Whether your supplement routine is just the basics or expands across several categories, you’ve probably wondered how to optimize said routine to get the most out of your multivitamins, minerals, and more, not to mention when to take supplements. Should you take them with food? Without food? Right away in the morning, even before you brush your teeth? When to take supplements can be dependent on the formula, ingredients, and intended purpose; these are some basic guidelines to go by, but always check with your healthcare provider if you have questions.
Multivitamins: In the morning or afternoon with food is best.
Multivitamins are packed with the key vitamins and minerals your body needs to function at its best, supporting your general wellness and cellular energy.* If you’re taking a multi and noticing you feel a bit nauseous afterwards, try taking it alongside your breakfast or lunch.
It’s always a good idea to pair your multivitamin with a full glass of water, especially when you’re taking a tablet or capsule form.
If taking your multivitamin with food isn’t helping, try switching to a gummy. Gummy multivitamins may be a bit easier on your system, especially if you have a sensitive stomach.
Fat-soluble single letter vitamins: With a meal, especially alongside high-fat foods.
Taking your vitamins with food may also help increase absorption of these nutrients, especially fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, E, and vitamin D. Fat-soluble vitamins don’t dissolve in water, so taking them alongside a meal (especially high-fat foods like avocados) can help ensure you’re getting the most from your supplement. When is your highest-fat meal? For some, it’s breakfast, while for others it’s dinner — figure out when yours is and try to incorporate your fat-soluble vitamins then.
Melatonin: 30 to 60 minutes before bed.
Our go-to expert, nurse practitioner and master herbalist Lynn Green, says to think of sleep like a gentle landing, not a crash. If you take melatonin or other sleep supplements for occasional sleeplessness, she advises taking your dose about 30 to 60 minutes before bed to help your body gradually adjust and fall asleep.* Melatonin is a hormone naturally secreted by the body and taking a melatonin supplement helps mimic the “wind down” feeling you get at nighttime.
Iron supplements: At lunch or dinner.
If you’re taking an iron supplement, you may find it makes you nauseous when taken on an empty stomach. Take it at lunch or dinner to best absorb its benefits and reduce any queasiness.
Omega-3s and fish oil: With a meal.
Like iron, omega-3s can cause stomach discomfort (in this case, burps!), so if you’re concerned about that, you should take your fish oil supplement alongside your lunch or dinner.
There are many different kinds of probiotics, including those you need to keep in the fridge and those that are shelf-stable and don’t require refrigeration. Regardless of what kind of probiotic you take, the important thing is to take them daily; probiotics work best when taken regularly. Some take their probiotic alongside breakfast, while others prefer taking it in the evening. Make it a habit for a more balanced, happier gut.*
Ashwagandha: Every day.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, an herb that helps your body better adapt to everyday stress.* You can take ashwagandha in gummy or capsule form at any time of day, depending on how your body responds to it, but the important thing to remember is that this supplement works better with time to help your body adjust and adapt.* Ashwagandha doesn’t give instant results; it’s all about consistency.