Do vitamins work best when taken with food?

Do vitamins work best when taken with food?

Melanie Ryan

It really depends on the nutrient as to whether they work better when taken with food. Many nutrients will sit better in the stomach if you have them after you have eaten, as some taken on an empty stomach can cause some tummy upsets such as nausea.

Specifically, those that sit better just after food include:

  • Zinc
  • B vitamins

Fat soluble nutrients work better if taken just after food so that they have something to “hold onto” and get absorbed with food that contain other fats, rather than going through an empty stomach.

These include:

  • Oils such as fish oil, evening primrose oil, flaxseed oil, hemp seed oil etc.
  • Fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins D, K, E and A
  • Coenzyme Q10

Minerals (besides zinc) are often fine if taken on an empty stomach such as magnesium and calcium, but it doesn’t really matter if food has already been consumed before taking these.

Iron is better absorbed if it is taken first thing of a morning on an empty stomach.

Some probiotics are required to be taken after food and some are better on an empty stomach.

Digestive aids like betaine hydrochloride and digestive enzymes are usually better taken before food so that they can help your food be digested.

If in doubt, check with your natural health care practitioner.