T Nation

Multivitamin and Timing

Hi all,

After all the posts about ZMA and how the potency can differ a great deal depending on what time its taken and if on an empty stomach, i decided to take my multivitamin about an hour after eating my last meal (rather than with my normal protein shake) and lo and behold you boys were right (one of the main things i looked at when purchasing my multivitamin was making sure it had the best amount of zinc, magnesium and selenium out of all the multis i could find). Here is my multis’ profile ( i think it doesnt contain much calcium which i am now happy about after i read those ZMA articles):-

Each Tablet Contains:
Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1) 50mg
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) 25mg
Nicotinamide 50mg
Calcium Pantothenate 100mg
Providing Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) 90mg
Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitmain B6) 25mg
Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12) 50mg
Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A 1250 IU) 687.5mg
Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3 300 IU) 7.5ug
Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) 200mg
d-alpha Tocopheryl Acid Succinate
(Vitamin E 50 IU) 41.3mg
Betacarotene 3mg
Biotin 30ug
Choline Bitartrate 50mg
Inositol 50mg
Folic Acid 100ug
Citrus Bioflavonoids extract 30mg
Rutin 10mg
Hesperidin 10mg
Cysteine Hydrochloride 30mg

Selenium (as Selemethionine) 26ug
Potassium (as Potassium Citrate) 30mg
Potassiun (as Potassium Iodide) 23ug
Iodine (as Potassium Iodide) 75ug
Chromium (as Chromic Chloride) 60ug
Magnesium (as Magnesium Oxide) 57mg
Zinc (as Zinc Gluconate) 10mg
Manganese (as Manganese Amino Acid Chelate) 2mg

Herbal Extracts Equiv. Dry
Turnera diffusa (Damiana) Leaf 200mg
Panax ginseng (Korean Ginseng) Root 50mg
Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian Ginseng) Root & Rhizome 50mg
Avena sativa (Oats) Herb 50mg
Cucurbita pepo (Pumpkin Seed) Seed 25mg
Epilobium parviflorum (Small Leafed Willow) Herb 50mg
Serenoa serrulata (Saw Palmetto) Fruit 100mg

Contains: Lactose

Recommended Use

Take one tablet daily with a meal.

It did give me much better sleep and also made me have a vivid dream that i can still remember now, which probably implies that all this time some of my minerals havent been getting into my system properly because i have been taking them with competing nutrients. So i have now ordered some ZMA products and cant wait to actually try them out and see how much difference they make with my sleep and hopefully with my testosterone as well.

i did have a couple of questions though, is it better to take somethingn like a multivitamin / mineral or even ZMA 10-20mins before i eat a meal BUT on a relatively empty stomach or 60mins after the meal but taking into fact that my stomach isnt empty yet since it is still digesting the previous meal.

Basically i am asking which method will ensure that more of my vitamins and minerals get digested properly and efficiently. i know for zma its better at night, but its very hard for me to have a empty stomach at that time, since i make sure i am constantly eating or digesting something. Especially at night after my workout i try to have like 2 meals in a matter of 2-3 hours. so its hard to take my multivitamin / mineral or even more importantly ZMA on an “empty stomach”.

Does the digestion process works on a first come first serve basis? Well i suppose it does but i just want to know what is the most efficient method and best case for me, i know its not perfect but it never is. if multis and ZMA are in the gut 20mins before a protein shake then would that mean they would not get affected much by the shake because the stomach has already started digesting them and is halfway through them and will for the most part be untouched by the competing nutrients from the protein shake. OR is it better to take the protein shake first then wait 45mins or 60 (cant wait much longer than that :frowning: )and then take the multis or ZMA because by then hopefully the shake would be through alot of the digestiong process and the multis and ZMA wont be too affected by competing nutrients for digestion?

Anyway i am rambling on, this is my first post but i have been perusing this site for years on and off. i really like the forums and articles here plus i find people can generally say their own views and opinions without being bashed down or banned unlike another site i used to be on.


Take your multi-vit with food. It will be fine. Some people will get nauseous by taking vit/minerals on an empty stomach. Iron and Zinc can cause gastritis and it’s usually best to take these with food. However, I have not had a problem with the form of Zinc in ZMA. However, I ONCE took a couple of zinc lozenges (for a sore throat) on an empty stomach, and sure enough I started getting nauseous.

As far as ZMA, take it 30-60 minutes prior to going to sleep. You can take it with food, just avoid taking it with foods high in Calcium. Then, right before bed you can have a protein shake or cottage cheese without it significantly affecting your ZMA.

Take care,


[quote]Dr. Ryan wrote:
Take your multi-vit with food.

Multi-vitamins/minerals are food supplements, and are generally best absorbed with food.

The other query i had was am i getting any cacium from my current multivitamin? The profile is listed above and from what i can see it doesnt list any calcium being provided in the minerals section but it does list that there is a calcium pantothenate which provides Vitamin B5. So is that also as a byproduct providing some calcium? or is it just providing pantothenic acid (Vit B5)?

OK so ZMA can be taken with food just as long as the food doesnt contain any calcium, i thought it had to be taken on an empty stomach as well as with no calcium. Although i suppose its hard to tell which foods may have calcium and which dont besides the shakes and what have you.

Now i know calcium conflicts with Zinc and Iron, what conflicts with Magnesium? i heard something about too much magnesium can stop copper from being digested or was that the other way around? i looked through the threads here but couldnt find any mention of it.

so its better to take multis with food EVEN if i dont experience any problems or difficulties when taking multis by themselves? (i have only from yesterday started taking multis by themselves so i am not sure if i will experience any problems or difficulties yet) So basically multis are absorbed better with food? But i just thought since there seems to be conflicts between different types of minerals and vitamins that it might be better if taken separately? soo confusing it all is.

I think the concept of conflicts with mineral absorbtion is overhyped. Before multi-vitamins/minerals were developed, all minerals and vitamins were gained from the diet. And the diet consists of multiple feedings throughout the day. It wasn’t until mega-doses of multi-vitamins/minerals came along that anybody explored this.

My recommendation is not to take large quantities of multi-vits/mins at once. Use a chewable childrens multiple. Break it in half. Chew half with your breakfast and the other half at night with your supper. An exception is ZMA. Follow the makers instructions, which is usually before bedtime. Your concerns about calcium are equally unfounded, unless you are eating a lot of dairy when you take your ZMA. A little bit of calcium isn’t going to hurt because the ratio of calcium to the zinc and magnesium is low. In general, all two-plus ions (which includes iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc) compete for the same channels of absorbtion.