Best Time to Take Vitamins

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

A lot of people wonder, when is the best time to take vitamins and supplements?

For example, when are you supposed to take vitamin D? What about calcium? Is there a best time of day to take other supplements like bile salts or probiotics? I'll answer all those questions and more below.

In this article:

  1. When is the best time to take vitamins?
  2. Additional notes on taking supplements
  3. The bottom line

A spoonful of assorted vitamins and supplements of various shapes and colors | Best Time to Take Vitamins

When is the best time to take vitamins?

While you can do okay taking your supplements just about any time (save for a few minor exceptions), being intentional about the time of day you take them can be an effective way to optimize their health benefits.

Here's a breakdown of some common vitamins and the best times to take each for maximum absorption and effectiveness.

1. B Vitamins

When to take: Anytime

B vitamins, such as vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, and folic acid are water-soluble vitamins. This means that they don't need to be taken with food or with fat to be absorbed. You can take individual B vitamins or a B-complex any time of day you choose.

The one exception to this is with vitamin B1. This one is not water soluble, so it should be taken with food or fat.

2. Vitamin C

When to take: Anytime

Like B vitamins, vitamin C is water-soluble. This means that there is no best time to take vitamin C. You can take it whenever is convenient.

3. Fat-Soluble Vitamins (A, D, E, K, K2)

When to take: With fat or food

The fat-soluble vitamins (like vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin K) are better digested with some healthy fats and food. You can take these with a meal so that your cells will absorb them better.

Even a little bit of fat counts. So if you drink bulletproof coffee (coffee with some fat added), you could take fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D in the morning with your coffee instead of at mealtime.

A person resting his hands next to a morning cup of coffee and vitamins.

4. Stomach supplements (acids, enzymes, and bile salts)


When to take: Just before a meal

Stomach acidifiers like acids, betaine HCL, or apple cider vinegar pills should be taken just before your meal. They help to increase acid levels in the stomach, which helps us with the absorption of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients and improves our digestion. That's why it's most helpful to take your dose before you eat, rather than after.

If you are taking apple cider vinegar in liquid form or with water, it is okay to take that any time of day.


When to take: Just before a meal

The purpose of digestive enzymes is to help improve digestion when you eat. Enzymes should be taken right before eating so that they can help you break down your food.

Bile salts

When to take: Just after a meal

Bile salts are alkaline, meaning that they will lower the acidity of the stomach when you take them. You want your stomach to be acidic when it is digesting food, so don't take bile salts before your meal. Take them after, instead.

5. Greens

When to take: Morning is okay, with a meal is ideal

You can take a green supplement any time of day, including in the morning. But if you really want to maximize the absorption of this kind of dietary supplement, you can take it with food.

This is because one of the nutrients found in greens is chlorophyll. This specific phytonutrient is fat-soluble. So if you want to maximize the results and extract a bit more nutrients from your supplement, take it with some fat at mealtime. Again, bulletproof coffee would also work.

6. Vitamins D3/K2

When to take: Without dairy or calcium

Vitamins D3 and K2 are used to help remove excess calcium from the body. They may be wanted in cases of kidney stones or when there is too much calcium in the arteries or joints.

You don't want to take dairy with these, because you don't want there to be extra calcium in the body when these vitamin supplements go to work. Keep the body void of excess calcium so that D3 and K2 can suck it out of the soft tissues that need to be rid of it instead.

7. Herbs and teas

When to take: Anytime

Herbs, whether in supplement form or in teas, can be taken any time of day that you choose. They should work just as well with or without meals.

A bottle of herbal supplements spills out next to a mortar and pestle holding fresh herbs.

8. Electrolytes

When to take: On an empty stomach

Electrolytes work better on an empty stomach because you will have higher acid levels. Minerals need acid to be best absorbed.

9. Calcium

When to take: Anytime not right before a meal

When you take calcium, it will dilute your stomach acid. If you take your dose right before eating, this will make your stomach less acidic. That can interfere with proper digestion and the absorption of other nutrients.

10. Probiotics

When to take: Before bed

Probiotics are supplements that work well taken before bed. Make your dose of probiotics a part of your evening routine.

11. Chelators

When to take: On an empty stomach

Chelators such as EDTA or IP6 should be taken on an empty stomach. You don't want to have good minerals from your food or other mineral supplements in your body at the same time as chelators. Chelators work by pulling out excess toxic minerals in the body. You want them to go through and pull out the things you don't want, not the healthy minerals you just ingested. So let them do their thing on an empty stomach.


Additional notes on taking supplements

  • If you are going to take supplements with food, your first meal of the day might be your best bet. Learn why here.
  • When choosing vitamins and supplements, try to choose whole-food complexes, rather than cheap, synthetic drug store brands. To learn more about the problem with buying synthetic alternatives, watch my video here.
  • Don't worry about supplements affecting ketosis. A lot of people are concerned that taking supplements will inhibit the benefits of ketosis and intermittent fasting. But don't worry, they won't be a problem. They won't take you out of ketosis and won't count as breaking your fasting.
  • Should you take a multivitamin? In many cases, you don't need a multivitamin. Especially a synthetic generic multivitamin from the pharmacy that will give you a lot of things you don't really need, plus toxic things too. Learn more about my thoughts on whether you need a multivitamin in this video. I do believe that even healthy people can benefit from certain supplements, especially those from healthy, whole-food sources.

The bottom line

When you take vitamins isn't a major issue. However, if you want to get the very most out of your supplements, then you can pick and choose the time of day you take each. The recommendations are different for each type of vitamin or supplement, so you'll likely want to take them throughout the day (some with meals, some without, etc.).

When do you take your vitamins? What have you found gives you the best results? Share in the comments below.

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