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It feels like supplements are everywhere these days, with more products available by the day. Now you can even get a personalized set of vitamins shipped directly to your door, with the help of an easy quiz. Once you decide to take supplements, however, what is the best time of day to take multivitamins? Luckily there is an answer to this question—and a simpler one than you might think!—thanks to the help of a few guidelines.
Should you be taking multivitamins?
As with most things related to your health, whether or not you need a multivitamin is based on a number of personal health factors. Therefore, a blanket yes or no answer won’t work. If you are wondering where to start, however, Serena Poon, a celebrity chef, nutritionist and Reiki master who founded Just Add Water and Culinary Alchemy, recommends visiting your physician to get a test of your vitamin and mineral levels.
“People who have conditions that affect nutrient absorption, the elderly and pregnant women are often recommended a multivitamin,” notes Poon. “If you are not in one of these communities, I do recommend visiting your doctor to test your vitamin and mineral levels. From there, you could identify certain foods or supplements that would support your health or even get your own custom multivitamin blend made. It is important to check with your doctor before starting any supplement program.”
Multivitamins aren’t always indicated, especially as Poon notes research shows no indication they help prevent or reduce certain health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease. Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, author of Radical Longevity, notes that taking a multivitamin can fill gaps in our diets, noting that with the abundance of processed foods that lack nutrition our body needs.
Should you decide to take a multivitamin, Dr. Gittleman recommends a “broad-spectrum product with key vitamins and minerals in highly absorbable forms” that contains the following:
- Chromium for healthy blood sugar support
- Iodine for thyroid support
- Vitamin D for immunity, brain, and bone health
- Alpha-lipoic acid for potent antioxidant support that crosses the blood/brain barrier
- Magnesium to calcium ratio of 1:1 or even 2:1 to optimize calcium absorption for strong bones and relaxed muscles
- Plant-based enzymes to help assure delivery of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients into the system
How should you take multivitamins?
Most experts recommend taking your multivitamins with a meal and keeping up hydration levels throughout the day. Dr. Gittleman explains taking them with food is ideal for better absorption and utilization of the nutrients at the cellular level, while hydrating is just a general health practice.
“You should always be aware of water intake as drinking plenty of water is key to good health overall,” adds Dr. Gittleman. “I recommend drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water because true hydration involves getting the water inside your cells. Properly hydrated cells are critical to the process of removing toxins from your body, in addition to cellular repair and reproduction.”
What’s the best time of day to take multivitamins?
If you and your physician do decide it’s best for you to take multivitamins, Poon advises there are a few factors you should consider when determining the best time of day to take multivitamins.
- Take your supplements at the same time every day. “[This] will help you form a habit around vitamin intake,” adds Poon. “Consistency is especially important if you have a deficiency.”
- Pair your multivitamin with a meal that contains some fat content. “[This] will support the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins,” Poon notes. “For example, taking your multivitamin at breakfast with a piece of whole-grain avocado toast could enhance your body’s ability to absorb fat-soluble vitamins.
- Consider medications you are taking. “If you are on medication, it is possible that your multivitamin would affect its efficacy, so you may need to space out consumption,” shares Poon. “It is always a good idea to check with your doctor before starting a supplement program, especially if you are on medication or are living with a diagnosed condition.”
Following these guidelines can help you determine whether or not you should take your multivitamins with breakfast, lunch or dinner.