Vitamin D can be taken at any time of the day. However, many people prefer to take it in the morning to reduce the potential risk of sleep disturbances.
You might not give a lot of thought to what time you take your vitamin D supplement. As long as it gets into your tummy, right? Well … not exactly.
It turns out that the time you take your vitamins — and what you take them with — can play a big part in absorption.
Here’s everything you need to know about the best time to take vitamin D.
There’s no official best time to take vitamin D. But some peeps prefer to take vitamin D supplements earlier in the day with a meal.
Some people also think that taking vitamin D before bed can mess with sleep. But TBH, there’s no hard-hitting science to back this up.
Still, if you think vitamin D is to blame for your tossing and turning, you should probably take your supplement earlier in the day (more on that in a minute).
Yes! Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it dissolves in oils or fats. That’s why it’s best to take a vitamin D supplement with foods that have healthy fats (such as olive oil, seeds, nuts, fatty fish, or eggs).
But the jury is still out on whether it’s better to take vitamin D supplements with low fat or high fat foods.
In a 2013 study, 62 older adults took a 50,000-IU vitamin D3 supplement once a month for 3 months. The participants were divided into three meal groups — no meal, high fat meal, and low fat meal.
At the end of the study, researchers found that the folks who took vitamin D3 supplements with a low fat meal had better absorption.
PSA: This was just one small study. We def need a lot more research to find out how vitamin D is best absorbed.
Lots of peeps prefer their vitamin D dose in the morning. There’s not a whole lot of science to suggest that this makes it more effective. But there is one perk: If it’s part of your morning routine, it can be easier to remember to take your supplements.
Pro tip: Pop a vitamin D alarm on your phone. It can help you remember to take your supps even on those hectic mornings.
Lots of people think vitamin D can cause insomnia and other sleep concerns, especially when taken at night.
Research suggests vitamin D is involved in your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate your circadian rhythms and can benefit your overall sleep quality. This means vitamin D might actually improve your sleep quality.
But here’s where things get tricky.
According to a 2018 research review, supplementing can help address vitamin D deficiency. In turn, this might reduce sleep disorder symptoms. However, the review also notes that high levels of vitamin D can actually increase your risk of unhealthy sleep.
You might still want to experiment with taking vitamin D at night. But if you think it’s messing with your sleepy time, try to take it earlier in the day.
There are a bunch of reasons you might want to take a vitamin D supplement. Here are the D deets.
At risk for deficiency
According to data from 2011 and 2012, an estimated 41.6 percent of adults in the United States aren’t getting enough vitamin D. Your risk of a deficiency depends on:
- How much sun you get. An estimated 50 to 90 percent of your vitamin D comes from sweet old sunshine. So you might be at an increased risk if you don’t get a lot of sun.
- The vitamins are in your diet. Not gonna lie — not many foods are rich sources of vitamin D. But still, eating foods like fatty fish, milk, eggs, and vitamin D-enriched breakfast cereal can help you hit your daily dose.
- Your skin tone. The darker your skin is, the more melanin it contains. Melanin is a pigment that helps protect your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. But it also reduces your skin’s ability to produce vitamin D, especially if you live in a cloudy area.
- Your age. Your skin’s ability to make vitamin D goes down as your age goes up. Also, older adults might spend less time in the sun.
- Certain medical conditions. Some health conditions — such as celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease, and kidney and liver diseases — can make it harder for your body to absorb or metabolize vitamin D.
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, which is famous for being the stuff bones are (mostly) made of. Studies also show that vitamin D supplementation can help reduce the severity of osteoporosis. Neat-o!
But, while vitamin D might be beneficial for osteoporosis, we don’t yet know whether it can help reduce the risk of falls or broken bones.
Vitamin D can help keep your immune system on fleek. According to research from 2011, it has some dope anti-inflammatory properties and can help regulate your body’s immune responses.
Cancer prevention (maybe)
A 2009 research review suggests that vitamin D might help reduce the risk of cancer. But according to another review from the same year, we def need a lot more research to explain the potential benefits.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), we don’t know whether vitamin D supplements can affect your cancer risk — but they might slightly decrease your risk of dying from cancer.
Your brain needs vitamin D to function properly. Some studies have suggested links between low blood levels of vitamin D and an increased risk of depression.
But, according to the NIH, vitamin D supplements don’t prevent or reduce depression symptoms.
Reducing muscle cramps
Muscle cramping is a common symptom of vitamin D deficiency. A 2011 animal study suggests a connection between vitamin D deficiency and musculoskeletal discomfort.
But a more recent study in 230 postmenopausal women suggests that vitamin D has no real effects on muscle cramps. So more research is definitely needed.
Another hallmark of low vitamin D levels is fatigue. It makes sense, then, that researchers in a 2014 trial found that restoring vitamin D in the bloodstream to typical levels significantly reduced fatigue severity.
However, it might not help if your tiredness isn’t tied to your vitamin D levels.
There’s no set time of day that’s best to take vitamin D supplements.
Some people say taking vitamin D supplements at night is an insomnia risk. There’s no research to confirm this, but you might want to take your supplement earlier in the day if you think it’s screwing with your sleep. Plus, taking vitamin D in the morning can make it easier to remember.
More important than what time you take vitamin D is what you take it with. Take your supplements with a meal, especially one that contains healthy fats. This can improve absorption in the small intestine.
P.S. Talk with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns about your vitamin D levels. They can run some simple tests to let you know if you’re deficient.