointestinal side effects from 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 because vitamin C is excreted in excess, doses above 1,000 mg are generally not necessary – except in certain circumstances, such as treatment with high-dose intravenous vitamin C.
B vitamins are sold individually or as a complex supplement that contains all eight of the B vitamins and is water-soluble. Since it is water soluble, you can take it with or without food and at any time of the day. However, B vitamins are often recommended 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 a vitamin B12 deficiency are advised to take a vitamin B12 supplement on an empty stomach with water to promote maximum absorption.
When do you take fat-soluble vitamins?
Unlike water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins depend on fats to be properly absorbed. Thus, it is generally recommended to take fat-soluble compounds with a meal containing fat.
Vitamin A deficiency is rare but more common in developing countries. Some populations are at greater risk of developing vitamin A deficiency due to increased requirements or decreased absorption. These include pregnant and breastfeeding women, 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 optimal absorption, vitamin A supplements should be taken with a meal containing fat, bear in mind that if you are following a well-balanced diet, taking a vitamin A supplement is usually not necessary.
Vitamin D is essential for immune function, bone health, cell growth, and more. Unfortunately, more than a billion people around the world 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 absorption of vitamin D was greater. 32% more in those who took a vitamin D supplement with a meal containing fat than in those who took it with a meal without fat. 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, and on the other hand, taking vitamin K along with vitamin D may benefit bone mineral density.
Vitamin E acts as a major antioxidant in the body and is essential for healthy circulatory and immune function. It is also a popular dietary supplement, although this nutrient is found in many foods and its deficiency is rare. However, people with certain conditions, including short bowel syndrome, cystic fibrosis, and Crohn’s disease, sometimes need to take a vitamin E supplement to avoid a deficiency.
It is generally recommended to take a vitamin E supplement with a meal. It may not be necessary to take vitamin E with a meal that contains fat, as long as you consume enough fat in 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 taking high doses of vitamin E supplements may lead to a higher 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 (menaquinone).
Vitamin K is essential 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 and malabsorption disorders, and in people taking medications that interfere with vitamin K absorption. You can take a vitamin K supplement at any time of the day with a meal or snack that contains fat. Because most people get enough vitamin K through their diet, high-dose supplements are not recommended, although these supplements are generally safe and not associated with 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 bone health and healthy calcium levels in the body. body
Multivitamins usually contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. Some people prefer multivitamins over individual supplements because they are convenient and can be less expensive. Although data on the long-term health benefits of taking a multivitamin are inconsistent, it is known that taking multivitamins can help fill nutrient deficiencies, especially in vulnerable groups such as the elderly and pregnant women.
Since these supplements usually contain both fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins, they are generally recommended to be taken with a meal. This may improve absorption of certain nutrients while reducing the risk of gastrointestinal upset, which can occur when taking multivitamins on an empty stomach.
If you are taking two or more tablets per day, consider splitting the dose to help your body absorb certain nutrients more efficiently. For example, take one pill with breakfast and one with lunch.
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