When is the best time to take supplements? Experts explain

When is the best time to take supplements? Experts explain

When you are taking a complement, you need to be sure you’re getting essentially the most out of it. Whether it’s taking iron to beat fatigue, omega-3 for brain health or magnesium to slip into a sound sleep, we regularly sling again nutritional vitamins and minerals with out actually fascinated about how they get to work. 

Just a few issues go into how effective a supplement might be, however getting the timing proper could also be extra vital that you just assume. Take your tablet, powder or spray at an inopportune second and, at greatest, it may not be absorbed; at worst, you possibly can properly spend the night staring on the ceiling, unable to float off.

We’ve been asking the dietary consultants to elucidate the significance of timing for complement efficacy. Here’s what to take and when.

Vitamin D

Your physique needs vitamin D for optimal bone and muscle health, as well as good immune function.

A high-quality vitamin D complement is a each day staple throughout autumn and winter – or year-round for these of us with darker pores and skin tones. Vitamin D is usually generally known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ as a result of our our bodies make it after we’re uncovered to the solar’s UV rays.

Some meals sources include vitamin D, together with oily fish, eggs and fortified merchandise – but it surely’s tough to get sufficient from meals alone, which is the place dietary supplements are available.   

Woman taking vitamin D
Start your day with a dose of vitamin D.

The greatest time to take a vitamin D complement

Alex Glover, senior nutritionist at Holland & Barrett, explains: “It is smart to take vitamin D within the morning as a result of results of vitamin D on the physiological processes concerned in wakefulness.”

There are some theories kicking across the web that say taking vitamin D within the night can disrupt your sleep. However, there isn’t any analysis that straight helps this concept.

“If you’ll be able to, take it within the morning, however I wouldn’t be too confused about when to take it, as taking it full cease is extra vital.”

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, so no matter time you are taking it, have it with meals containing some fats to make sure optimum absorption.  


The symptoms of iron deficiency may be irritating to take care of, particularly whenever you’re understanding. From fixed fatigue to muscle weak point and a raised coronary heart fee, it might usually really feel such as you’re not making any health progress in any respect.

But getting your ranges checked by your GP and taking dietary supplements could be a recreation changer in case your iron ranges are low or if in case you have iron deficiency anaemia.  

The greatest time to take an iron complement

In a 2020 study of iron poor athletes, researchers discovered that one of the best time to take iron was inside half-hour of morning train. The research discovered that morning train opened up a short-term window the place iron was greatest absorbed.

If you’re not one for an AM sweat session, although, when’s one of the best time to take your iron?

“Iron dietary supplements are greatest absorbed on an empty abdomen, taken an hour earlier than meals,” says Clare Thornton-Wood, registered dietitian and member of the British Dietetics Association. “However, generally iron dietary supplements upset your abdomen, and if that is so then take simply after a meal.” 

Woman holding cup of coffee
There’s some proof to recommend that espresso can intervene with how properly we take in iron, so if attainable, attempt to take your complement away out of your morning cup.

Some meals and drinks, equivalent to espresso, tea and calcium-rich merchandise, intervene with iron absorption. The NHS recommends leaving a two-hour gap between taking your supplement and having coffee, tea or calcium.

If you’re like me and have a cup of espresso or tea at-hand all morning, then the second half of the day is your greatest wager for optimum iron absorption (bear in mind to take it with a supply of vitamin C too).

“Unless this upsets your digestion and results in hassle sleeping, then iron is okay to absorb the night,” Glover says.  


Your physique loves magnesium and makes use of it to help mind, coronary heart and muscle operate. There can also be a hyperlink between the mineral and improved sleep, in addition to a discount in stress and nervousness.

“Ideally you must acquire sufficient magnesium from meals sources together with avocado, nuts, seeds, legumes, darkish chocolate and wholegrains,” Thornton-Wood says. “If you are taking a complement, then don’t exceed the RNI 270mg a day for girls (19 to 64 years).”

Taking greater than 400mg a day may cause diarrhoea.  

The greatest time to take a magnesium complement

If you’re taking a magnesium complement with the aim of improved sleep, do you have to take it earlier than bedtime?

“There is a few proof suggesting magnesium supplementation within the night could have a modest impact on bettering sleep high quality,” Glover says.

But each Glover and Thornton-Wood agree that the complement shall be efficient at any time you are taking it. Glover provides: “Like with vitamin D, specializing in ensuring your magnesium ranges stay within the wholesome vary is extra vital than the time of day you resolve to take it.” 


There is loads of analysis backing the constructive well being results of normal omega-3 consumption. The fatty acid can cut back irritation in your physique and support your cognitive operate. Omega-3 fatty acid has additionally been linked to lower anxiety levels and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.  

The greatest time to take an omega-3 complement

You may already be taking a fish oil or algae complement, particularly if you happen to’re vegan, vegetarian or simply don’t fancy a lot fish.

With this complement, it doesn’t matter what time of the day you are taking it. But Thornton-Wood advises taking your omega-3 complement – which is fat-soluble – with a meal for greatest absorption.  

B nutritional vitamins

When we speak about B vitamins, we’re often speaking a few group of eight water-soluble nutritional vitamins that assist to a spread of capabilities in your physique. If you eat a wholesome and diversified food plan with loads of vegetation, you’re probably getting sufficient B nutritional vitamins and don’t want a complement. 

The exception to this rule is if you happen to’re pregnant or planning to grow to be pregnant, through which case chances are you’ll need to take a folic acid (B9) complement. And if you happen to’re vegan, chances are you’ll must take a B12 complement. As all the time, it’s greatest to speak to your GP earlier than you begin taking a complement.

The greatest time to take a B vitamin complement

One of the roles of B nutritional vitamins in your physique is to assist the meals you eat grow to be power so that you can burn. Because of this, Thornton-Wood advises taking your complement very first thing within the morning. And as a result of they’re water-soluble nutritional vitamins, you’ll be able to take them on an empty abdomen.  


Recommended For You

About the Author: Adrian

Leave a Reply