When is the best time to take vitamins to maximize their effectiveness? Find out the answer to this and more below.
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In this article:
- Do You Really Need to Add Vitamins to Your Daily Routine?
- Which Vitamins Are Best Taken in the Morning?
- Which Vitamins and Minerals Are Best Taken at Night?
- Can You Take Different Vitamins at the Same Time?
- Do Vitamins Expire?
- What’s the Best Way to Store Vitamins?
- What Should You Keep in Mind When Buying Vitamins?
Should You Take Vitamins at All?
Do You Really Need to Add Vitamins to Your Daily Routine?
Research reveals that in most cases, vitamins are neither beneficial nor harmful for people who take them regularly.
It’s important to take caution, though, should you decide to include vitamins in your daily routine. In some instances, they may cause side effects when combined with over-the-counter or prescription drugs.
Taking too many vitamins may also result in other health consequences. For example, vitamin C at high intakes may cause:
- gastrointestinal upset
- diarrhea, and
- abdominal cramps
Experts also warn pregnant women to be cautious when choosing vitamins and other supplements. High levels of vitamin A, for instance, may cause congenital defects.
The best way to get vitamins and minerals is through your diet. They recommend adding nutrient-dense foods to your regular nutrition such as:
- green leafy vegetables
- low-fat meats
However, some still believe that vitamins help to fill the nutritional gaps in an unbalanced diet. If you are taking regular prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs, though, it is best to consult your doctor before taking supplements.
Which Vitamins Are Best Taken in the Morning?
B vitamins such as B12 are water-soluble, which means they are not naturally produced or stored by the body. After your body absorbs the amount of vitamins it needs, it gets rid of the rest through urine.
Since these vitamins are not stored in the body, it makes sense to get them from supplements. The best time to take vitamins B12 and other water-soluble vitamins is first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
Here are some facts to take note:
1. Water-soluble and B vitamins
These are known for their energy-boosting and stress-busting abilities. This is why it’s ideal to take them in the morning to kick off your day.
2. Vitamin C a.k.a L-Ascorbic Acid
Like B vitamins, vitamin C is also water-soluble. This nutrient is naturally found in nutritious foods like kale, broccoli, kiwifruit, and papaya.
If you are not getting enough of this nutrient through your diet, vitamin C supplements can help. Most doctors advise splitting the dosage (large doses of vitamin C like 1,000 milligrams or more) since it may cause:
- abdominal pains in some people
- mild rash
- nausea and vomiting
Reminder: If you have a more sensitive stomach, you can take vitamin C in buffered forms.
3. Taking Vitamin C and B Vitamins at the same time
Vitamin C may also interfere with the absorption of B vitamins, so it’s best to take them separately. Experts say the best time to take vitamins C (250 milligrams) is in the morning after breakfast and after lunch.
Which Vitamins and Minerals Are Best Taken at Night?
Doctors commonly advise pregnant women to take a folic acid supplement or other prenatal vitamins for one full year before giving birth. In some cases, they advise taking prenatal vitamins at a particular time of the day.
The best time to take vitamins for expecting moms, though, depends on their pregnancy symptoms. For instance, some prenatal vitamins increase a woman’s feeling of nausea.
If this is the case, you can consider taking the vitamin at bedtime. Here are some vitamins that are ideally taken before going to bed:
- Magnesium supplements promote sound, healthy sleep, it is ideal to take them close to bedtime.
- Melatonin is the hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles. While some grains, fruits, and vegetables contain small amounts of this hormone, you can also take melatonin supplements for better sleep.
- Iron supplements help with restless leg syndrome. Taking these supplements before bedtime may help sufferers to sleep much easier and better at night.
Can You Take Different Vitamins at the Same Time?
Taking different vitamins at the same time normally doesn’t affect potency and may even be beneficial in some cases. Vitamin C, for instance, improves iron absorption.
However, your gut may find it difficult to absorb different nutrients, especially if you take them in high doses. If you’re uncertain which vitamins and minerals to combine, it’s best to seek professional advice.
Do Vitamins Expire?
Yes and no. While vitamins have an expiration date, this doesn’t mean they are unsafe to ingest.
However, this may affect their potency, especially when vitamin supplements are consumed way past their expiration date. Typically, vitamins have a two-year shelf life.
In a nutshell, see to it that you know the expiration date of your vitamins. If you consume it way past its expiration, you may not get the potency you’re looking for.
What’s the Best Way to Store Vitamins?
You should keep your vitamins in the containers they come in and store them in a cool, dry place. While your bathroom and kitchen are easy options, they are the worst storage locations.
Compared to other rooms, these two accumulate more humidity and heat. As much as possible, keep them in a cool, dry area such as a bedroom drawer or a linen closet.
Remember, though, certain supplements are less stable when kept in an area with room temperature. You can store in a refrigerator to help extend their shelf life the following:
- fish oil
- vitamin E
- probiotic supplements
What Should You Keep in Mind When Buying Vitamins?
While nothing can replace a well-rounded diet, vitamins prove to be a good option to address nutritional gaps. It’s important to take note of these reminders, though, before adding them to your diet.
1. Watch out for unregulated supplements.
Be careful of unscrupulous manufacturers, and make sure to buy only from credible sources. Also, watch out for supplements that have unrealistic or ambitious claims.
2. Do not overdose.
If you think you’ll feel better faster by popping more pills, you are mistaken.
As mentioned earlier, vitamins taken in high doses may cause adverse effects. Stick to the recommended dosage advised by your doctor.
3. Consult with your doctor.
When it comes to your health, don’t forget to pick your physician’s brain. Let them know about the medications you’re currently taking, the diet that you’re observing, and any health conditions that you have.
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There is limited evidence on the effect of vitamin supplements to one’s health. In fact, some vitamins may cause adverse health effects when taken in high doses.
In a nutshell, if you’re uncertain whether vitamins are for you or not, seek professional advice. Also, try your best to eat a well-balanced diet, sleep at least eight hours per night, and practice regular exercise to stay healthy.
Have you taken any of these vitamins? Did you notice any significant effect on your health? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!