Some vitamins are more effective when taken at particular times of the day.
The time at which we take our supplements affects the body’s ability to absorb vitamins, as well as whether any side effects occur.
Some vitamins should be taken in the morning, some in the afternoon, with a meal, on an empty stomach.
So when should you take vitamin D?
Morning vs. Night
Some researchers advocate taking vitamin D in the morning due to research potentially indicating taking vitamin D, and other supplements, at night can interfere with sleep.
While studies have found a connection between supplement use and disrupted sleep patterns, there is no conclusive evidence that general supplementation at night actually causes sleep problems.
Melatonin is the hormone responsible for our circadian rhythm, controlling our sleep and wake cycles.
Studies suggest that vitamin D may hinder the production of melatonin, confusing our circadian rhythm and reducing the quality of our sleep.
This makes sense, given our body naturally produces vitamin D from sun exposure – a luxury we only experience during the day.
With Food or Without Food?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin which affects vitamin D storage (the liver and fatty tissue in our bodies are able to store vitamin D) and absorption.
Fat-soluble vitamins are usually absorbed in fat globules that pass through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream.
A common theory is that by taking vitamin D supplements with a meal that contains fat, vitamin D is more easily and effectively absorbed into the bloodstream.
A study by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that participants who took vitamin D supplements with a high-fat meal absorbed up to 32% more vitamin D than those who had a fat-free meal.
As such, it's common for healthcare professionals to suggest taking vitamin D supplements with the largest meal of the day (usually dinner, but not always).
There are, however, a vast number of conflicting studies that find no connection between higher levels of vitamin D and consuming vitamin D supplements with food.
It seems that in the case of whether to take vitamin D with food or not, the jury is still out.
According to John Cannell, head of the vitamin D Council (a California-based advocacy group promoting vitamin D), when it comes to popping that vitamin D pill, "take it on a full stomach, take it on an empty stomach. Take it once a day, take it twice a day. Take it with fat, take it without fat. None of that matters."
Vitamin D Intake Varies With The Seasons
The best time to take vitamin D is relative to which season you're in. It depends on:
- How much sun exposure you get
- How much vitamin D-rich food you are consuming
Obvious, we know. However, many people rarely consider what time of the year it is when taking their daily supplement routine.
While supplementation is fantastic for those of us who are running on an empty vitamin D tank, others may already get sufficient vitamin D during summer or if they live in a sunny climate.
The latter generally do not require supplementation because their vitamin D levels are high (due to the frequent sun and UV light exposure).
The Vitamin D Deficiency Crisis
Vitamin D deficiency is rife across the globe, particularly in the United States.
When we consider vitamin D ’s vast array of health benefits, and its ability to ward off nasty diseases, it's shocking to learn that approximately 40% of the American population suffers from a vitamin D deficiency.
This staggeringly high statistic largely comes down to a lack of sun exposure and ow consumption of vitamin D-rich foods.
It, therefore, comes as no surprise then that dietitians often recommend vitamin D supplementation.
However, there is a such a thing as too much vitamin D - known as Vitamin D Toxicity.
If you're concerned that you're getting too much or too little vitamin D, it's worth checking in with your doctor and measuring your vitamin D levels.
Toxicity is caused by having too much vitamin D in the system, which can lead to a condition called hypercalcemia (as a result of high blood calcium levels).
Regardless, if you're concerned that you're getting too much or too little vitamin D, it's worth checking in with your doctor and measuring your vitamin D levels.
To learn more about the telltale signs of a vitamin D deficiency, and testing vitamin D levels, read our blog post on how to know if you're deficient in Vitamin D.
Vitamin D toxicity is a much rarer case than being vitamin d deficient though, so have no fear.Supplementing with Vitamin D3 is the safest and easiest way to increase your Vitamin D intake and avoid issues associated with deficiency. Try our Organic and Vegan Vitamin D3 tablets.
Moral of the story?
- To be on the safe side, take vitamin D supplements with food, ideally with some healthy fats in it
- Take your vitamin D supplement as early in the day as possible, to maximize natural melatonin production and get a fabulous night's sleep, while boosting mood and energy in the daytime
At the end of the day, it comes down to what helps you to feel your best. Be considerate about when you supplement, choosing a time that is convenient, and that suits your body’s needs.Try our Organic and Vegan Vitamin D3 tablets that come in a tiny easy-to-swallow tablet and you only need to take one a day!
Too Long, Didn’t Read (TLDR)
Vitamin D Deficiency:
When you’re not getting enough vitamin D, your body’s ability to function effectively and combat disease may be significantly affected.
Vitamin D Supplements:
For people deficient in vitamin D, or those who may not be getting sufficient vitamin D in their diets, supplementation can be a great option.
Should I take Vitamin D with food, or without?
The jury is still out, with some scientists finding that vitamin D, as a fat-soluble vitamin, is best absorbed with high-fat foods; and others finding that it makes no difference at all. No conclusive answer has been established.
Best time to take Vitamin D:
Though there have been conflicting studies about whether this matters, the safest option is to take your vitamin D around meal-time, and ideally not immediately before going to bed.
Find a vitamin D that’s clean, from good ingredients, and matches the amount recommended by your doctor or physician.
Don’t rely solely on vitamin D supplements, however, make sure you get out there and get some sun! There’s no substitute for mother nature.