advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Best Time to Take Supplements?

Should I take all of my supplements at once first thing in the morning, or is it better to take them throughout the day? Does it matter whether or not you have eaten before taking supplements?

A
Answer (Published 8/6/2013)

I think in most cases it's fine to split up your daily supplements, and it might even be a good idea, especially if you have a half-dozen or more pills in your regime. I generally advise taking them with a meal containing fat for best absorption and least stomach irritation. This is particularly important for the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K). Many vitamins and mineral supplements can cause nausea, heartburn and other gastric disturbances, especially when taken on an empty stomach.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Supplements & Herbs - If you are interested in supplementing your diet, and want to take the mystery out of choosing vitamins, try Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor. Visit today for your free, personalized Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor Recommendation.

There are no rules about the best time of day to take them. My advice is to do so when they most agree with you. Many people find that it is easier to remember to take pills of any kind as part of a morning routine, so taking them with breakfast is a popular option. However, taking too many supplements on an empty stomach or with a light breakfast is a recipe for indigestion. If you experience that, try taking them with lunch or dinner.

Here’s my advice for taking specific antioxidant vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin C: 200 to 500 mg (divided into two doses) per day. Vitamin C is water soluble and any amount not used by the body quickly passes out of it. Consider higher dosages if you are under extra stress, living in smoke-filled or polluted environments, or not getting at least five servings of fruits and vegetables as part of your daily diet.
  • Vitamin E: 400 IUs of mixed natural tocopherols (or at least 80 mg of mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols) a day. Since vitamin E is fat soluble, it must be taken with food containing fat to be absorbed. I take vitamin E at lunch or dinner.
  • Selenium: 200 micrograms a day. Selenium is a trace mineral with antioxidant and anticancer properties. Selenium and vitamin E facilitate each other's absorption, so take them together. Doses of selenium above 400 micrograms a day may not be healthy.
  • Mixed carotenes: 15,000 IUs a day. I recommend a natural form, which is easily found in health food stores. Read the label to make sure it gives you lycopene, the red pigment in tomatoes that helps prevent prostate cancer, and lutein, which can protect against cataracts and macular degeneration. I take mine at breakfast.

To lessen or prevent any side effects, follow these rules:

  • Take your supplements during or after a meal, unless directed otherwise, and drink plenty of fluids as well.
  • Take as indicated. Your supplements may be recommended or packaged for morning, noon or evening dosages, based on your individual health needs. For maximum benefit, take them at the time of day indicated on the package.
  • Some supplements may interact with prescription medications. Read labels carefully and speak with a pharmacist if you have any concerns.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here