Vitamin D plays a vital role in building strong bones and generally maintaining good health. For most adults, the recommended daily intake is 600 IU, which you can get from exposure to the sun and through certain foods. However, some people may need to supplement in order to stave off symptoms of D deficiency, including fatigue, bone pain, muscle aches, and mood changes. But if you want to make sure your vitamin D is properly absorbed, does it matter when you take it?
Generally, it’s best to take vitamin D with your fattiest meal of the day, Kristin Gillespie, MS, RD, CNSC, an advisor for Exercise With Style, told POPSUGAR. She explained that, because vitamin D is fat-soluble, this will enhance absorption of the supplement. One study found that absorption of vitamin D was 32 percent higher when paired with a high-fat meal. Specifically, the participants ate a meal rich in monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), which can be found in foods like almonds, avocado, chia seeds, and olive oil.
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Gillespie also suggests taking vitamin D and other fat-soluble supplements, such as vitamins A, E, and K, separately. Fat-soluble vitamins can reduce absorption of other fat-soluble vitamins when taken simultaneously, because they compete for the same receptors.
Remember, if you’re ever concerned about whether you’re getting an adequate balance of nutrients, talk to your doctor. They can check your vitamin D levels with a simple blood test and help you make any necessary changes to your diet, including supplementation if that seems like the right course of action.