Wondering how long it will take before you start feeling the benefits of the vitamin supplements you are taking?
The answer to the question of how long it takes for vitamins to work depends on several things.
First of all, you need to define what “working” means for your specific case. Are you treating a vitamin deficiency that is making you feel run down or ill, or are you taking vitamins to ensure that you stay healthy, or do you have another reason?
If you have specific signs and symptoms of a vitamin deficiency, then noticing the difference after taking the prescribed or recommended dosage and type of vitamin supplements will be easier to notice, but it may take longer for them to appear.
If you are taking the supplements as a precaution to stay healthy and without specific symptoms or deficiencies, the chances are that the results of taking the vitamins will appear faster.
Vitamin supplements are generally absorbed by the human organism in just a few hours. So, they start acting almost immediately after intake. But the proper absorption of the vitamins differs from one person to another and depends on a number of different factors.
Read on to find out more about how long it takes for vitamins to work and which factors can affect their absorption, efficacy, and the noticeable results of taking vitamin supplements.
Whether you have a vitamin deficiency and what your deficiency levels are
If you have been tested and diagnosed with a specific vitamin deficiency, and have been prescribed vitamin supplements to treat the deficiency, then keep in mind that it can take a longer time to fill in the missing vitamins back into your body and to recover the normal and healthy vitamin levels.
So, taking vitamins as a precautionary measure will show results faster than if you are suffering from a deficiency.
The supplement form
Vitamin supplements come in different forms. The fastest-acting ones are the liquid vitamins, as compared to the capsules and tablets, which take more time to be absorbed entirely by the body.
On the other hand, experts claim that capsules and tablets are more precisely measured and contain limited dosages of vitamins, making them easier to accommodate the different needs. The powder or liquid vitamin supplements are harder to be accommodated to a specific case and need.
Plus, liquid and powder vitamins are often a mixture of different vitamins, minerals, and other ingredients, which cannot be separated, and in some cases, some of the components can even block the absorption of other vitamins in these types of supplements, making them virtually useless. So people with deficiencies should take several individual supplements instead.
The vitamin supplements, which come in the form of granules, are a better alternative because their minerals and vitamins are actually separated out, allowing for the complete absorption of the nutrients even if they are taken together.
The supplement quality
Since there are no federal regulations of the supplements sold in the USA, all vitamin, mineral, and herb supplements made and sold in the US are actually unregulated. The quality inspections and tests are optional and are up to the manufacturer, and so are the expenses associated with them. So, it makes sense to invest in supplements that have passed the quality tests, which the companies have invested in, to ensure that the supplements are efficient, safe, and will lead to the expected results.
The dosage of the supplements you are taking also affects their efficiency and the time it will take for the first results to show and for the vitamins to work.
Taking a smaller dosage, especially if you have a specific deficiency, can be inefficient, time-consuming, and expensive.
At the same time, taking an unreasonably large amount of vitamins can have harmful effects too.
So, stick to the recommendations of your doctor if you have a deficiency and to the instructions on the label if you are taking the vitamins as a precautionary measure to ensure that the vitamins start working as soon as possible.
Fat vs. water-soluble vitamins
Water-soluble vitamins are absorbed by the body much faster than fat-soluble ones, so they can start working faster than fat-soluble ones.
The fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, or E require fats from a capsule or fats from food in order to be absorbed by the tissues of the body. The fat-soluble vitamins remain stored in the body for longer than the water-soluble ones, so you may need smaller doses of the fat-soluble vitamins than the higher and more regular doses recommended for the water-soluble vitamins.
The combination of supplements
Most vitamins are interrelated when it comes to proper absorption and efficiency. Keep in mind that you may need to take another vitamin or mineral for your supplement to be absorbed and to start working. One well-known example is the vitamin D and Calcium relationship. Calcium is essential for the absorption of vitamin D, so if you have a vitamin D deficiency and are taking a vitamin D supplement, you may need to add a Calcium supplement or add more calcium-rich foods to your menu if you want the best results.
Other similar pairings exist between plant-based iron and vitamin C and between vitamin B6 and zinc.
So if you want the vitamins to start working as quickly as possible, make sure you are taking the right combinations of supplements or eating a suitable diet to promote the vitamin’s proper absorption.
Lifestyle choices and habits
Some habits, such as smoking and drinking alcohol, can deter the proper absorption of vitamin supplements and even cause malabsorption.
Caffeine, too, can hinder the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B6, so make sure that you take these supplements at least an hour before or after you drink coffee.
Other health issues you may have
Certain health conditions like IBS and some hormonal imbalances can also cause the vitamins’ malabsorption, so talk to your doctor about the proper dosage and the treatment of the underlying health conditions before proceeding to take vitamin supplements.
It would be best if you also discussed the causes of your deficiency and the possible treatment for it in order to get the best results from taking vitamins. In some cases, this can mean making changes in your diet, switching to another medication you are taking, or other.
How long should you keep taking the vitamins?
If you are taking vitamins in accordance with a recommendation or prescription by a doctor, then keep taking them for as long as recommended and until the deficiency is ruled out and the symptoms disappear. In some cases, the results of the supplement intake can start showing after a few days, but in others, it can take months.
If you are taking vitamin supplements as a precautionary measure, you should start noticing the vitamins working and the benefits of taking them within the first three months.
In any case, if you decide to stop taking the vitamins, make sure that you continue supplying your organism with the nutrients it needs by eating a healthy diet that includes these and other vitamins and minerals.
And remember that whatever supplements you take, are not replacements for a healthy and balanced diet.