How Long Do Vitamins Stay In Your System?

Feb 22, 2023 FAQs 8 MIN

How Long Do Vitamins Stay In Your System?

Quick Health Scoop

  • How long vitamins stay in your system depends on whether they are fat-soluble or water-soluble and many other factors.
  • Because of the differences in how long each vitamin stays in your system, focusing on meeting your daily needs is an easy way to make sure you are getting what you need.
  • Certain factors like aging and pregnancy increase your need for certain vitamins.

If you’re not getting the recommended dietary intake of any essential vitamin, your body will eventually run out. How much time that takes depends on how each nutrient is absorbed, stored, and used. To complicate matters, the amount you need depends on things like your age and your daily activities.

You may not know if you’re getting all your nutrients, but a daily multivitamin helps  bridge any nutrient gaps that may be missing from your diet and simplifies your nutrition. You can think of a daily multi as insurance to help meet your nutritional needs.

It depends on fat-soluble vs water-soluble vitamins

One of the most important factors for how long vitamins stay in your system is whether the vitamin is water-soluble or fat-soluble.

Water-soluble vitamins dissolve easily in water which is important because your body, tissues, and cells are made of mostly water. When you consume these vitamins, your body absorbs as much as it needs and then any extra is simply flushed out. Water-soluble vitamins are easily depleted, so they may need to be resupplied more frequently than fat soluble vitamins.

The water-soluble vitamins include Vitamin C  and B-complex Vitamins. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) set by the Food and Nutrition Board for adults 19 years and older are listed here:

  • Vitamin C: 90 mg for men, 75 mg for women
  • Folate (vitamin B9): 400 mcg (in dietary folate equivalents)
  • Thiamin (vitamin B1): 1.2 mg for men, 1.1 mg for women
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 1.3 mg for men, 1.1 mg for women
  • Niacin: 16 mg for men, 14 mg for women (in niacin equivalents)
  • Pantothenic Acid (vitamin B5): 5 mg
  • Biotin (vitamin B7): 30 mcg
  • Vitamin B6: 1.7 mg for men, 1.5 mg for women
  • Vitamin B12: 2.4 mcg

You can see the large differences in how much of each water-soluble vitamin you need, and it doesn’t necessarily affect how long each vitamin stays in your system.

For example, the RDA for Vitamin C is 90 mg for adult men, and 75 mg for adult women.[1] Since Vitamin C is used up in so many different processes, it only takes as little as one month of eating little to no Vitamin C for your levels to be depleted.[1]

Now, take a look at Pantothenic Acid, also known as Vitamin B5. The RDA is 5 mg for all adults.[2] The only people known to have ever developed a deficiency in Pantothenic Acid were fed research diets that contained almost no Pantothenic Acid.[2]  So, even though you need much less Vitamin B5 than Vitamin C, your body is extremely good at holding on to it and it stays in your system for a  long time.

Learn more: What Do Vitamins Do In The Body

Fat-soluble vitamins, on the other hand, are not easily dissolved in water. Because of this, fat-soluble vitamins generally stay in your body longer than water-soluble vitamins. By extension, getting certain fat-soluble vitamins like too much Vitamin A or Vitamin D in excess  can build up in your body.[3][4]

Here are the fat-soluble vitamins and their RDA:

  • Vitamin A: 900 mcg for men, and 700 mcg for women (in retinol activity equivalents)
  • Vitamin E: 15 mg
  • Vitamin D: 600 IU (15 mcg) (for adults aged 19 to 69)
  • Vitamin K: 120 mcg for men, 90 mcg for women

With such differences between vitamins, it’s hard to know how to supplement to account for how long each vitamin stays in your system.  You can rest assured that simply aiming to get 100% of the RDA for every vitamin every day will set you up for success.

Multivitamins take into account how long each vitamin stays in your system and how much you need on a daily basis. So, if you are wondering “Should I take a multivitamin everyday?”, the answer might not surprise you!

How do I know when it’s the right time to take vitamins?

The best time to take vitamins is when it fits best into your schedule. Your body can absorb vitamins day and night, so the timing of your daily vitamin ritual depends on your lifestyle. Most nutrients are best absorbed with food, so you should take your multivitamin with a large meal, like lunch or dinner.

Making your vitamins a part of your daily routine, either in the morning or the nighttime, helps make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need to take  each day. The only supplement that works is the one you remember to take!

Some vitamins and minerals are better absorbed together. Vitamin D can help improve Calcium absorption to support bone health.[5] Another example is how Vitamin C aids in Iron absorption.[1][6]

Other combinations — like Iron and Calcium — can interfere with each other, albeit only to a small extent.[6][7] If you have a medical reason to maximize your absorption of these kinds of nutrients, you may need to take some supplements at different times. The label on your vitamin supplements will guide you in any specific considerations, so make sure to take them according to the instructions and seek the advice of a health professional when you need to.

Know that multivitamins are formulated with these factors in mind, so you don’t have to necessarily worry about how long vitamins stay in your system. You can trust that every time you take your daily multivitamin is a good time to take it.

Do I have to keep taking vitamins?

All vitamins have to be consumed on a regular basis because of the length of time that each vitamin stays in your system. Higher vitamin doses can sometimes be used to meet your needs, but generally, you absorb more from lower doses delivered in daily amounts.

Vitamin needs will vary throughout life and depending on certain circumstances, as well. Factors like aging, pregnancy, and certain conditions can increase the amount of nutrients you need.

Even if you’re eating a healthy, balanced diet, you might not be getting all of your essential nutrients.

Learn more: Why We’re Not Getting The Nutrients We Need

If your body needs more vitamins (such as during pregnancy) and getting all those nutrients through your food is a challenge, then you may need to take vitamins consistently in order to achieve your nutrition goals. That’s why, for example, prenatal and postnatal vitamins provide the specific nutrients you and your growing baby need.

As you age, natural changes in the way your body digests, absorbs, and uses key vitamins mean that certain nutrients must be paid special attention. Many people may need to keep taking vitamin supplements into their golden years to make sure they’re getting the proper amounts of nutrients.

Guidelines indicate that people need more of these nutrients in their golden years:[7]

  • Vitamin B12: Absorption declines with age so you have to get more to keep up with your needs. However, the target for older adults remains the same — 2.4 mcg — so talk with your healthcare provider about whether you should consider supplementation.[7]
  • Calcium: Increasing from the recommended 1000mg of intake in earlier adult years, women need 1200 mg daily starting after the age of 50, and men need that much starting at the age of 70.[8]
  • Vitamin D: Needs increase from 600 IU to 800 IU daily after the age of 70. [4]
  • Vitamin B6: Needs increase from 1.3 mg to 1.7 mg for men and 1.5 mg for women 50 and over.

Even though Calcium is a mineral and not a vitamin, you can see that the importance of getting enough of certain nutrients only grows as you age.

Paying attention to your changing needs for each vitamin and mineral would be a challenge, even without the other demands in your life. That’s why Nature Made’s Men's Multivitamin 50+ Tablets and Women's Multivitamin 50+ Tablets are formulated to provide daily nutritional support that take into account  how long vitamins stay in your system as an older adult and the unique requirements for older adults. Leave it to Nature Made to take the guesswork out of your vitamin regimen!

Adding a daily supplement can help fill any gaps between how much you need and what you’re eating. Nature Made’s line of multivitamins with mineral supplements for the whole family includes Multivitamin Tablets with Iron, Multi + Omega 3 For Him Gummies, and your Kids First® Multivitamin Gummies.

Learn more: The Difference Between Vitamins and Minerals (new article)

Tips to Get Your Daily Vitamins

In order to thrive, you have to make sure your body has what it needs. Keep these tips in mind to live your best!

  • Eat a balanced, varied diet full of colorful fruit and veggies, healthy fats, and quality proteins.
  • Talk with your healthcare professional to see if you need more of certain vitamins or minerals on a daily basis.
  • How long vitamins last in your system depends on the vitamin and the person, so focus on remembering your daily multivitamin supplement instead of focusing on individual nutrients.
  • Make your vitamin supplement a part of your daily ritual: the best time to take your vitamins is when it works well with your schedule!

Learn More About Multivitamins:

† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


  1. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). Vitamin C overview for health professionals. Published March 26, 2021. Accessed February 6, 2023.
  2. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). Pantothenic acid overview for health professionals. Published March 26, 2021. Accessed February 6, 2023.
  3. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). Vitamin A overview for health professionals. Published June 15, 2022. Accessed February 6, 2023.
  4. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). Vitamin D overview for health professionals. Published August 12, 2022. Accessed February 6, 2023.
  5. Christakos S, Dhawan P, Porta A, Mady LJ, Seth T. Vitamin D and intestinal calcium absorption. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2011 Dec 5;347(1-2):25-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2011.05.038. Epub 2011 Jun 1. PMID: 21664413; PMCID: PMC3405161.
  6. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). Iron overview for health professionals. Published April 5, 2022. Accessed February 6, 2023.
  7. U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at
  8. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). Calcium overview for health professionals. Published October 6, 2022. Accessed February 6, 2023.


Detrick Snyder, MPH, RD

NatureMade Contributor

Detrick Snyder, MPH, RD is a Denver-based dietitian who brings expertise in clinical research, public health, and evidence-based food-as-medicine practices to provide the most relevant, accurate, and actionable content possible. He especially loves working alongside organizations with a mission for better health. Find him at

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Sandra Zagorin, MS, RD

Science and Health Educator

As a member of the Medical and Scientific Communications team, Sandra educates healthcare professionals and consumers on nutrition, supplements, and related health concerns. Prior to joining Pharmavite, Sandra worked as a clinical dietitian at University of Chicago Medicine in the inpatient and outpatient settings. Sandra received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Science, with minors in Spanish and Chemistry from the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. She earned her Master of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition from RUSH University in Chicago, IL. As part of her Master’s program, Sandra performed research on physical activity participation and correlates in urban Hispanic women.

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