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Dietary Supplements and Anti-Stress Herbal Extracts are Among the #1 Supplements to Never Take in the Morning, Says Doctor

Learn four supplements not to take first thing in the morning and why. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Supplements are a big business and the demand continues to increase. According to Fortune Business Insights, "The global dietary supplements market is projected to grow from $71.81 billion in 2021 to $128.64 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 8.68% in forecast period." With health officials advising to take certain vitamins like C, D zinc to stay healthy during the pandemic, COVID has impacted the industry in a positive way. 

However, long before the pandemic millions of Americans have turned to supplements for a variety of reasons such as vitamin deficiencies, weight loss, cognitive health and more. "More than 4 in 5 American adults (86 percent) take vitamins or supplements, according to a recent online survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of the American Osteopathic Association. However, only about a quarter (24 percent) of those taking vitamins or supplements received test results indicating they have a nutritional deficiency." No matter what the reason is for taking supplements, knowing when to take them is vital. 

Taking vitamins can be a great way to enhance your nutritional needs, but there's a right and wrong way to do it. You can't fully absorb supplements if they're taken incorrectly and the time of day in which you pop a supplement can make a big difference. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with health experts who explain which supplements to avoid in the morning and why. As always, please consult with your physician or pharmacist for medical advice. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Why the Time of Day Matters with Supplements


Dr. Suzanne Soliman, PharmD, BCMAS & Founder of Pharmacist Moms Group, Chief Health Officer, ACMA, NJ Board of Health Member says, "Under typical conditions, supplements can be taken any time of the day; however, some supplements are better absorbed under certain conditions and the time of the day is one of them. In addition, Certain supplements may assist with sleeping and therefore are better taken at night while others may be optimal in the morning since digestion slows down in the evening and they may not be fully absorbed."

Kelly Johnson-Arbor, MD, FACEP, FUHM, FACMT Medical Toxicologist and Co-Medical Director at the National Capital Poison Center adds, "Some supplements can affect sleep or wakefulness. So it's important to talk with your doctor or pharmacist about the best time of day to take dietary supplements."


Anti-Stress Herbal Extracts

Smiling woman taking a pill.

 Dr. Michael Hirt, a Board Certified Nutrition from Harvard University and Board Certified in Internal Medicine and is with The Center for Integrative Medicine in Tarzana California emphasizes, "Stress is an incredibly potent human toxin. In my 25 years of clinical experience, nothing will make you sicker quicker than an unchecked stress response.  Given the pandemic boosted anxiety levels that many are experiencing, stress-busting herbal formulas are gaining popularity. 

While most people know not to drink 'SleepyTime' or Valerian tea on the commute to work, consumers may not realize that many anti-stress supplements contain herbs that may induce sleep when you need to be alert and focused at work or school.  You may not want to be stressed out, but stumbling around in a stupor is also not a great look in the office or classroom.  Look to avoid ingesting these popular anti-stress, herbal extracts at the start of your day: kava kava, German chamomile, kanna, holy basil, California poppy, and passionflower."


Dietary Supplements

Woman holding pills in her hands.

Dr. Johnson-Arbor explains, "Dietary supplements that contain melatonin are commonly used to improve sleep-wake cycles and to enhance sleep quality. Melatonin is produced naturally in our bodies in response to darkness, but some people are unable to produce enough melatonin, and others may not produce it at the correct time. For those individuals, melatonin supplements may be helpful. Since melatonin works best for sleep quality when it's taken a few hours before bedtime, it's best to not take melatonin in the morning as this may reduce its effectiveness."

Mayo Clinic states, "Your body likely produces enough melatonin for its general needs. However, evidence suggests that melatonin supplements promote sleep and are safe for short-term use. Melatonin can be used to treat delayed sleep phase and circadian rhythm sleep disorders in the blind and provide some insomnia relief. Treat melatonin as you would any sleeping pill and use it under your doctor's supervision."


Fat Soluble Vitamins A, D, E, and K

woman taking dose of medicine while sitting on bed

Lisa Richards, a nutritionist and author of the Candida Diet says, "It is a little known fact that timing is a key factor in the efficacy of many supplements and can contribute to side effects, or lack thereof. Some supplements are recommended to be taken later in the day while others should be relegated to the mornings. While it is recommended that water soluble vitamins be taken in the morning, fat soluble vitamins are best taken later in the day. 

The solubility of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K is impacted by how much fat has been consumed during or near the time they are taken. It is generally understood that taking these vitamins first thing in the morning can lower their bioavailability as there has been little time to consume an adequate amount of dietary fat to aid in their absorption. If you must take any fat soluble vitamin first thing in the morning it is recommended to be taken with a snack or meal rich in healthy fats."



magnesium pills

Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD tells us, "When it comes to taking supplements there are a few unwritten guidelines to follow to get the optimum value and benefits and avoid potential negative side effects. These typically apply to the time of day, foods consumed around the same time, and supplement pairings. Taking your supplements as part of your morning routine can be a great way to remember to take them. However, some supplements shouldn't be taken in the morning for various reasons, but one in particular should be postponed until the end of the day; magnesium. This mineral is known to have a sleep aid type effect and taking it in the morning may cause drowsiness. This is due to magnesiums interaction with the parasympathetic nervous system whereby it causes the brain and body to enter a state of relaxation."

Dr. Soliman adds, "Magnesium is a supplement that should not be taken in the morning. It can relax the body and is typically used to help calm a person to help them sleep longer and better; therefore, taking magnesium in the morning is not optimal. "

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather