T Nation

Timing of Vitamins/Minerals?


Is there a difference in taking a dose of vitamins/minerals all at once and spreading them out during the day?

For example, i take 4000mg of vitamin C in one go. Would taking 2000mg 2x a day or 1000mg 4x a day have any different function/benefits then taking the full 4000mg in one go?

Unless you are in a country with really poor quality food or are severly under nourished, I’d be stunned if the vitamins make any difference - let alone their timings.

If you’re worried, ger your blood work done or at least check the symptoms of a vitamin deficiency against any signs you’re showing.

that was more or less just an example.

The omegas, magnesium, etc all say “take 1 pill 3x a day” or whatever. I just wanna know does it matter if i take it 3x a day or 3 once a day

I do what’s easiest. For example, downing 2 fish oils per meal is easier for me than scarfing 10 at once (but some folks like to down 10 and get it over with)

Some things are meant to be taken at certain times though - eg ZMA.

This is definitely related to personality. If you PREFER to space them out, then do that. If you PREFER to take all your pills at once, do that. Many people can get lost in the minutia, when it’s really more important to just start.

For myself, I prefer to spread the supplements out through the day. I don’t do this because of any peer-reviewed study; you can find a peer-reviewed study to back up nearly any opinion. I do it that way because it is what makes sense to me.

The body can only use so much of something at once, right? You can see this in your urine fairly obviously, I’d think. Thus, spreading the supplements out allows your body to be able to use more of what’s being ingested at a single time, and then do that more often.

But that’s just my opinion.

If you’re getting started, do what’s convenient so that you get in the habit of just doing something.

There’s 2 or 3 articles on this site that talk about timing when it comes to micronutrients. Some of them can block absorption of others.

Ones I remember… calcium can block the absorption of magnesium and iron can block the absorption of zinc (I think, someone correct me if I’m wrong).

So if you take them both together, you’re not getting as much of the blocked micro as you think you are if you’re getting any at all. So it’s best to space them out by at least 30 minutes if you want to take them at the same time. I believe I asked an article writer/coach here about that once years ago and that’s the answer I got.

There’s a recent article about not taking multivitamins and stuff like this is the basic argument against taking them. Should be easy to find.

Also, I think there’s certain supplements that work better if you spread them out than they do if you take them all at once. Beta alanine comes to mind, but there could be plenty others that I’m not aware of.