Vitamins and when to take them

I know, probably an idiotic question, but I’m good at those. :o

Husband and I are having a disagreement. Regarding when I take my vitamins.

He says I have to take them in the morning before I eat or they won’t do anything.

I can’t take ANYTHING on my stomach for a few hours (at least) after waking up so I won’t do it.

I usually take my vitamins right before bed. Since they are pretty good tasking gummies, they’re like a little bedtime snack. Is there some reason that that’s bad that anyone is aware of? Neither of the bottles says they have to take them in the morning. It just says take them (Multivitamin and Vitamin D).

This is not making them ineffective, is it?

From a brief search it seems like relevant literature is saying vitamins absorbed into the body stays there for days. Even water soluble ones like vitamin C. No need to worry about time of day.

The bigger issue is timing versus food intake.

Some people’s tummy is real sensitive to vitamins just sitting there dissolving with no food to buffer the concentrated chemistry. Those folks will do better to eat vitamins near a meal. Whether a few minutes before or after is probably immaterial.

I’ve also found that I’m sensitive to certain buffers commonly used in multivitamins. Any variant of the bright red One-A-Day brand or an equivalent generic will roil my guts without food and still be unpleasant if taken with food. Other than that I’ve got the digestive system of a vulture; nothing fazes it.

Competing brands that aren’t bright red give me zero tummy discomfort with or without food. We had a thread on this a few years ago and I was far from alone in reporting sensitivity to the red multivitamins. If the OP has tolerance issues to any kind or brand of pills she might try a different brand with substantially the same active ingredients.
None of this should affect the vitamins’ benefit to the body; just how well you tolerate eating them.

I take mine at night before bed. I have done this for as long as I can remember. Seems to be working for me.

I’ve seen a lot of vitamin bottles say to take with food, presumably to counter upset tummy.

Ask your husband for a cite for his assertions. I bet he can’t provide one that says the only effective way to take vitamins is in the morning on an empty stomach.

Never take 'em – you’re just wasting money.

(Unless your doctor has actually prescribed them for you.)

This is what I was going to say. The answer to your question is “never”.

If you Dr has told you to take them for some reason, s/he will also advise when to take.

Depends on the vitamin/supplement.

Certain amino acids taken for mood have to be taken on an empty stomach to cross the blood brain barrier.

Certain vitamins are absorbed better with foods (mainly the fat soluble ones).

For others it doesn’t matter.

Once a week, if that. Only take vitamins if you suspect a nutritional deficiency in one or more of them. If you’ve been eating crap all week, take one or just eat a bowl or two of cereal each week. Even a lot of junk food uses enriched flour that has basic vitamins, so even then it may not be necessary. Otherwise you are wasting money and peeing the rest out. As long as you eat reasonably, you have enough. As said, even water soluble vitamins stay in your body for a little while and whatever isn’t absorbed is peed out. IANAD. But my blood-work always comes back fantastic, and I eat like shit a lot, no vitamins needed.
Edit: I take them every now and again, but just one or two multivitamins, to round out any nutritional gaps that may be present. Not really necessary though, more of a peace of mind thing.

Here is my strategy: I assume that I’m getting approximately all the right vitamins and minerals, in more-or-less adequate amounts, from my daily diet.

So I have a bottle of multi-vitamin-mineral supplement tablets – the kind that have 100% of just about everything, NOT the way-overkill megadose stuff – and I take one half of one those a day. Just to fill in any gaps or deficiencies.

The Dope take on vitamins has always seemed weird to me. Most vitamins don’t matter if you take a little too much, and most don’t have tests to see if you have enough. And our food is less nutritious per calorie and often lacking in vitamins. So I don’t see why it hurts to take vitamins. Just don’t waste your money buying expensive ones that don’t do any better than the cheap ones.

But, yes, time of day does not matter. There isn’t any vitamin that you don’t build up at least some levels of. Since we got our vitamins from food for most of our existence, of course there couldn’t be specific times. We are opportunistic omnivores–we can eat at any time.

The subject of how overused and not completely risk-free vitamins and other nutritional supplements are in this country, and how infrequently the American diet is actually lacking in vitamins (we are in general a culture of nutritional excess not of deficiency) has been beaten to death here. Make it a GD subject since it is neverending. And it’s not really the question the op is asking.

Wesley Clark’s response is most on point.

If for whatever reason you actually are someone who would benefit from a vitamin supplement then in general taking with a meal helps increase the absorption of the fat soluble ones and also otherwise avoid any upset stomach. From a more general perspective such also least poorly replicates how the body is evolved to get its nutrition: as part of complete real foods and meals.

The amino acid supplement one is a bit more complicated as such is not being done to remedy any deficiency but by those who believe that well above normal intake of specific amino acids may have some benefit for them. Theoretically at least there may be some competition for particular specific amino acid transporters and in those cases taking them on an empty stomach may aid in absorption … of course in some cases other amino acids around theoretically might aid absorption … and some amino acid supplements can trigger GERD and other GI upset so taking with a meal can avoid that.

In any case while the idea that for the typical American with the typical American diet gummy vitamins are effective for anything other than the manufacturer’s profit statements is weak indeed, the idea that they must be taken in the morning on a persistently empty stomach is particularly off and without merit.

Thanks everybody! My Doc has prescribed them, and while it very well could be a “placebo effect” kinda thing, I do feel better (in general) when I take them. So I suppose I’ll just keep on doing what I do and tell husband to put up or shut up. :slight_smile:

Again, thanks!!

If you doctor prescribed them then maybe you should ask the doctor that question?

Certain drugs should not be taken with calcium or iron, because the minerals can bind to the drugs and render them ineffective. This kind of thing is most common with tetracycline. Iron is absorbed better when taken with vitamin C; otherwise, the time of day or food doesn’t really matter. Taking supplements with food does reduce the chance of stomach upset.