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Best Time To Take Zinc Vitamin

A Nutritionist Explains The Benefits Of Zinc And If Supplements Are Necessary

What is the Best Time to Take Vitamins and Supplements?

Cynthia Sass is a nutritionist and registered dietitian with master’s degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she’s Health’s contributing nutrition editor and counsels clients one-on-one through her virtual private practice. Cynthia is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics and has consulted for five professional sports teams, including five seasons with the New York Yankees. She is currently the nutrition consultant for UCLA’s Executive Health program. Sass is also a three-time New York Times best-selling author and Certified Plant Based Professional Cook. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook, or visit

You may be familiar with zincs role in supporting immunity, and that connection might leave you wondering if you should be taking a zinc supplement. As a registered dietitian, I recommend that you get your zinc from food rather than a bottle, and there are important reasons behind that advice. Heres what to know about zinc supplementsalong with some of zincs additional benefits and top food sources to rely on.

Health Benefits Of Zinc

In addition to its role in supporting the immune system, zinc is required for the activity of more than 300 enzymes that aid with healthy digestion, nerve function, and metabolism.

Zinc also supports brain health. Compared to other organs in the body, zinc concentration is highest in the brain. A 2017 study, published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, concluded that while there are many unknowns, changes in zinc balance in the brain may affect conditions that include age-related cognitive decline, depression, and Alzheimers disease.

Another of zincs major roles is helping the body heal. Zinc is required for cell membrane repair, cell growth, and the maintenance of healthy skin. Zinc-dependent proteins play fundamental roles within cells, including in DNA repair. For these reasons, a zinc deficiency can lead to skin problems and impaired wound healing.

Too little zinc can negatively impact your senses and appetite. According to one recent study, 35% to 45% of adults 60 and older had zinc intakes below the estimated average requirement. One set of side effects tied to zinc deficiency involves diminished taste and smell, plus poor appetite. If youve ever lost these senses due to illness, youre aware of how much they affect the appeal of food. In healthy adults, zinc plays a role in maintaining these functions.

When To Take Water

Water dissolves them, and your body doesnât store them, so most must be taken every day. They include C and the Bâs: thiamin , riboflavin , niacin , pantothenic acid , pyridoxine , biotin , folic acid , and cobalamin . Take them with or without food, with one exception: Youâll absorb B12 better with a meal. If you also use vitamin C, put 2 hours between them. Vitamin C can keep your body from using B12.

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When To Take B Vitamins

People tend to take B vitamins to boost energy and reduce stress.

There are eight different types of B vitamins, each of which has a separate function for the body. The types of B vitamins are:

potentially interfere with sleep and induce vivid dreams. To avoid this adverse effect, people may wish to take them earlier in the day.

Even though B vitamin supplements are safe to consume, it is most beneficial to obtain these nutrients from food sources.

Make Food Your Plan A

Zinc Citrate, 15 mg, 90 Tablets

With hundreds of supplements available, itâs hard to believe that not every nutrient in whole foods has been captured in a capsule. Thatâs why eating a variety of healthy foods is the best way to meet your health needs. But if youâre low on a certain vitamin or mineral, or just want to cover all bases with a daily MVM , these tips will help you get the most from it.

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Talk To A Doctor Or Nutritionist Before Starting To Supplement

You should always consult with a trusted health professional before adding something new to your routine. Zinc supplements are best for those with a known deficiency, says Macher. Its more common for those with gastrointestinal disorders, kidney disease, and sickle cell anemiaas well as older adults.

Older adults often do not meet the RDA for zinc, which could put them at higher risk for respiratory infections, poor wound healing, and decrease in sense of taste and smell, says Low Dog. One 2018 paper published in Nutrients backs this up, identifying zinc deficiency as a notable contributor to age-related changes in immune function.

When you talk to your provider about supplementing with zinc, bring a list of all other supplements, medications, and herbal remedies youre taking.

In some cases, supplementing may affect your medications or have other unexpected impacts. People who take the drug amiloride for congestive heart failure or high blood pressure, for example, should not take zinc supplements, cautions Low Dog.

In other cases, taking certain medications may necessitate supplementing with zinc. People on diuretics, anticonvulsants, or antiretroviral drugs might be at higher risk for deficiency and require supplements, Low Dog says.

Ingredients & Potential Interactions

It is essential to carefully read the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel of a supplement to know which ingredients and how much of each ingredient is included, relative to the recommended daily value of that ingredient. Please bring the supplement label to your healthcare provider to review the different ingredients contained in the supplement and any potential interactions between these ingredients and other supplements and medications you are taking.

Added sweeteners: Zinc lozenges are often made with a sweetener, whether that is corn syrup or sucrose, so take that into consideration if you are concerned about your sugar intake.

Vitamin C: Some zinc supplements may also contain vitamin C, which is thought to add additional immune-boosting qualities.

Taken in large amounts, zinc may cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and vomiting within 3-10 hours of taking the supplement.

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Taking It Late In The Day May Affect Sleep

Research links vitamin D levels to sleep quality.

In fact, several studies associate low levels of vitamin D in your blood to a higher risk of sleep disturbances, poorer sleep quality and reduced sleep duration .

Conversely, one small study suggested that higher blood levels of vitamin D may be linked to lower levels of melatonin the hormone responsible for regulating your sleep cycle in people with multiple sclerosis .

Some anecdotal reports claim that taking vitamin D at night can negatively influence sleep quality by interfering with melatonin production.

However, scientific research to determine how supplementing with vitamin D at night may affect sleep is currently unavailable.

Until studies exist, it may be best to simply experiment and find what works best for you.


Vitamin D deficiency may negatively impact sleep quality. Some anecdotal reports assert that supplementing with vitamin D at nighttime may interfere with sleep, but scientific data to that effect is unavailable.

Best Time To Take Folic Acid

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Folic acid is the man-made version of Vitamin B9 . Folic Acid helps the body create healthy red blood cells. Leading up to and during pregnancy, folic acid is important to support the development of a babys brain, skull, and spinal cord development.

You can take folic acid at any time of the day.Folic acid is a water-soluble supplement meaning it is best to take it with water.

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Multivitamins And Energy Herbs

Multivitamins should be taken early in the day because in addition to containing B vitamins, they may also contain other energy-giving molecules such as caffeine, green tea extract and coenzyme Q10. These ingredients can affect the quality of your sleep. Also, herbal supplements that give energy to the body should not be taken at night, e.g. asparagus, guarana, ginseng etc.

Consider How Your Diet Impacts Your Zinc Intake

The Recommended Dietary Allowance for zinc for adults ages 19 and older is 11 milligrams a day for males, eight milligrams a day for females, 11 milligrams a day for pregnant females, and 12 milligrams a day for lactating females. 40 milligrams daily is considered the upper limit for zinc.

As a first line of defense, you should seek to get zinc from food. Sources of zinc include oysters, beef, wheat germ or bran, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, beans, cheese, and almonds, shares dietitian Melissa Macher, R.D., L.D. Many ready-to-eat breakfast cereals are also fortified with zinc.

Important to emphasize: Adequate intake of zinc is eight-to-12 mg/day, and more isnt necessarily better when it comes to nutrients, she adds. For reference, a serving of baked beans provides nearly three milligrams of the nutrient.

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That said, the zinc found in grains and legumes is not absorbed as easily as that found in animal foods, advises Tieraona Low Dog, M.D., author of Fortify Your Life and MegaFood Chief Medical Advisor.

In fact, one 2013 Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture review found that dietary zinc intake and serum zinc concentration were significantly lower in groups that stuck to vegetarian diets. Its still possible to get enough zinc through diet alone if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, but you may want to monitor your levels to be safe.

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When Is The Best Time To Take Vitamin D And Other Fat

Fat-soluble vitamins require fat for your body to absorb them. They include:

For maximum absorption, the best time to take vitamin D and other fat-soluble vitamins is after youve eaten foods that contain fat. And you dont need much: Dr. Perez-Gallardo says even small amounts of low- or whole-fat milk or yogurt will do the trick. So will eating food cooked with oil.

Can You Take Zinc At Night

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Ultimately, when it comes to vitamins and minerals specifically, there are rarely any additional benefits to the time of day you take them. It is often advised to take vitamins and minerals at a time of day when you best remember to take them, as consistency is king!

However, some vitamins and minerals can provide some additional advantages based on timing strategies.

In this case, zinc may be more beneficial to take in the evening times before bed due to the benefits it has on sleep quality.

Some studies have suggested that zinc can help improve sleep quality, as shown in ICU nurses who suffer with bad sleep and low zinc levelsa potential correlation between low zinc and poor sleep.1

Additionally, zinc is thought to potentially provide some benefits to keeping your circadian rhythm in check. Our circadian rhythm, otherwise known as our internal body clock, is essentially what controls our sleep-wake cycle.

During the evenings when light is dim, our brain signals to our body that its sleep time. When daytime comes along, we feel more awake in response to natural light. This is, in the simplest of terms, how our body clock works.

Zinc is thought to be a kind of circadian rhythm regulator, helping to adjust our body clock when its telling the wrong time. Studies have actually found that those who sleep less than five hours a night typically have lower zinc levels than those who sleep for longer durations.2

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When Is The Best Time To Take Multivitamins

Multivitamins can be trickier: They often contain both water- and fat-soluble vitamins. The best time to take a multivitamin is with food so any fat can help with absorption. You can also drink a water-based beverage to wash it all down, notes Dr. Perez-Gallardo. But the drawback is that your body wont absorb the water-soluble vitamins as well as fat-soluble ones.

The reverse is true when you take a multivitamin on an empty stomach with water your body cant properly absorb the fat-soluble vitamins. You could also end up with an upset stomach. So for full absorption, Dr. Perez-Gallardo recommends taking water- and fat-soluble vitamins separately.

When Is The Best Time Of Day To Take Prenatal Vitamins

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women may benefit from taking prenatal vitamins because of their extra requirement for essential nutrients. However, it is advised that pregnant women or those on medication check with a healthcare professional before taking vitamin or mineral supplements.
  • As with traditional multivitamins, prenatal vitamins are best taken in the morning and as part of your daily routine.

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How To Take It

You should take zinc with water or juice. If zinc causes stomach upset, it can be taken with meals. Don’t take zinc at the same time as iron or calcium supplements.

A strong relationship exists between zinc and copper. Too much of one can cause a deficiency in the other. If you take zinc, including zinc in a multivitamin, you should also take copper.

Do not give zinc supplements to a child without talking to your doctor.

Daily intake of dietary zinc are listed below:


  • Infants birth – 6 months: 2 mg
  • Infants 7 – 12 months: 3 mg
  • Children 1 – 3 years: 3 mg
  • Children 4 – 8 years: 5 mg
  • Children 9 – 13 years: 8 mg
  • Boys 14 – 18 years: 11 mg
  • Girls 14 – 18 years: 9 mg


  • Men 19 years and older: 11 mg
  • Women 19 years and older: 8 mg
  • Pregnant women 14 – 18 years: 12 mg
  • Pregnant women 19 years and older: 11 mg
  • Breastfeeding women 14 – 18 years: 13 mg
  • Breastfeeding women 19 years and older: 12 mg

You should not take high doses of zinc for more than a few days unless your doctor tells you to. Talk to your doctor before taking more than 40 mg of zinc per day and take breaks from zinc supplementation. During those breaks, get zinc from a well-balanced diet.

How To Take Vitamin C And Zinc Together

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According to Randall Wexler, MD, at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, taking an over-the-counter cold remedy probably won’t have much actual effect on your cold, but if it makes you feel better, that’s reason enough to go ahead and take it. Read the label on any cold remedy to make sure nothing in it will affect the medications you take on a daily basis.

Taking magnesium and vitamin C together can help ease the digestive issues like upset stomach and diarrhea that high doses of vitamin C can cause, according to the supplement experts at ConsumerLab. You can also take each supplement â such as magnesium, vitamin C and zinc â in separate lozenges, tablets or gel tabs rather than relying on a premixed cold remedy.

When choosing zinc, the benefits of zinc orotate vs. zinc picolinate are minute enough to make no real difference. Both are formulated to be absorbed quickly. The recommended dose of zinc is 8 milligrams for women and 11 mg for men. If you wish to take more in order to stave off or shorten a cold, take no more than 40 mg per day. Take 250 mg of vitamin C at breakfast and another 250 mg at lunch to keep your levels up all day.

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Should You Take Vitamins In The Morning Or At Night

To answer the first question right off the bat, the best time to take vitamins and supplements will largely depend on what vitamins youre taking. Not all vitamins are created equal. Moreover, when most people say vitamins, they really mean micro-nutrients that fall into both the vitamin and mineral categories.

Some of them you should take in the morning with a meal to maximize their absorption. Others are best taken in the evening before you go to bed. Lets talk about vitamins and minerals for each of the main groups youll find in the store:

Getting adequate levels of vitamins and iron are essential for a healthy immune system. Your immune system is your bodys natural defence against illness. If you are unable to meet your needs through food alone, supplementing with multivitamins in conjunction with Active Iron is an effective means of supporting your immune system.

Zinc Supplements: What To Know

There are numerous types of zinc supplements, including zinc gluconate, picolinate, acetate, and citrate, and various forms, such as lozenges, capsules, and drops.

According to the National Institutes of Health, routine zinc supplementation is not recommended without the advice of a health care professional. In addition to choosing the best form and dose , zinc can interact with certain medications, medical conditions, other supplements, and foods.

For example, zinc should not be inhaled through the nose, as this may cause permanent loss of smell. Zinc may decrease how much antibiotic the body absorbs from the gut. Supplemental zinc can reduce blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes, which may impact medication needs and blood sugar control. High-dose calcium supplements may decrease zinc absorption, and taking zinc sulfate with black coffee has been shown to reduce the minerals absorption by half.

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If You Take Iron Supplements

You absorb iron best on an empty stomach. Take it with water or, better yet, a citrus juice: Iron and vitamin C have a tag-team effect. If it makes you queasy, save it for right after a meal. But donât mix it with calcium or high-calcium foods — these interfere with iron. You wonât take in either one fully. Men and postmenopausal women should skip supplements with this mineral unless a doctor says otherwise. The average MVM has more than you need.


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