Vitamins are a quick and easy approach to supplement any nutritional gaps in your diet. The ideal time to take vitamins might vary from vitamin to vitamin but is often either first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
Taking your vitamins and minerals first thing in the morning might help you maintain a routine, but doing so on an empty stomach may have adverse effects. A licensed dietician shares her advice on how to get the most out of your vitamin consumption without giving yourself an upset stomach.
Vitamins That Dissolve in Water vs. Those That Dissolve in Fat
Knowing how your body will absorb a vitamin before deciding whether or not to take it without food is essential.
Crystal Scott, RD, a registered dietitian at Top Coaching Nutrition, advises, “You need to determine if they are water- or fat-soluble.”
The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health identifies vitamin C and the B-complex as water-soluble vitamins. The body readily uses these vitamins, and is not preserved. The fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K can be stored in the body’s fatty tissues.
Water-soluble vitamins, such as B and C, can be taken without food. They shouldn’t give you any stomach issues,” Scott explains. Take fat-soluble vitamins with meals to increase their absorption.
Fat-soluble vitamins, as their name implies, work best when consumed alongside a fatty meal. Without this step, the body could not save the nutrients for later use.
The Dangers of Taking Vitamins Before Breakfast
1) You might be Experiencing Abdominal Discomfort
Vitamins taken on an empty stomach frequently cause nausea and vomiting. According to the Cleveland Clinic, if you don’t have something in your stomach to cover it, you may have irritation while the vitamins go through your digestive system.
Preventing this is as simple as eating toast or a tiny piece of fruit before taking your vitamins. You shouldn’t miss breakfast today, even if you’re not a morning person.
Scott advises that his patients eat a light lunch to minimize gastrointestinal distress.
2) Other Gastrointestinal Symptoms may be Present
In addition to stomach distress, you may also have nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Yes, it’s possible to get the opposite effect from taking vitamins if you take too many at once or neglect to eat.
Scott suggests carefully evaluating your supplement regimen. If ingesting them all at once leads to stomach problems, consider breaking them up.
Scott suggests starting the day with B vitamins, followed by iron and vitamin C. To maximize absorption, “B vitamins are something you want to take on an empty stomach,”, especially for people who may have a B12 shortage.
Because of their water-soluble nature, B vitamins can be taken any time of day, regardless of whether or not you plan to eat. Those who lack vitamin B12 should take their supplements first thing in the morning on an empty stomach for maximum absorption.
3) The Absorption of Vitamins might be Hampered as a Result
Scott is correct in saying that absorbing some vitamins (often the fat-soluble ones) requires little help from outside sources.
She suggests pairing fat-soluble vitamins (remember, A, D, E, and K) with healthy fat like coconut oil or avocado.
Is It That Dangerous to Take Vitamins First Thing in the Morning?
The vitamins you have on hand and how your body reacts to them make all the difference. Water-soluble vitamins can be taken on an empty stomach as long as you don’t take too many.
However, if your stomach bothers you first thing in the morning, a light snack like apple slices and peanut butter or avocado toast can do the trick. Vitamins can be taken in the evening instead of the morning if you find it difficult to have breakfast first thing in the morning.
Vitamins on an empty stomach may not be the only cause of gastrointestinal distress. Talk to your doctor to determine what’s causing your stomach distress if taking your vitamins with meals doesn’t help.