What's the best time of day to take vitamins and supplements?

I am on T4/T3 therapy. I take a bunch of vitamins and supplements as well. What's the best time of day to take them? Is it with breakfast or with lunch? I take them with breakfast now but I'm not sure that this feels right. The only reason I do that is not to take them in public when I have lunch. Not that I am ashamed or anything but there are at least 10 tablets! What's your opinion about this? Thanks.

32 Replies

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  • I prefer to leave a long gap between taking hormones and vitamins/supplements and most say to take them with food, so lunch or dinner would be best, I think.

  • Thank you. It somehow feels more right taking them with lunch than with breakfast, the only problem is that I have to take all those tablets with me and if I wait to get home and take them with my dinner, it's a bit late and it upsets my stomach. Well, I'll carry them then. Do you know, should iron be taken separately from other vitamins, I read that somewhere?

  • You can leave some vitamins etc in your desk so you don't have to cart them in every day. I have a pill box and you can buy a couple and keep them filled, so you keep one in your handbag and one in desk just in case you forget to refill. In a short time it will become automatic.

    I'm not sure about iron but someone who does know will respond.

  • Good idea, thanks.

  • It all depends what your supplements are. Some things should not be taken with others. Some things should be taken 2 hours away from levo, and some four hours away. So, without knowing exactly what you're taking, it's difficult to say. :)

  • At the moment I take Now Food's multivitamin "Eve", calcium, vitamin C, vitamin D, Omega 3, iron, magnesium, zinc, biotin, potassium. I hope I didn't forget anything :)

  • Oh my goodness me! That's quite a list! And if you've been taking all that lot together, you will not have got much out of it.

    For a start, a multivit is just a huge waste of money. For many reasons. I looked up this one, and the ingredients are not the best. Plus, it contains iodine, which you really don't want. And it contains iron, which just about wipes out all the vitamins. Although you won't be getting the benefit of the iron, either, because there is also calcium. Iron and calcium bind together and wipe each other out. Then, there is magnesium, which also binds to the iron... Minerals should not be taken together. Each one should be four hours away from the other. And, each one should be four hours away from levo. Iron should be taken alone, except for vit C.

    So, the other supplements you're taking... Did you get tested for any of these before starting supplementing? Some things just should not be taken unless you need them. Like calcium. Even if you are deficient in calcium, calcium supplements are a bad thing. You need to get it from your food. As you are taking vit D, your absorption of calcium from food will be increased. So, do you really think you need those calcium supplements?

    You don't mention vit K2. If you are taking vit D3/calcium supplements, you should be taking vit K2 to make sure the added calcium goes into the bones and teeth, and not the soft tissues, like the heart, and kidneys. Both vit D3 and K2 should be taken with fatty food, as they are fat soluble. But not the same fatty food. They need to be taken separately. Vit D3, also needs to be taken four hours away from thyroid hormone.

    Magnesium should be taken four hours away from thyroid hormone. But, I think, at a pinch, you can take it at the same time as the zinc. But nothing else. Magnesium is best taken in the evening.

    Why the potassium? Are you low on potassium? It's something you really don't want to over-dose on. So, I think, before working out when to take all these things, you should review whether you really need them. :)

  • Wow, that's a whole science. Thank you so much. Yes, I was tested on calcium and it was low. I take potassium because it's low too. And my sodium is high although I don't eat much salt or processed food. I take magnesium and zinc just before bedtime. I though that there is K2 in the multivitamin, now I am not sure, have to check. But if you say that multivitamins don't have any purpose because some vitamins ans minerals are interacting with each other than I suppose I get nothing from it? Why is iodine bad? I try to eat healthy but I don't think that I am absorbing nutrients from food very well. So I need to supplement, otherwise my hair starts to shed and I have other problems but it seems that each thing should be taken separately. I also don't know do I need them all of just few things. It's a problem when you can't get your nutrients normally from food like healthy people do.

  • Yes, I expect you're right about not absorbing nutrients from your food. You probably have low stomach acid. But if you do, then you aren't going to absorb supplements very well, either. Maybe the starting point should be with your stomach acid. Have a read of this article and see if you can test yourself :

    scdlifestyle.com/2012/03/3-...

    Once you're on the right path with the stomach acid, you should get tested for vit D, vit B12, folate and ferritin. And, I would advise getting the calcium and potassium retested, too. See how you're going on. Your calcium is likely to be high, and that's not good.

    And, it's not good to take either vit D or iron if you don't actually need them, they can be toxic.

    There is B12 in your multivit, but not enough to treat a true deficiency, and, besides, that's not the best way to take B12 because it will be destroyed by stomach acid. If you need B12, it's best to take it sublingually. And, the folate in your multivit is not good quality. Methylfolate is better than folic acid.

    There is vit K2 in your multivit, but it is not the best one. It is MK4, I think, and you need MK7.

    You do not need iodine because you are already getting iodine from your levo, plus your food. Adding in more iodine will give you an excess, and that is not good. Iodine is one of those things you need just the right amount of - not too much and not too little.

    Getting the four basics tested, will give you a solid basis for supplementing. If you are low on vit D, then you need to know how much to take. Same with iron. Then, you can add in the co-factors.

    If you're low in B12, you need not only to supplement with sublingual methylcobalamin (B12), but also a B complex, which will include biotin and methylfolate. But, all of that should be well away from iron.

    So, when you get them tested, post the results here, and members will be able to advise you what to take, and how much.

    You can, of course, carry on with the vit C. That is essential, and can be taken with anything. Magnesium and zinc are fine taken at night, provided you take your levo in the morning. Omega 3... I'm not well up in that. I would suggest you do your own research. Don't the omegas have to be kept balanced?

  • Wow gg you are in excellent form this morning ☺☺

  • Ummm... Glad I give that impression. lol It's not by any means how I feel.

  • This is why I love this forum... you always learn something new. I've been taking my Iron tablet an hour before lunch (always 4hours away from my Thyroid tablets) but I then take my B12 vits straight after lunch so I'm only leaving about an hour and a half between Iron and B12. Is that enough?

  • Well, I imagine that the B12 is sublingual, isn't it? If so, it doesn't matter when you take it, because it doesn't touch the stomach, it goes straight into the blood. It's when things meet up in the stomach that problems occur. :)

  • Yes I take one under the toungue and the B Complex as a tablet

  • Well, that should be ok. It's not an exact science. :)

  • Thank you so much Greygoose. It makes it all more clear! Just some of these tests for stomach acid are terribly expensive. Which one of these you would recommend, but please not the one that costs $350 :) Thank you again.

  • The one you can do at home with bicarbonate of soda. That seems to be quite reliable. You only need a rough idea.

  • Thanks. I'll try it after holidays. Happy New Year!

  • Happy New Year to you too! :)

  • Iron shouldn't be taken with levo and it's better to take it 4 hours either before or after so if you take your levo in the morning take the iron at night or at lunchtime and if you really want it to be absorbed properly you want to take it at the same time that you take a B12 supplement. Don't take calcium at the same time as just like grapefruit juice stops your body from absorbing your levo, calcium does the same with iron.

    Note: I'm not a doctor or health professional I've just been hypo for nearly all of my adult life with all of the corresponding issues, one of which sometimes means that my red blood cell count is on the wrong side of possible organ collapse if I don't keep it in check 😏

  • Thank you so much LiTai. This is very useful info :)

  • Depends on the individual supplement, when you take your levo, when you take other medications particularly those with hormones in them, when you eat and what you eat.

    If you don't eat cereal with milk for breakfast and don't drink tea and/or coffee then it will be easier to fit all your supplements in. Simply because cereal with milk tends to be low fat and some vitamins and minerals require fat to aid absorption while tea and coffee contain tannins which interfere with some mineral uptake.

    For example if you take vitamin D3 then you are advised to take it with a fatty meal to increase absorption. Most people in the UK eat cereal for breakfast and as that isn't meal with enough fat in they shouldn't take it then. However if they take D3 with dinner they risk being made to feel hyper at night. However not every one feels hyper taking D3 with dinner so it is an individual preference. Also as some D3 supplements are capsules containing D3 in oil then in theory the fat due to the oil in that capsule should be enough to aid absorption so you can take it at any time of day. However if you then end up with a vitamin D3 supplement which is a white tablet due to finding you need to take a different dose you are then going to have to alter your regime.

    The main problem is iron.

    Iron should be taken on an empty stomach with vitamin C and in a way so that it it doesn't interact with hormones e.g. levo, doesn't interact with other minerals from supplements or food e.g. calcium, magnesium, copper, doesn't interact with tannins e.g. tea, coffee and minimises bowel problems (constipation, diarrhoea or a mixture of both). If you take one iron tablet a day and take your levo in the morning then taking it at night before you go to bed should fine. However if you take your levo at night then you need to calculate where you haven't taken it for 4 hours and have left at least 2 hours between eating. If you are prescribed two or more iron tablets a day that's where the hell beginnings as you can find you aren't absorbing other vitamins and minerals due to taking iron and it causing bowel issues.

    There are suggestions on various threads on the forum with rules like take minerals in the morning and vitamins in the afternoon but these rules ignore individual lifestyles - there are some shift workers on here -, individual diets - there are people who cannot eat certain foods - and the fact people are also on other medication which interferes with vitamin and mineral absorption. Apart from well-known rules e.g. avoid taking iron with other minerals and 4 hours away from levo, you are really going to have to research each individual supplement you take yourself and see if there are any best time for you as an individual to take it.

  • That's great, thank you. I didn't know many of those things. In last year or two I switched from cereals to either eating fruit yogurt for breakfast, sometimes eggs, or cheese and ham sandwich. I don't fancy coffee and lately I hardly ever drink tea. I loved it before but it started causing me indigestion, especially if I was drinking it on empty stomach or just after meal. For years I was starting my day with tea, now I have urge to vomit if I take it when I wake up. Don't know why. My problem with iron is that I just can't take it on empty stomach although I got one of those gentle ones. Is it useless if I take it with food?

  • It's not useless but you won't absorb so much and if you take it with something with milk, cheese or yoghurt in it you will absorb very little. So the generic advise for people who have difficulties taking iron is to take it before bed.

  • So this means that if I eat dairy products for lunch iron won't be absorbed? Do people who take iron before bedtime have stomach problems during night?

  • It's suppose to decrease stomach issues.

    Unless you try it you won't know whether it will work for you as everyone is different.

  • Thanks, I get it now.

  • I forgot to say if you can eat liver a couple of times a week (you don't want to eat it more due to the high levels of vitamin A), and some red meat, preferably bloody rather than well cooked, it will help to increase your iron levels.

    If you get into this habit then you once you get your ferritin level up you may be able to stop supplementing with iron.

  • Problem is I don't like liver. I think last time I tried it was some 20 or 30 years ago :) I eat beef few times a week but always really well done, I just can't stand blood.

  • Well since you have to get your iron level up and maintain it, the choice is either dealing with iron supplements or eating liver/more bloody meat.

  • Do people who take iron before bedtime have stomach problems during night?

    I had problems taking iron at any time when I first started taking it. I found my problems with iron reduced as I got my nutrient levels up and my thyroid meds closer to optimal. It took a long time though. I now supplement with iron and vitamin C just before going to bed, but I've taken it at various times depending on how much and how often I was taking it.

    In the end I had to take iron with food to help me tolerate it. I know this is not ideal, but I had to get iron into me somehow, and since my levels did rise (albeit very slowly) I was absorbing some of the iron. I found I had to try and find a happy medium between taking things the ideal way and the way that I could tolerate them. Just giving up wasn't an option.

  • Yes, I also take iron with food now. I know that it's not ideal but still according to my blood results I get some benefit even from this.

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