Multivitamins are often recommended to be taken with a meal. Others suggest taking your multivitamins on empty stomach. Since this is a debatable topic, it is important to have a deeper understanding regarding the same. We have prepared a basic guide for you to understand the whys and whens of vitamins.
The Need for Vitamins and Multivitamins
Before wondering whether you need that capsule of vitamin C on empty stomach, you need to ask whether you need vitamins at all? For those who take a balanced and nutritious diet, the answer is probably no. But if you take poor nutrition, have dietary restrictions, or are dealing with medical conditions, then chances are high that you need some kind of multivitamins.
Also, women who are trying to get pregnant may benefit from prenatal vitamins, both to aid in conception and to ensure proper nutrition of the baby. Note that if your doctor prescribes vitamins, you will see results only if you stick to the recommended dosage daily.
Does Timing Matter?
Generally, the timing does not matter when it is about whether to take multivitamin on empty stomach or not. But multivitamin timing does matter for other reasons.
For example, magnesium is essential for feeling relaxed and sleepy. With regular magnesium supplements, you may experience sleepiness, So, taking multivitamins with magnesium at night may be sensible. Melatonin is also heavily involved with sleepiness and so it is another supplement best taken during the time when you’re planning to sleep.
Similarly, taking vitamin C on empty stomach may cause digestive issues in some people. Taking it before eating is best if you’re looking to have optimum absorption. But consuming it with food may result in fewer digestive issues.
Multivitamins on Empty Stomach Vs After a Meal
Now, to answer the main question, can I take multivitamins on empty stomach? The answer is yes but only some types of multivitamins. In general, it boils down to whether the vitamin is water-soluble or fat-soluble.
Vitamins that are water-soluble are absorbed better on an empty stomach with water. Food and other beverages may reduce the smooth absorption of these micronutrients, making it harder for your body to make use of them.
1. Water-Soluble Vitamins
B vitamins and Vitamin C are soluble in water, so they will have maximum absorption when taken before a meal. Ensure that you take these with ample amounts of water. Additionally, most minerals are also soluble in water.
Vitamin C is required to properly absorb iron. Multivitamins typically include this combo of nutrients to make it most effective. When taken with food or milk, the effectiveness may be limited. Note that other probiotic nutrients (such as lactobacillus) are also best taken some time before eating.
2. Fat-Soluble Vitamins
Fat-soluble vitamins can be absorbed better if they are consumed with fat-containing foods. The body produces the right enzymes when these types of vitamins are taken with food, allowing for proper absorption.
Fat-soluble vitamins include A, D, E and K. The body absorbs them better when you consume them with a meal or snack. They can be consumed with a meal (lunch or dinner) or even just a small, healthy snack containing fats.
Multivitamins usually contain a mix of both fat and water-soluble vitamins. In this case, it is best not to take multivitamins on empty stomach. Most nutritionists and doctors (as well as the manufacturers themselves) will recommend you to take multivitamins with food. It may slightly reduce the effectiveness of the water-soluble vitamins but ensures an optimum balance between water and fat-soluble vitamin absorption.
You may possibly need to alter your intake of multivitamins depending on your situation. For example, although it is best to take vitamin C on empty stomach, it may cause nausea. Additionally, women taking prenatal supplements may benefit from taking their multivitamins with food since stomach and nausea issues are common during pregnancy.
In the end, it depends mostly on what your doctor suggests and what format works best for you.