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Take your vitamins, but when?
January 13, 2011 3:16 PM   Subscribe

When should I be taking my multi-vitamin? When I wake up, before I sleep or some time in between?

I take one multi-vitamin a day and I am wondering if there are any benefits for taking it at a specific time. I don't take any other supplements so I am not worried about the spacing between different supplements, I would just like to know when the best time to take this one multi-vitamin is.

During the day I'm active, working, etc. so it makes some sense to take the multi-vitamin in the morning with my breakfast so that I have access to the vitamins it contains throughout the day.

But, during sleep is when the body does all its regeneration, and so it makes sense (to me) to take the multi-vitamin with my supper before I go to sleep.

Is there an actual better time to take this multi-vitamin or will it not matter, just as long as I am taking it with food?

I'm a healthy, 30-ish male if that helps.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm to Health & Fitness (24 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Multivitamins don't generally do anything if you're not vitamin deficient in some way, which you probably are not, so it doesn't really matter when you take it. Whatever time of day makes you feel the best, placeboously.
posted by Justinian at 3:37 PM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I take mine just after breakfast, but that's only because it's part of my morning routine. It doesn't make a bit of difference when you take them.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:48 PM on January 13, 2011


Your metabolism slows down when you're sleeping, meaning your body won't digest things as quickly or efficiently. I'd suggest taking your multi-vitamin with your morning meal, because that gives you the longest time to digest it while you're active. Also, taking a multi-vitamin at night might actually make it more difficult for you to sleep depending on what is in your vitamin (such as B vitamins).
posted by arnicae at 3:51 PM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does it suggest that you take it with food? Some vitamins are fat-soluble. I don't think your activity level will affect the absorption of the nutrients in the pill.
posted by Ideefixe at 3:57 PM on January 13, 2011


IANAD, I think I heard this on Oprah or something -
Most multis contain one days worth of vitamins etc, but your body can only process a certain amount at a time, so with the whole days value of vitamins taken all at once a lot of the goodness doesn't get absorbed into the body. I split mine in two and take half in the morning, half in the evening.
posted by Carlotta Bananas at 4:05 PM on January 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


No comment on whether you should take them or not, but here's a datapoint: Vitamin B keeps me awake as well as caffeine does. I learned a while back not to take multivitamins at night.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:12 PM on January 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


My multivitamin says to take it with food, so I take it right after dinner. I used to take it in the morning but that made me nauseated to the point of vomiting.
posted by muddgirl at 4:13 PM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


As a man (i.e. someone who will never be pregnant) the most health-relevant (only health-relevant?) component of that multivitamin to you is vitamin D. There was a recent study showing that serum vitamin D levels can be maximized by taking the supplement with your largest meal of the day.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:18 PM on January 13, 2011


(And, yeah, you probably are fine for vitamin D until you hit your 50s, but if you're deficient in anything, that would be it.)
posted by mr_roboto at 4:18 PM on January 13, 2011


Not right before bed. There's a little bit of evidence that multivitamins can disrupt users’ sleep.
posted by Ery at 4:22 PM on January 13, 2011


[comments removed - quit being jerks, answer the question, send offtopic discussions to email or metatalk. thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 4:28 PM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anecdotally, I have to take vitamins just before bed or else they make me nauseated to the point of throwing up. I've never noticed them disrupting my sleep.
posted by valeries at 4:58 PM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good question. The multi that I take, Purity's Perfect Multi, is supposed to be taken more than once a day. I take mine at breakfast and at dinner.
posted by brownrd at 5:03 PM on January 13, 2011


As a pregnant lady, the advice I got from my doctor was, "whatever time of day it doesn't make you throw up." So. Whatever time of day it doesn't make you throw up sounds best!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:10 PM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


As Ideefixe said, some vitamins are fat-soluble, so it's important to take the vitamin with some fat. If, for example, your breakfast consists of some cereal and low-fat milk, or toast with butter, they aren't going to have much fat, so lunch or dinner might be better.

Like muddgirl, I used to get nauseous when I took my vitamin with breakfast. My doctor recommended taking the vitamin with a larger meal - now I take it with dinner and never feel sick from it.
posted by LaurenIpsum at 5:13 PM on January 13, 2011


If iron makes you queasy, and your vitamins contain iron, taking them with food helps. Taking them with a hot drink (in my experience) makes it worse.

Otherwise, there are some foods that can interfere with the absorption of some vitamins. I think caffeine is one of these. Citrus, especially grapefruit, is another. I seem to remember reading about others. So if you take them with a meal, be careful about what you are eating. I don't take mine with breakfast precisely because of the grapefruit and caffeine issues.
posted by lollusc at 5:15 PM on January 13, 2011


Multivitamins at bedtime can equal some pretty freaky dreams. Up to you whether that's a feature or a bug.
posted by spilon at 6:18 PM on January 13, 2011


The main reason for the multi-vitamin is for the vitamin D. Being dark-skinned during a Canadian winter and spending 100% of the weekday daylight hours inside does not sound like a recipe for vitamin D to me.

I do take it with food but didn't really consider the fat/no-fat aspect so that's a good pointer. That being said, if I'm eating a meal, there's almost always going to be enough fat.

I like the idea of taking half in the morning and half at night. If one time is better than the other, at least I'll get half of that benefit (unless the best time is with lunch in which case I'm DOOMED). I'll try this out, provided I can break the suckers in half without the whole thing turning to dust.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 6:21 PM on January 13, 2011


any portmanteau in a storm: "The main reason for the multi-vitamin is for the vitamin D. Being dark-skinned during a Canadian winter and spending 100% of the weekday daylight hours inside does not sound like a recipe for vitamin D to me."

My doctor told me to take my Vitamin D with fat. (And in my case, being a dairy-loving, light-skinned, So. Cal beach resident is also a Vitamin D recipe fail!)
posted by Room 641-A at 7:29 PM on January 13, 2011


How much vitamin D can there be in that multivitamin? Probably nothing close to the thousands of IU you want to be taking. Take it whenever, and take an additional D supplement.
posted by bink at 8:06 PM on January 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Quite a few studies have failed to find any reason to take a multi-vitamin unless there's a diagnosed medical condition. The only beneficiaries are shareholders in pharmaceutical companies.

Chances are you actually do get enough vitamin D from UV light and from your diet, but fatty fish, mushrooms, eggs are natural sources. Many cereals are fortified with vitamin D. Or a vitamin D only supplement may be the best option. Fat soluble as everyone noted.
posted by wilful at 8:13 PM on January 13, 2011


Seconding that however much vitamin D is in your multivitamin is probably not enough, especially with the whole dark-skinned Canadian indoors thing.

So I suggest taking a plain vitamin D supplement.

Also, to my knowledge, vitamin D cannot be synthesized through windows, so despite what others have said, you are most likely not getting enough vitamin D, again considering the whole dark-skinned Canadian indoors thing.
posted by DeltaForce at 9:12 PM on January 13, 2011


I take mine in the morning so that I am not kept awake by the boost I get from the B vitamins in my particular multi. YMMV.
posted by patronuscharms at 11:21 PM on January 13, 2011


The multi has 800 IU of vitamin D in it, which is a more than sufficient dose as far as I can tell.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:23 PM on January 14, 2011


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