Vitamin D is essential for good health. It supports bone health by helping with the absorption of calcium.**
Plus, Vitamin D helps maintain a healthy immune system.**
Unfortunately, Vitamin D is difficult to get through food sources. One way to get more Vitamin D is to safely increase sun exposure. The Harvard Medical School suggests 10-15 minutes of sun exposure a few times per week is efficient, and it doesn’t matter what part of your body receives the sunlight.
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This amount of sun exposure helps you synthesize Vitamin D. When your skin is exposed to UVB rays, the cholesterol in your skin communicates with other cells in your body. These cells then know it’s time to make Vitamin D.
When this process isn’t happening enough, supplements are a convenient way to increase Vitamin D levels.** However, many factors play a role in how well your body actually absorbs Vitamin D. That includes taking your supplement at the right time of day.
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The best times to take Vitamin D
So when is the best time to take your Vitamin D supplement? The two top times to supplement with Vitamin D are in the morning and with a meal, preferably breakfast or lunch.
First thing in the morning: There are many benefits to taking Vitamin D in the morning. The biggest benefit is that if you do it first thing, you won’t forget about it later. Keep your Vitamin D where you will reach for it right away, and you won’t have to worry about remembering whether or not you took it already.
Plus, if you are taking other supplements, it might make sense to take those ones at a different time of day and not with Vitamin D. For example, because magnesium supports muscle health by playing a vital role in muscle contractions, it may make more sense to take it at night.**
With a meal: Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. This means it does not dissolve in water. Your body absorbs Vitamin D better when it is consumed with healthy fats, such as avocados, nuts, eggs, and seeds. Taking your supplement with breakfast or lunch is recommended, or you can even take it with an afternoon snack.
Why not take Vitamin D later in the day? Early anecdotal evidence suggests that Vitamin D may interfere with sleep. However, there’s not enough evidence to know how it really interacts with your sleep cycle. Since it’s best to take Vitamin D with a meal, it makes sense to avoid taking this supplement before bed. Eating too close to bedtime may cause sleep disruptions.
Because certain populations are more prone to Vitamin D deficiency, it is important to know if you are at-risk.
People who experience Vitamin D deficiency more frequently than others include:
- African Americans
- People who live above 37 degrees latitude
- Adults over age 65
- People who have trouble absorbing dietary fats
- People with certain health conditions impacting the liver and kidneys
If you fall into one of these groups, taking your Vitamin D supplement with a meal that includes a healthy fat source or in the morning may benefit you even more.