June 06, 2020   12:34am

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When should you take your vitamins?

*From The New York Times

Q. When is the best time to take vitamins? Morning, noon or night? With meals or without?

A. With vitamins and most nutritional supplements, the time of day isn’t so important, said Dr. Sheldon S. Hendler, co-editor of The Physicians’ Desk Reference for Nutritional Supplements.

“What is important is that vitamins are taken when most convenient,” he said. “This best ensures that vitamins are taken in a consistent manner. Also, most vitamins should be taken with food, food that contains some fat.”

Although the water-soluble vitamins B and C can be absorbed when taken with food or on an empty stomach, the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K are most efficiently absorbed when taken with some fat, Dr. Hendler said. Beta carotene, a member of the carotenoid family and a precursor of vitamin A, is also best absorbed with some fat. This is also the case with other carotenoids used as nutritional supplements, including lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, astaxanthin and fucoxanthin.

Minerals should also generally be taken with food, Dr. Hendler said. “Absorption efficiency of calcium carbonate on an empty stomach is poor and increases significantly when taken with food,” he said. “Calcium citrate can be taken on an empty stomach. Iron is absorbed best on an empty stomach. However, iron typically upsets the stomach and is usually taken with a small amount of food.”


*The New York Times, “Vitamins on the Menu,” by C.Claiborne Ray, May 5, 2009, Page D2

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