Published on January 21, 2022

Video Friday: Dr. Susan Brown answers some of the most common questions people have about how and when to take nutrient supplements

Key Points

  • Some supplements may be better taken early in the day and some in the evening
  • It is important to read your supplement label to make sure you are storing and taking supplements correctly
  • There are several tips to help make it easier to take your supplements on a daily basis – see below!

Today’s featured video answers some of the most common questions people ask about taking supplements, such as “Should I take vitamins with food,” “Should they be taken at certain times of day,” “Are there any nutrients that shouldn’t be taken together for fear of competition,” and “What can I do if taking pills is too difficult for me?” All of these questions and more are answered by Dr. Susan Brown of BetterBones.com.

Watch the Video

After watching the video, be sure to make note of the details below.

Taking Nutrient Supplements: Common Questions Answered

Should you take your vitamins with or without food?

It is good to take many nutrient supplements with food, due to better digestion and absorption, especially since they are meant to ‘supplement’ the foods we eat! Studies do show that more vitamin D is absorbed when it is taken with a fatty meal, and the same is likely true for all fat-soluble vitamins.

Note: Some supplements are intended to be taken on an empty stomach or before meals. It is important to check the label directions just to be sure.

When should you take supplements? Should some be taken at certain times of day?

Supplements can be taken at any time of the day. Certain supplements are better taken earlier in the day because of their energizing effect (such as those containing B vitamins or green tea extracts that contain caffeine) and some are better taken at bedtime because of their calming and relaxing effect (such as magnesium and melatonin).

Are there any nutrients that shouldn’t be taken together for fear of competition?

Some nutrients may compete, but the competition is very little. Remember that nutrients are found naturally in combination in foods.

Note: Some studies have shown that taking high doses of certain vitamins that compete with vitamin D, such as Vitamin A in the form of retinol or retinyl palmitate (not beta-carotene), can cause a reduction in vitamin D levels.

Are some nutrients better taken as a powder or liquid?

Some supplements have the flexibility to be taken as a liquid (such as fish oils) or powder (such as vitamin C) which may benefit individuals with weak digestion. These products are packaged to be carefully preserved, however, it is important to be mindful of potentially harmful additives, fillers, and binders more likely to be found in such products.

What do I do if the pills are too big for me?

Pills can be broken up with a pill crusher, smashed or ground, or can be mixed with water and added into smoothies. Many have a different taste, so experimentation may be necessary to see which are tolerable to taste.

Note: Some nutrients can be absorbed through the skin in generous amounts, such as topical vitamin D and magnesium Epsom salt baths.

Additional Tips

– Always check the supplement label to make sure you are storing and taking them correctly, and taking the right serving size!

– It’s a good idea to start a new supplement slowly so that you can see how your body responds; some supplements may cause certain side effects (mostly digestive), so starting early can make them easier to identify and correct before any issue reaches its worst

– The body needs every nutrient on a daily basis; some nutrients are not stored in the body and need to be replenished every day or even throughout the day

Are You Getting and Absorbing Enough Nutrients for Your Health?

Having and maintaining healthy vitamin D levels and other nutrient levels can help improve your health now and for your future. Choose which to measure, such as your vitamin D, omega-3s, and essential minerals including magnesium and zinc, by creating your custom home test kit today. Take steps to improve the status of each of these measurements to benefit your overall health. You can also track your own intakes, symptoms and results to see what works best for YOU.

Enroll and test your levels today, learn what steps to take to improve your status of vitamin D (see below) and other nutrients and blood markers, and take action! By enrolling in the GrassrootsHealth projects, you are not only contributing valuable information to everyone, you are also gaining knowledge about how you could improve your own health through measuring and tracking your nutrient status, and educating yourself on how to improve it.

What Does it Take YOU to Get Your D to 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L)?

Did you know your health could be greatly affected by making sure you have a vitamin D level of at least 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L)? Help us help you.

STEP 1 - Do you know what your vitamin D level is? If not, be sure to test today to find out.

STEP 2 – Determine your target level. Are you at your target level? Experts recommend a level of at least 40-60 ng/ml (100-150 nmol/L).

STEP 3 – Need to boost your level? Use the D*calculator to see how much vitamin D it may take to reach your target. Opt for the Loading Dose for a quicker boost.

STEP 4 – Optimize how your body absorbs and utilizes vitamin D with co-nutrients and these simple steps.

STEP 5 – Re-Test! This is an important step to make sure you have reached your target level, and to ensure you are not taking too much! Re-testing after 3-4 months is recommended.

STEP 6 – Adjust, Repeat…

Give your immune system the nutrients it needs to support a healthy you and protect yourself from unnecessary diseases, especially COVID-19.


The first Randomized Controlled Trial on vitamin D and COVID-19 has shown a 96% lower risk of ICU admission for those receiving vitamin D (as 25(OH)D to quickly boost vitamin D blood levels) along with the standard treatment, compared to those receiving standard treatment alone.

These results support many previous observational studies showing a relationship between vitamin D levels and intake and COVID-19 severity.

Review the Latest Nutrient Research for COVID-19

GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute has launched the new Immune Boost project with the use of our myData-myAnswers nutrient health system that nearly 15,000 people are already using for their health. Specific markers that influence immune health are suggested for testing as part of this project including:

  • Vitamin D
  • Omega-3 Index
  • Essential elements magnesium, selenium, and zinc
  • hsCRP

Our goal is to demonstrate how one can use the Nutrient Research Model established by Dr. Robert Heaney to show the effect of vitamin D serum levels of at least 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L) on risk reduction for all ethnicities in the population. Status and intake of other nutrients will also be analyzed for any type of relationship to immune status and symptom severity. Join the project today!

Please let us know if you're interested in helping sponsor this project.

CLICK HERE for updates and new information about the project.

Through GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute, you can also test your essential elements magnesium, copper, zinc and selenium, toxins such as lead, mercury and cadmium, as well as your omega-3 levels, inflammation levels and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level. Find out your levels today! Log on to the test selection page (click the link below) to get your tests and see for yourself if your levels can be improved.

Make sure you track your results before and after, about every 6 months!

Click Here to Access the Test Page

How can I track my nutrient intake and levels over time?

To help you track your supplement use and nutrient levels, GrassrootsHealth has created the Personal Health Nutrient Decision System called

For each specific supplement, you can track what days you take it, how much, and many other details.  This will help you know your true supplemental intake and what patterns of use work for you to reach and maintain optimum nutrient levels. Check it out today!