6 Supplements to Avoid Taking on an Empty Stomach

by Melissa Chichester

You wake up, shuffle to the cabinet, pop a multivitamin, and start the day. Right?

Not necessarily. 

Taking supplements on an empty stomach can cause discomfort for some people (especially those with sensitive stomachs). Furthermore, some nutrients actually absorb better when they are taken with food. 

If you want to make the most of your supplement and avoid feeling queasy, here are 6 supplements to avoid taking on an empty stomach. 


Multivitamins contain water-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins. So your body can absorb both, it is important to prepare by drinking liquids and eating a snack (or a meal) first. Plus, some nutrients in multivitamins are acidic in nature, such as Vitamin C. Taking a multivitamin with food may help you avoid an upset stomach from these types of vitamins. 

>>Multivitamins For Every Life Stage

Fat-soluble vitamins 

Fat-soluble vitamins are best absorbed when they are consumed with fat. For example, when you’re taking your daily Vitamin D supplement, it will absorb better when eaten with a healthy fat like avocado. 

Other fat-soluble vitamins include Vitamins A, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K. 

>>The Two Best Times to Take Vitamin D


Probiotics provide friendly bacteria for the digestive system.* Plus, we need good bacteria to help our bodies absorb vitamins and other nutrients effectively. Taking probiotics on an empty stomach may increase the chances of stomach acid destroying healthy bacteria. To make the most of your probiotic supplement, take it with food. 

Fish oil 

Fish oil contains beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. One reason people avoid taking fish oil supplements is because of regurgitation or burping up the fish oil. Taking your fish oil supplement with a high-fat meal can help your body better absorb these fatty acids. It also helps cut down on regurgitation and burping. 


Echinacea is a popular herb that that has been traditionally used to support immune health.* American Family Physician recommends taking echinacea with food or a glass of water to avoid an upset stomach.

Co Q10 

Co Q-10 is an essential component of health, as it is needed by every cell in the body. Co Q-10 acts as an antioxidant in the body as it fights free radicals.* Free radicals can cause oxidative stress, which may damage cells. To best absorb this impressive antioxidant, it is best to take it with a meal or healthy fats. 

How the body responds to supplements will look different for everyone. Your friend might have no problem taking a multivitamin on an empty stomach, and you may experience discomfort. You know your body better than anyone else and should always discuss a personal decision like taking supplements with your doctor. Your doctor will also be able to give you tips on how to make the most of your nutritional supplements.