Taking a multivitamin is just one of the ways you take care of your health. It’s a healthy, simple habit that some of us developed as children. Multivitamins, however, aren’t one size fits all. Depending on your sex, age, and stage of life, your nutritional needs can vary. Taking a high-quality supplement that is designed to meet your needs is important, especially if you are nursing or pregnant.
If you are training for an athletic event your preparation probably includes several vitamin supplements including a high-performance multivitamin. What most people don’t realize is how and when you take your multivitamin can affect if and how well your body absorbs the nutrition. Most people take their multivitamin at breakfast, but if your breakfast doesn’t have any fats or oils you won’t get maximum absorption. If your breakfast is just a cup of coffee and an apple you snag on your way out the door, its best to wait until you have a proper meal.
Vitamin B is a water-soluble vitamin that is best taken on an empty stomach. It has been suggested that B vitamins may help reduce stress and boost your mood and metabolism. If you take a separate vitamin B12, which as much as 30% of adults don’t absorb well from food, make sure you take it six hours after your multivitamin. It is recommended to take it twice a day to keep B12 levels balanced.
Women who are pregnant, nursing, or plan to get pregnant in the next year should all be taking a quality prenatal multivitamin. The folic acid present in prenatal vitamins may help to reduce the risk of spina bifida among other neural tube defects. Most doctors will recommend that you take your vitamins in the morning, preferably on an empty stomach. However, if taking your vitamins in the morning causes discomfort it is perfectly acceptable to take them at night before bed. Remember that prenatal vitamins have a cumulative effect, so it’s important that you take them consistently. While you are pregnant it’s important that you don’t double up on your doses. You could end up taking too much vitamin A which may cause harm to the child you’re carrying.
One of the reasons why you are encouraged to take your multivitamins on an empty stomach is because of its iron content. Iron absorbs best on an empty stomach and doesn’t absorb properly is you’ve eaten dairy.