When Is the Best Time to Take Vitamins?

Many people want to supplement their diets with vitamin and mineral supplements to increase health and well-being. You might wonder if there's an optimal time of day to take specific supplements. Some supplements are best taken with a meal that contains some fat. Others may help you sleep better when taken shortly before bedtime.

Therefore, the best time for you to take your vitamins will depend on exactly which vitamins you're taking and the health effects you hope to gain from them.

Basic Guidelines

There are a few basic guidelines to follow to get the most out of the vitamins or supplements that you take. Remember to communicate with a healthcare provider about supplement use and seek personalized advice if you are uncertain about the best way to take them.

Types of Food

Some people find that vitamins and minerals can cause upset digestion and even diarrhea if taken on an empty stomach. Therefore, it's generally better to take vitamin and mineral supplements with a meal unless a healthcare provider advises you differently.

To complicate matters further, specific vitamins need to be combined with a meal containing some fat calories. That's because they're "fat-soluble," meaning they only dissolve—and are adequately absorbed by your body—when you take them with some fat.

Therefore, taking your vitamins in the morning with an essentially fat-free breakfast (perhaps fat-free cereal topped with skim milk) could defeat the purpose of consuming the vitamins.

Time of Day

The time of day can also make a difference in getting the most out of your vitamin or mineral supplement.

Vitamins that may be better when taken in the morning include:

  • Certain B vitamins
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D

Vitamins and supplements that may be better when taken in the evening, close to bedtime, include:

  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin B-3 (niacin)

Here's a rundown of the best times to take specific vitamins and minerals, the best time to take multivitamins, and which supplements should be taken along with some fat calories.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A helps to maintain your vision, organs, and reproductive system. There's no evidence that it's better to take vitamin A in the morning or the evening, so take your vitamin A supplement whenever it's most convenient for you.

Vitamin A and beta-carotene are fat-soluble, so take them with a source of fat. Many manufacturers of vitamin A supplements recommend taking the products with a meal.

B Vitamins

B vitamins—which include thiamine, folic acid, and riboflavin—help your body function properly and stay healthy. When your levels of certain B vitamins are too low, you might be more tired than you should be. Confusion and anemia can also occur in severe cases, depending on which B vitamins you lack.

Most people take B vitamins as a group, either in a multivitamin capsule or in a specific B vitamin supplement.

B Vitamins and Sleep

There's some evidence that specific B vitamins can interfere with sleep. But different B vitamins may have different effects.

Vitamin B-6

Also called pyridoxine, this vitamin may cause vivid dreams and may improve your ability to remember dreams. Researchers in a small preliminary study gave college students very large doses of vitamin B-6 over five days and found their dreams were more vivid, colorful, and bizarre than usual.

You should be able to avoid this problem by taking vitamin B-6 in the morning.

Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B-12 helps your body produce energy, and anecdotally. a few people have reported that taking it in the evening makes them too energetic to fall asleep easily. If you take vitamin B-12 at the same time as your other B vitamins in the morning, you should be fine.

Vitamin B-3

It's possible that niacin, also known as vitamin B-3, may help you fall asleep. Anecdotal evidence indicates that taking a high dose helps some people fall asleep more easily.

However, it would be best if you didn't drink alcohol when also taking niacin since alcohol can accentuate niacin's effects, such as flushing. Since you're more likely to enjoy an alcoholic beverage in the evening than in the morning, this may complicate your analysis.

You may be better off taking B vitamins in the morning. But if B vitamins as a group don't seem to bother your sleep and it's more convenient for you to take them in the evening, that should also be fine.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps your immune system function more effectively and plays a vital role in helping protect your cells from the dangers of free radicals. It's water-soluble, so you don't need to take it with a meal. The recommended daily amount is 75 milligrams for adult women and 90 milligrams for adult men.

However, some people find vitamin C, especially in larger doses, can upset their stomachs and cause diarrhea. Taking this supplement with a meal can help, and taking a buffered type of vitamin C also can help if you find your digestive system is bothered by it.

Vitamin C can help your body absorb iron better, so if a healthcare provider has recommended you take extra iron, you should take your vitamin C at the same time, regardless of what time of day that occurs.

Vitamin C and Sleep

Anecdotally, a few people have reported that larger doses of vitamin C have interfered with their sleep. There's no objective medical evidence for this, but if you're concerned about it, you can take vitamin C in the morning and cut back your dose.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, the "sunshine vitamin," serves many roles in your body. It helps keep your immune system in good shape, it works in conjunction with calcium to build your bones, and your nerves use it to carry messages.

Your body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to the sun. But because you risk getting skin cancer from excessive sun exposure, you may need to supplement vitamin D if your levels are low.

Vitamin D is best taken with a meal that contains some fat. However, that meal can be breakfast, lunch, or dinner since there's no evidence that vitamin D absorption is better or worse at any particular time.

Vitamin D and Sleep

At least two studies have considered whether taking larger doses of vitamin D can interfere with sleep, regardless of when those doses were taken.

One study published in 2013 found that women with multiple sclerosis taking high levels of vitamin D—4,370 IU, or upwards of seven times the recommended daily intake—had lower melatonin levels in their blood. Women taking 800 IU per day didn't see that effect, and the study didn't evaluate sleep quality, so it's challenging to draw complete conclusions.

Another study published in 2016 found that older women who were trying to lose weight and taking 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily because they were deficient saw their sleep quality deteriorate. The study concluded that this level of vitamin D supplementation could result in poorer sleep quality among post-menopausal women who were already deficient in vitamin D.

It's difficult to say whether you're better off taking vitamin D in the morning or later in the day, although some people report anecdotally that they have better luck with a morning routine. Regardless, very large doses might interfere with sleep, no matter when they're taken.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E protects your cells from damage, boosts your immune system, and helps to widen blood vessels and prevent blood clots. Deficiencies can cause nerve damage, vision problems, and a weakened immune system.

Take vitamin E with a fat-containing meal. There's no evidence that taking it at any particular time of day is better or worse for your health.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K helps your blood clot. It also assists in building strong bones, may protect you from cancer, and fights diabetes by improving your body's sensitivity to the hormone insulin.

Take vitamin K with a meal that contains fat. There's no research showing a "best" or "worst" time of day to take your vitamin K.


You've probably heard that calcium builds strong bones and that many people don't consume enough. Adults and children four and older need between 1,000 and 1,300 milligrams of calcium daily. Many people (especially those who don't drink much milk or eat calcium-supplemented foods) don't get that much.

There are different types of calcium and different recommendations for how to take them. Calcium citrate (a common form of calcium in supplement products) can be taken by itself or with a meal. Calcium carbonate (a less expensive supplement) needs the help of stomach acid to break it down, so it's best taken with food.

Your body won't absorb more than 500 milligrams of calcium at a time. So you should divide your dose throughout the day, especially if a healthcare provider has recommended you consume a larger dose daily.

Also, you shouldn't take calcium at the same time as an iron-containing multivitamin or magnesium since your body might not absorb it as well.

However, some research published in 2014 indicates that calcium may help you fall asleep, and many supplement products combine calcium and magnesium into one (often very large) pill. You'll need to decide (in consultation with a healthcare professional) what's best for you.

Finally, calcium supplements can interfere with certain medications, including some types of antibiotics, medicines for osteoporosis, blood pressure medications, antacids, anti-seizure medications, and cholesterol medications.

In some cases, taking calcium can mean your body absorbs more of the medication, while in other cases, your body may absorb less of the medication. Therefore, talking with a healthcare provider about how your prescribed medications might interact with calcium (or any other supplement you take) is critical.


Magnesium is a mineral that works in your body to regulate nerve function, control blood pressure, and build bone (in conjunction with calcium). Most people get enough magnesium, but magnesium deficiency can cause nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue, and weakness.

Magnesium can be hard on your digestive system and may cause loose stools. The popular constipation remedy Milk of Magnesia contains 1,200 milligrams of magnesium hydroxide, which usually is enough to produce a bowel movement within six hours.

If you find magnesium seems to be causing you to have loose stools, try cutting back on your dosage. A dose of 100 milligrams may be enough for you.

Magnesium is best taken at night because it promotes sound, healthy sleep. In people who suffer from leg cramps at night, magnesium also may help to alleviate that problem.


Multivitamins combine what researchers consider the most essential vitamins and minerals into one easy-to-take daily pill (or, in some cases, several daily pills). It's common for multivitamins to include vitamin C, some or all B vitamins, vitamins A, D, E, and K, plus minerals such as zinc, selenium, and copper.

The use of multivitamins has dropped over the years as more people started to take individual supplements, such as vitamin D. However, according to a study published in JAMA in 2016, nearly one-third of Americans still took daily multivitamins as of 2012.

Many people take a multivitamin in the morning, especially if they have other morning medications. Some of the vitamins in it are most likely fat-soluble, so you should consume them with a snack or meal.

Take your multivitamin with food or meal that contains some fat. Some larger multivitamin supplements can cause stomach upset if taken on an empty stomach.

More research is needed to determine how multivitamins affect your sleep, if they do at all, and whether the time of day you take them can impact this. There just isn't enough information to recommend avoiding multivitamins at night, so you can take them whenever you find it most convenient.

We've tried, tested, and reviewed the best multivitamins. If you're in the market for a multivitamin, explore which option may be best for you.

A Word From Verywell

Vitamin and mineral supplements can't help you if you don't remember to take them. Therefore, the best time to take your vitamins is when you will most likely remember to take them. Many people make taking their vitamins part of their morning routine, and this should work fine, provided your breakfast contains some fat calories.

Talk to a healthcare professional if you're confused about what vitamins and minerals to take and when to take them. They can help you determine which supplements you should take and talk to you about the best time to take them. In addition, you should always let a healthcare professional know if you take any over-the-counter vitamins, minerals, or other supplements since they could interact with medications.

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Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson is a medical journalist and an expert in celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and the gluten-free diet.