The Best Time to Take Multivitamins? (Morning or Night)

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: July 17, 2024
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Some tell you to take multivitamins early in the morning. Others advise you to take them just before you go to bed. So, how do you know which advice to follow?

Well, you can’t — not until you try both suggestions.

But I didn’t want you to experiment with supplements. That’s why I asked my go-to dietitian to share his wisdom on multivitamins with us.

Here’s the best time of day to take multivitamins.

Quick Summary

  • The optimal time to take multivitamins is in the morning, as this maximizes nutrient absorption throughout the day.
  • Water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C and B vitamins should be taken on an empty stomach with water, while fat-soluble vitamins are best taken with meals containing fats.
  • Water helps vitamin C and B vitamins dissolve more effectively, enhancing their absorption.
  • Personally, I've found that taking multivitamins in the morning not only aligns with scientific recommendations but also gives me a noticeable energy boost for the day.

When Should You Take Multivitamins?

hand view of a person holding a pill

Most of my doctor friends recommend taking multivitamins in the morning.

Why? Morning doses of vitamin C-rich multivitamins kickstart your day with essential nutrients.

Ascorbic acid in your morning routine fills nutritional gaps, ensuring you're at your healthiest.

Plus, your body absorbs these vitamins best in the morning, maximizing their benefits. Taking them later might reduce their effectiveness.

“Digestion slows down during sleep, so taking your nutrient supplement late at night would not be associated with an efficient absorption.”

- Jeffrey Blumberg, Professor of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University

On the flip side, B vitamins may overstimulate your brain and hamper sleep.

With that said, this rule doesn’t apply to all vitamins. Some can — and should — be taken later in the day.

Water-Soluble Vitamins

vitamin pills in stack

Water-soluble vitamins are the vitamins you need to chase down with water:

  • Vitamin C
  • B vitamins: Thiamine, B6, B12, biotin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and folic acid

In my experience, I found that it’s best to take such vitamins on an empty stomach with a glass of water.

According to a study by the National Institute of Health (NIH), water will help the vitamin C and B vitamins dissolve [1].

So, it makes the most sense to take those vitamins early in the morning, right before breakfast.

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

According to the NIH, fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins that are stored in fatty tissue and the liver [2]:

Fat-soluble vitamins don’t exit the body as easily as water-soluble ones. They may even build up to unhealthy levels in your body.

Since those vitamins need fat to dissolve, it’s best to take them after eating foods that contain fat. So, I usually take such vitamins later in the day.

Other Vitamins, Minerals, And Mixtures

bottle of grey capsules

Multivitamins are more than just vitamins; they often include key minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium. Let's break down these three:

  • Calcium: Essential for bone health, it's a common multivitamin component. Take calcium carbonate with food, but calcium citrate works anytime, meal or no meal.
  • Iron: A staple in women's multivitamins, iron is best absorbed on an empty stomach [3]. Try taking it first thing in the morning or two hours after a meal.
  • Magnesium: Great for sleep, bones, and heart health. Normally, take it with meals, but if it's for laxative use, an empty stomach is better.

Should You Take Multivitamins Before Or After Eating?

A woman holding an apple and a supplement

Multivitamins are a mix of water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins, plus minerals. Here's the lowdown:

  • Fat-soluble vitamins need some fat to dissolve properly. If your supplement's rich in these, take it with a fatty meal, not just a light breakfast.
  • Water-soluble vitamins, on the other hand, are best taken on an empty stomach with water, as meals can hinder their absorption.

The smart move? I recommend popping your multivitamins during or after breakfast, then chase them down with water. Even smarter? Separate your water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins for optimal absorption.

Should You Take Multivitamin While Fasting?

If you're into intermittent fasting, timing your multivitamin is key for max nutrient absorption.

Pop them with a meal during your eating window to boost absorption, thanks to dietary fats.

Or, pick a fasting-friendly multivitamin with water-soluble vitamins that don't need food. Remember, syncing your supplements with your fasting and eating schedule is a game-changer.

Should You Take Multivitamins, Anyway?

drinking vitamins with water

Despite what your parents have told you, multivitamins aren’t always necessary. Most people can get all the vitamins and minerals they need from a healthy diet.

A healthy diet means you’re consuming a lot of organic fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. If that’s the case, you probably don’t need a vitamin supplement.

However, you might need supplements if:

  • You don’t have a healthy, diverse diet.
  • You have vitamin or mineral deficiency.
  • You’re pregnant.
  • You’re older.
  • You take medications that deplete the body’s stores of vitamins and minerals.

You can also determine a vitamin deficiency by visiting your doctor. If he has reasons to suspect you lack some vitamins, he can order a blood test.

We did a review of the best multivitamins on the market. Find the perfect option for yourself.

FAQs

How Long Does It Take for Multivitamins to Start Working?

While multivitamins start working immediately after they’re consumed, you might have to wait several weeks to start noticing positive results. Seeing changes usually takes about 3 to 6 weeks [11].


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK218749/
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/iron-supplement-oral-route-parenteral-route/proper-use/drg-20070148
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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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