We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.
Healthline only shows you brands and products that we stand behind.Our team thoroughly researches and evaluates the recommendations we make on our site. To establish that the product manufacturers addressed safety and efficacy standards, we:
- Evaluate ingredients and composition: Do they have the potential to cause harm?
- Fact-check all health claims: Do they align with the current body of scientific evidence?
- Assess the brand: Does it operate with integrity and adhere to industry best practices?
You can take most vitamins at any time of the day. But your body may absorb some nutrients better if you take them with a meal containing fat.
To function properly, your body needs
While these nutrients are found in varying amounts in food, some people need to supplement with certain vitamins to meet their nutritional requirements.
Normally, most vitamins can be taken at any time of day. That said, some vitamins are better absorbed under special conditions, which is why it’s good to know how and when to take a supplement to promote optimal absorption.
This article explains how and when to take vitamins.
As the name implies, water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water. As such, you don’t need to take them with food for them to be absorbed.
You need to regularly consume water-soluble vitamins because, unlike fat-soluble vitamins, they’re not readily stored in your body’s tissues. Instead, excess water-soluble vitamins are
There are several forms of vitamin C supplements, including ascorbic acid, ascorbic acid with bioflavonoids, liposomal vitamin C, and calcium ascorbate.
Ascorbic acid supplements have a
You can take vitamin C supplements at any time of day, with or without food, although taking ascorbic acid with foods can help
Make 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 excess vitamin C is excreted,
B vitamins are sold individually or as B complex supplements that contain all eight B vitamins.
Because they’re water-soluble, you can take them with or without food and at any time of the day. That said, it’s often recommended to take B vitamins in the morning due to their important role in nutrient metabolism and energy production.
What’s more, some people may benefit from taking B vitamins on an empty stomach. For example, it’s recommended that people with a B12 deficiency take B12 supplements on an empty stomach with water to promote maximal absorption.
Water-soluble vitamins are not readily stored in your body, so you must consume them regularly to maintain healthy levels. Water-soluble nutrients can be taken with or without food and at any time of day.
Unlike water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins depend on fat for proper absorption. Thus, it’s generally recommended that you take fat-soluble compounds with a meal that contains fat.
Vitamin A deficiency is rare in the United States but more common in developing countries.
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 into the active form of vitamin A.
To promote optimal absorption, you should take vitamin A supplements with a fat-containing meal.
Keep in mind that if you eat a balanced diet, taking vitamin A supplements typically isn’t necessary.
Vitamin D can be taken at any time of day, and most of these supplements should be taken with fat-containing meals or snacks to ensure optimal absorption.
However, some vitamin D supplements aren’t affected by what you eat. For example,
Also, keep in mind that certain fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamin E, may affect vitamin D absorption. On the other hand, taking vitamin K alongside vitamin D may
It’s also a popular dietary supplement — even though this nutrient is found in many foods and
That said, people who have certain medical conditions, including short bowel syndrome, cystic fibrosis, and Crohn’s disease, may have to supplement with vitamin E to
It’s typically recommended that vitamin E supplements are taken with a meal. However,
This means it may not be necessary to take vitamin E with a fat-containing meal as long as you consume enough fat at subsequent meals.
Keep in mind that even though vitamin E is essential to health, taking too much in supplement form could cause harm in certain populations.
For instance, some research suggests that
Clinically significant vitamin K deficiency is rare in adults, although it’s more common in those with bleeding disorders and malabsorption conditions, as well as in people taking medications that interfere with vitamin K absorption.
You can take vitamin K supplements at any time of day with a meal or snack that contains fat.
Because most people get enough vitamin K through their diet, it’s not recommended to take high-dose supplements unless a healthcare provider recommends doing so — even though these supplements are
Nevertheless, vitamin K supplements may interfere with certain anticoagulant medications. If you’re taking these medications, consult your healthcare provider before taking vitamin K.
If possible, take vitamin K separately from the fat-soluble vitamins E and A. On the other hand, taking vitamins D and K together can be beneficial, as these nutrients work synergistically to
Fat-soluble vitamins play many important roles in your body. Check with your healthcare provider if you have questions about supplementing with these vitamins, as they may not be appropriate for everyone.
Multivitamins typically contain a variety of vitamins and minerals.
Some people prefer multivitamins over single-nutrient supplements because they’re convenient and can be less expensive.
Although data on the long-term health benefits of taking a multivitamin is inconsistent, it’s known that taking them can help fill nutrient gaps, particularly in vulnerable populations like
Because these supplements commonly contain both fat- and water-soluble vitamins, it’s typically recommended to consume them with a meal.
This may enhance the absorption of certain nutrients while reducing the risk of gastrointestinal upset, which can otherwise occur when taking a multivitamin on an empty stomach.
If you’re taking two or more pills per day, consider splitting the dose to help your body absorb certain nutrients more effectively. For example, take one pill with breakfast and one with lunch.
If you have questions about dosing or how to take your vitamin supplements, consult your healthcare provider for advice.
Taking a multivitamin with a meal may help enhance the absorption of certain nutrients and help decrease your risk of digestive issues.
Your body absorbs and stores nutrients in different ways. This should be considered when taking single-nutrient supplements and multivitamins.
For example, some nutrients are better absorbed with meals, while others can be taken on an empty stomach.
If you have questions about dietary supplements, your healthcare provider can provide information on proper dosing and recommend relevant supplements based on your specific health needs.