When should I take a vitamin D supplement?

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No doubt about it, vitamin D has risen to the ranks of nutritional superstardom. But you need to give this talent the red carpet treatment to really get a good show.

What does that mean? Research suggests this nutrient will perform best if you take it during your biggest meal of the day -- be it breakfast, lunch or dinner.

About three-quarters of us are deficient in vitamin D. Too bad, because a growing body of research links this nutrient to an amazing list of health benefits, such as lower blood pressure, stronger bones, better immunity and possibly even a lower risk of heart disease and certain cancers. One easy way to get your D is to spend some time outside each day; just 10 to 20 minutes of sun during peak hours is all you need. But a supplement is a great backup plan. And when researchers examined D-deficient middle-aged and older adults, they found that pairing the supplement with the largest meal of their day -- rather than small meals, snacks or an empty stomach -- doubled the participants' blood levels.

Fortunately, the increase in blood levels was consistent, regardless of the type (cholecalciferol vs. ergocalciferol) or form (solid vs. oil based) of supplement taken.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.