Best Time To Take Vitamins: What You Should Know Beforehand
Vitamins Can Supply Your Body With Vital Nutrients
While a healthy, whole food-based diet may be the best way to get the nutrients that your body needs, vitamins and other supplements may be extremely helpful, too. In addition to getting plenty of nutrients from whole foods, you can add supplements to your diet to help support your body with what it may need if you find that you’re unable to meet all of your body’s requirements with your regular diet.
Vitamins are naturally-occurring compounds that your body either produces on its own or gets from food.
Your body needs a wide array of different vitamins in small amounts for optimal health. Vitamins, along with minerals, are often called micronutrients. In contrast to macronutrients – carbohydrates, fat, and protein – which your body needs in larger amounts each day, you only need a few milligrams (mg) or micrograms (mcg) of most vitamins on a daily basis. In contrast, your body needs grams of almost all of each macronutrient – carbohydrates, fat, and protein – for optimal nutrition.
There are two categories of vitamins: fat-soluble and water-soluble.
Fat-soluble vitamins are best absorbed by your body in the presence of fats, so if you take fat-soluble vitamins as supplements, you may want to do so with a snack or meal containing healthy fats. On the other hand, this doesn’t apply to water-soluble vitamins which are handled differently in the body.
Both fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins can be found in foods and supplements, but some vitamins, like the water-soluble vitamin B12 and the fat-soluble vitamin D3, are harder to find in plant-based foods. But there’s still good news — if you’re striving to maintain a plant-based or vegan diet, fortified foods can be a great choice for supporting vitamin B12 and vitamin D intake while appropriate sun exposure can also help with vitamin D levels. If these methods don’t provide you with the necessary intake, including a high-quality multivitamin, like MaryRuth's liquid multivitamins, may help you avoid becoming deficient in these while sticking with your plant-based diet.
MaryRuth's liquid multivitamins offer you a variety of essential nutrients, including vitamin B12 and vitamin D. These two nutrients are often lacking in a vegan diet, so it's important for vegans to ensure they’re getting adequate intake in one form or another. Fortified foods can be a great choice for supporting vitamin B12 and vitamin D intake while appropriate sun exposure can also help with vitamin D levels. If these methods don’t provide you with the necessary intake, including a high-quality multivitamin may help you avoid becoming deficient in these while sticking with your plant-based diet.
What Are Fat-Soluble Vitamins, and When Should I Take Them?
These vitamins behave differently than their water-soluble counterparts. Fat-soluble vitamins can be stored up in your body for long periods of time, whereas water-soluble vitamins tend to be washed out of the body relatively quickly.
As stated earlier, your body best absorbs fat-soluble vitamins in the presence of fats, so if you take fat-soluble vitamins as supplements, you may want to do so with a snack or meal containing healthy fats.
Be particular about not consuming too much of these vitamins, as excess fat-soluble vitamins tend to be stored more by the body as opposed to water-soluble vitamins, where excess tends to be washed out more quickly.
Below are the four fat-soluble vitamins:
- Vitamin A is essential for eye health, and is involved with a number of other important functions. You can get vitamin A from a wide variety of plant-based foods, including carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, pumpkin, apricots, spinach, and more.
- Vitamin D supports immune function and bone health. There are two forms, or subtypes, of vitamin D – D2 and D3. D3 is the form of vitamin D that’s made in the skin in response to sun exposure. Many people, especially vegans, choose to take D3 in supplement form, as it tends to be lacking in a vegan diet.
- Vitamin E is a well-known antioxidant that helps to protect your body from the harmful effects of free radicals, which are naturally formed through metabolism, but can be present in the body through other means. In addition, vitamin E is beneficial to the immune system. Vitamin E can be found in sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, spinach, broccoli, and more.
- Vitamin K helps to prevent excessive bleeding by promoting blood clotting. As a clotting agent, vitamin K can support the natural process of wound healing and keep you from bleeding too easily. You can get vitamin K from a variety of plant-based foods. Your body also produces this nutrient in small quantities.
What Are Water-Soluble Vitamins? When Should I Take Them?
There are two primary categories of water-soluble vitamins – B-complex vitamins and vitamin C. Your body cannot produce water-soluble vitamins on its own, so you'll need to get the nutrients listed below from dietary sources and/or supplements.
As to the best time to take these vitamins, what may be most important is that you try to get the recommended amounts of these every day since the body tends to get rid of these vitamins from the body more quickly than it does fat-soluble vitamins. You should still avoid taking too much of these vitamins, though.
- Vitamin B12: This vitamin is essential for your optimal health. It supports cognitive function, your body's creation of DNA, and the formation of red blood cells. Vitamin B12 is mostly only found in animal-based foods, making it a nutrient that those who adhere to a plant-based diet may need to take as a supplement.
- Vitamin B6: This B vitamin plays an important role in neural development, amino acid metabolism, and more. Unlike B12, B6 is present in multiple plant-based food sources.
- Biotin: Biotin is often referred to as vitamin H or vitamin B7, and limited research suggests that biotin supports healthy hair, skin, and nails and may support the healthy development of a baby in its mother's womb. And, like vitamin B6, Biotin can be found in a variety of both plant-based and animal-based foods. Biotin also helps your body metabolize fatty acids, glucose, and amino acids.
- Folate: Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is used by the body to help in the formation of DNA and RNA as well as in other important reactions. You can find vitamin B9 in plant-based foods, including leafy greens like spinach and kale.
- Niacin: Niacin, or vitamin B3, helps you maintain a healthy metabolism. Plant-based sources of vitamin B3 include peanuts, lentils, and fortified grains.
- Pantothenic Acid: Vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid, also helps to keep your metabolism functioning optimally. One of the best plant-based sources of vitamin B5 is avocado.
- Riboflavin: Vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin, is found in mushrooms, fortified cereals, and spinach. This B vitamin plays an important role in energy production.
- Thiamine: Vitamin B1, or thiamine, is another B vitamin that contributes to a healthy metabolism. It's also found in plant-based foods, including white rice, black beans, and sunflower seeds.
Vitamin C is another water-soluble vitamin that your body cannot produce on its own. This essential nutrient serves several important roles within your body, including:
- Helping your body produce collagen, one of the most important proteins for the health of your skin, bones, teeth, and more
- Helping your body’s natural healing process
- Supporting your immune system
- Promoting iron absorption
You can get vitamin C from plenty of plant-based dietary sources.
What About Probiotics?
Along with vitamins, probiotic supplements may make a positive addition to a healthy diet.
Probiotics contain living cultures that may support your gut microbiome. There are billions of tiny living microorganisms inside of your gut, and supplementing with a probiotic may be beneficial to your overall health.
When Should I Take Sleep Supplements?
If you are taking supplements to help you get a good night’s sleep, there isn’t necessarily one specific time that is best to take your supplement. Every person’s body metabolizes differently, and different sleep supplements also do different things for you. We recommend speaking to your doctor to determine which supplement may be best for you to support healthy sleep, and then, with your doctor’s approval following the suggested use for the product you choose to use.
MaryRuth’s Liquid Nighttime Multimineral was formulated with minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients that may help support relaxation and regulate normal sleep — but some customers enjoy taking it at different times for their body!
Warnings and Tips For Vitamin Safety
Taking vitamins can be a great part of a healthy diet and lifestyle. However, it’s always important to be smart and safe when introducing new supplements into your diet.
Follow these tips and guidelines to keep yourself and others safe when taking vitamins:
Talk to your doctor before starting to take any new supplement. Your doctor can provide insight and guidance regarding how and when to take any new vitamins you are incorporating into your daily wellness routine. A medical professional can also advise you about any potential interactions that new supplements might have with any medications that you currently take. Some supplements can interact with certain prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, and even other supplements, so it’s best to consult with your doctor whenever adding supplements into your daily routine to avoid potential side effects.
Keep vitamins away from children and pets. It’s always wise to store vitamins and supplements somewhere out of reach of young children and pets.
Don’t substitute supplements for a healthy diet! When you start taking vitamins, it can be tempting to be negligent with your eating habits. It’s easy to think, I take vitamins now, so I have all the nutrients I need. I don’t need healthy food! However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Although vitamins may help to fill nutritional gaps, they can’t make up for an unhealthy diet that neglects nutritional value in the first place. Diet is key! Pairing your supplement regimen with a healthy diet that is full of whole, nutrient-rich foods is best.
Please pay attention to the Upper Limit that’s been established for each of these vitamins if you think you may be approaching more than you should consume in one day. The Upper Limit is the highest amount considered likely to pose no risk of adverse effects in all people; ULs are age-dependent.