Best Time Of Day To Take Vitamin C Supplement

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Supplements (as the name suggests) can be used as a complement to help a person with certain deficiencies meet their nutrient needs. If you’re taking a supplement because of such a deficiency, you should try to take it in a way that could promote optimal absorption. Supplement timing can seem complicated, so let’s simplify when to take some of the most common dietary supplements and why.

What is the Best Time to Take Vitamin C?

When to take supplements

There is debate about whether taking your vitamins in the morning or at night is best. The theory goes that because you’re getting nutrients throughout the day from food, having your nutrition supplements at night helps your body get some nutrition as you sleep.

Jeffrey Blumberg, a professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts University in Boston, says otherwise. He suggests taking your dietary supplements at night isn’t advisable. “Digestion slows down during sleep, so taking your nutrient supplement late at night would not be associated with an efficient absorption.”

The ideal time to take multivitamins and any B vitamins is in the morning, according to Neil Levin, a clinical nutritionist with NOW Foods. The B vitamins in multivitamins may accelerate metabolism and brain function too much for a calm evening or right before bed, according to Levin, therefore they work best when taken earlier in the day.

The best time to take vitamins: Recommendations for different types

Although morning is probably ideal, it helps to your multivitamin or prenatal/folic acid supplements is the time you’ll remember. Put the supplement bottles on your kitchen counter next to your coffee maker, so they jog your memory when your reach for your morning cup. Or if taking your supplements at lunch appeals to you, keep them in your lunch bag or briefcase so you’ll remember to take them.

With food or without?

Most supplements should be taken with food to reduce the chances they’ll upset your stomach and to stimulate digestion and improve absorption. For a select few, it really doesn’t matter if you take them on an empty stomach. So which ones should you pay attention to?

Iron, magnesium and fish oil supplements are the most common culprits for digestive upset when taken on an empty stomach, so take extra care to have these with a meal or snack.

Fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K are better absorbed when you have them with a meal or snack that contains at least a teaspoon of fat (about 5 grams of fat). The same goes for your multivitamin, which contains these vitamins. For example, if you’re taking your multivitamin with your breakfast, make sure you’re having some almond butter with your oatmeal or avocado with your eggs and toast.

For probiotics, preliminary research suggests taking them with a meal or 30 minutes before a meal could be better than taking them after eating.

What is the best time of the day to have Vitamin C? | The Times of India

Blumberg points out that hydration plays an important role, as well. “Fluid intake is especially important for the disintegration of the supplement tablet or capsule and for dissolution of water-soluble nutrients such as vitamin C and B vitamins,” he says. So be sure to wash down all supplements with a tall glass of water.

The main exception to the “take with food” rule for dietary supplements is with certain types of minerals. Levin says only chelated mineral supplements can be taken without food. Chelation occurs when a mineral has been bound to an acid, so it doesn’t rely on your stomach acid to break it down. Calcium citrate and magnesium glycinate are the main examples. (If this level of detail is overwhelming, take your supplements with food to cover your bases.)

Better together

Some nutrient dynamic duos include vitamin D to boost calcium absorption and vitamin C to boost iron absorption. That’s why taking in these nutrients simultaneously via supplements or boosting with food sources is ideal. A classic example is having your iron supplements with a glass of orange juice to get the absorption-boosting effects of the vitamin C.

Better apart

Calcium can affect your body’s absorption of iron, zinc and magnesium. I recommend taking any calcium supplements at a different meal than any iron supplements or your multivitamin. Also note that your body absorbs calcium more effectively when you take 600 milligrams or less at a time. If you’re taking more than that per day, you’ll want to split up the dosage into morning and evening doses.

Fiber is another nutrient you’ll want to take apart from other supplements and medications, because it interferes with absorption. I recommend doing so before bed if you aren’t taking anything else at that time.

Sample supplement schedule

Here’s a sample schedule for optimal absorption of the supplements above.

With breakfast

•Multivitamin or prenatal multivitamin/folic acid

•B vitamins

•Omega-3s

•Probiotics

With lunch

•Calcium

•Vitamin D

With dinner

•Iron

•Vitamin C

Before bed

•Fiber supplement (with a large glass of water)

If it isn’t practical for you to remember to take supplements at lunch or other points during the day, don’t worry. Have your multivitamin and any fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) with food that contains some fat, keep your calcium and iron separate, and you’ll be fine. You’ll be even better off if you focus on eating nutritious whole foods, because science suggests that this, rather than supplements, is the optimal way to get your nutrients.

If you can name any antioxidant off the top of your head, it’s probably vitamin C. A super-star in immune health and skin-care alike, it’s probably one of the most popular supplements out there. Here, find out when—and how—to take vitamin C to maximize its benefits.

Why Vitamin C Matters

You already know vitamin C—a.k.a. ascorbic acid—is key for healthy immune function. (Hence why it’s so popular in the colder months.)

However, it’s also important for: fighting free radical damage (which has been implicated in disease and cancer) and improving absorption of other nutrients (like iron, vitamin D, and vitamin E).

Plus, it’s also key for collagen production, which is essential for connective tissue health and wound healing.

C also offers cardiovascular benefits: “Vitamin C also supports healthy blood pressure and artery health, and increases blood flow to the brain,” adds Anthony Balduzzi, N.M.D., founder of The Fit Father Project and The Fit Mother Project.

And that’s not all: High vitamin C intake is also associated with more youthful-looking skin and improved bone health in older populations.

On the flipside, low intake has been linked with low bone mineral density and even obesity.

Supplementing With Vitamin C

Since our body can’t produce vitamin C on its own, we have to obtain it through diet or supplementation. And, since our bodies can store vitamin C, we have to consume it regularly to meet our needs, explains Taz Bhatia, M.D., integrative health expert and author of Super Woman RX. (Men generally need 90 milligrams a day, while women need 75.)

Many fruits and vegetables—most notably bell peppers, kiwi, citrus fruits, kale, and Brussels sprouts—contain vitamin C. True vitamin C deficiencies are rare in the developed world. However, many of us don’t eat enough produce to meet all of our nutrient needs.

Plus, some people—including pregnant and breastfeeding women, smokers, those with kidney issues, or those exposed to harmful environments—have extra-high C needs. In all of these cases, vitamin C supplements can help.

According to Balduzzi, vegans and vegetarians may also want to consider a vitamin C supplement. “People on meat-free diets tend to be low in iron,” he says. “So, because vitamin C increases our non-heme iron absorption as much as four-fold, supplementing with C can help increase iron stores.” (That’s why you’ll find some supplements that contain both iron and vitamin C, like The Vitamin Shoppe brand Iron Complex).

Though you can supplement with as much as 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C per day, most doctors recommend somewhere between 50 and 200 milligrams if you need a supplement.

The Right Time To Take Vitamin C

As with most supplements, when and how you take your vitamin C influences its effectiveness.

“Because vitamin C is water-soluble, it doesn’t need fat to be fully absorbed and used by the body,” says Bhatia. So, while you don’t technically need to take vitamin C with food, many products recommend that you do. Taking vitamin C (especially higher doses) on an empty stomach can cause minor irritation to your GI tract. People with sensitive stomachs may even experience cramping, gas, or diarrhea.

The key: Take your C whenever you’ll consistently remember to do so. “For most people that tends to be in the morning with breakfast,” says Bhatia. However, since vitamin C won’t make you groggy or extra-energized, you can take it with your lunch, an afternoon snack, or dinner.

However, there is one caveat to keep in mind: “Some research suggests that taking vitamin C after your workouts can actually negate their effectiveness,” says Balduzzi.

Why? Vitamin C—especially in high doses—can hamper inflammation that occurs in muscle cells during and after a tough workout. While we typically label inflammation as ‘bad,’ our muscles need this exercise-related inflammation to adapt and grow.

In fact, the authors of one large study found that vitamin C supplementation negatively impacted training efficiency. They urged caution when combining antioxidant supplements with exercise—particularly endurance exercise.

Though these studies looked at a higher dose of C (1,000 milligrams), competitive athletes and fitness enthusiasts should still take care to space out workouts and any vitamin C supplements—just to be safe. “I typically suggest people wait at least six hours after their workout to take any vitamin C or other antioxidant supplements,” says Balduzzi

In fact, the authors of one large study found that vitamin C supplementation negatively impacted training efficiency. They urged caution when combining antioxidant supplements with exercise—particularly endurance exercise.

Though these studies looked at a higher dose of C (1,000 milligrams), competitive athletes and fitness enthusiasts should still take care to space out workouts and any vitamin C supplements—just to be safe. “I typically suggest people wait at least six hours after their workout to take any vitamin C or other antioxidant supplements,” says Balduzzi

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