Tips For Incorporating Vitamins Into Your Daily Life

One in three Americans takes a multivitamin every day, according to information published on the Harvard Health Publishing website. Many of them do because they've read somewhere that you need a multivitamin to stay healthy or have more energy — or because the wording on the bottle suggests it might be good for your heart or your immune system.

This isn't necessarily true for everybody, though. A 2022 evidence report published in The Journal of the American Medical Association showed that you likely won't live longer or avoid heart disease just by taking a multivitamin. But for many people, a multivitamin might be a way to supplement micronutrient deficiencies. For example, those with a restricted diet (low carb, no dairy products, vegan), the elderly, and pregnant women might lack certain nutrients. This could also be the case for people with health conditions like celiac disease or Inflammatory bowel disease (which affect the absorption of certain nutrients) and those eating a poor diet (via WebMD). 

And while a well-balanced diet with healthy, nutritious grains, fruits, and vegetables is the ideal way to get all your nutrients, this isn't always possible — and this is where multivitamins come in. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, a daily multivitamin supplement could potentially serve as a form of "insurance" for those who aren't meeting their nutritional requirements through diet alone. In short, keep eating your veggies, but it's fine to take your multivitamins too if you need them.

Have a plan in place

Keep your vitamin regimen simple so you're less likely to forget to take them. The easiest way to do this is to choose a multivitamin, so you only have to take one pill a day. If you suspect you might have a specific deficiency (like low levels of vitamin B12 or vitamin D), WebMD recommends talking to your doctor about having a blood test to confirm those suspicions. Until then, just stick to a single multivitamin — this will ensure you don't accidentally end up taking too many supplements, which could cause side effects, including kidney and liver toxicity.  

Next, make sure you make vitamins a fixed part of your schedule. Some people prefer to take them in the morning with breakfast, but there's no set rule that says you should do that. Are you more likely to remember them at night, just before you go to bed? Then make that your "vitamin time." Either way, Healthline recommends not taking them on an empty stomach as this can lead to gastrointestinal distress (aka an upset stomach) for some people. Plus, taking your vitamins with food helps with absorption, so it's a win-win.

Having a hard time remembering? Set an alarm on your phone. You might only need to do this for a few days (or weeks) until it becomes a routine. Bonus points if you use the opportunity to always take them with a healthy snack, like a piece of fruit or a yummy salad.

Make it easy to remember your vitamins

Are you still having a hard time remembering to take your multivitamin? Keep them in a place where you'll see them easily. Here's the tricky part, though: The kitchen and the bathroom are likely not the best places to store vitamins. According to Medical News Today, heat, moisture, and light can all affect supplements, so it's best to store them in a cool, dry place away from direct light instead. It's up to you to decide what that is — a dresser drawer or your night table could work, as long as you remember they're there when it's time to take them.

In case you were tempted, the fridge is likely not a good choice either. In a video for WebMD, Registered Dietitian Carolyn O'Neil explains that "going from cold temperatures to room temperatures and back again can cause condensation." 

If you have kids or pets at home, make sure your multivitamins are up high so they can't be easily reached. Don't trust the safety lock — a determined dog can chew through the bottle and get into a lot of trouble. A higher shelf in a closet is safer than your night table if you share your home with curious fingers (or paws). 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends disposing of expired or unused multivitamins and drugs by flushing them down the toilet, discarding them safely into the garbage (placing them into a sealable container first), or taking them to a drug "take-back" program at your local pharmacy or hospital.