How Long Does it Take for Multivitamins to Start Working?

If an athlete is only going to take one supplement to support them on their fitness journey, the vast majority of exercise professionals will recommend a multivitamin. 

This helps your body to close gaps in micronutrient deficiencies and helps your body to work more efficiently. But how long does it take for multivitamins to start working?

How Long Before Multivitamins Take Effect?

How Long Before Multivitamins Take Effect

The efficacy of a vitamin, and the moment when it is first noticed, can vary greatly between athletes. Why? Because the effects will be most notable based on how deficient their bodies are in that specific micronutrient. 

These deficiencies can be caused by a multitude of factors like diet, genetic factors, exercise protocol, and more.

For example, if an athlete is anemic and is low on iron, they may notice a multivitamin containing iron helps their energy levels to increase within only a couple of days. 

The same can be said for other metals like magnesium. Athletes that are magnesium deficient may find better sleep claims them within the first night or two after beginning to take a multivitamin that contains it.

In general, for the average healthy and able-bodied athlete that is not significantly deficient in any micronutrients, you can expect to see results within 3-6 weeks of regularly taking a multivitamin.

What Happens to Your Body When You Start Taking a Multivitamin?

What Happens to Your Body When You Start Taking a Multivitamin

Adding a multivitamin to your wellness regimen is likely to be a much less dramatic affair than adding something like a pre-workout stimulant. That said, you may still notice some minor changes.

It is possible that they can irritate the stomach, particularly if they aren’t taken with other foods. 

The most common culprit for this sensitivity is the inclusion of iron or zinc. If you find you may be sensitive to those, you can find multivitamins made specifically for sensitive stomachs, and they will not contain those metals. However, this can often simply be remedied by taking your daily vitamin with a meal to slow digestion.

Multivitamins round out the nutritional profile of your diet, and this can have many positive effects on your body. 

The most common effects that are noted are stabilized energy throughout the day (this can often be attributed to magnesium, iron, and B vitamins), clearer skin, and better quality sleep.

Do You Feel a Difference Taking Multivitamins?

Whether or not an athlete will feel a difference in their body when taking a multivitamin will depend on their body’s sensitivity as well as how well-rounded their diet was before. 

It is highly likely that most healthy adults will not notice a significant difference when adding a multivitamin to their wellness routine.

Differences that are noted are likely to be quite subtle: improved digestion, and more even energy levels throughout the day.

What Benefits Will You Experience from Taking a Multivitamin?

Benefits of Taking a Multivitamin

Adding a multivitamin to your diet can have many benefits for athletes:

  • The included antioxidants help you to fight off illnesses, which is incredibly important during high-stress training and activity.
  • A multivitamin supports cardiovascular function, which is great for muscle building and repair.
  • They can positively impact cognitive function, which will help with the mind-muscle connection during workouts, making them more efficient. [1]
  • Many of the micronutrients found in multivitamins help to increase bone density and strength, protecting an athlete’s body from injury. [2]
  • A multivitamin can help your body to achieve better quality sleep, which improves athletic performance and enhances recovery.

As mentioned before, these benefits can be very subtle or even undetectable for the person who is regularly eating a well-rounded and nutrient-rich diet. 

The benefits will be most notable to those that are most likely to be nutrient deficient, like those with allergies, on restrictive diets, or with genetic or biological factors that negatively impact their ability to metabolize some nutrients.

How Long Does a Multivitamin Stay in Your System?

A multivitamin, of course, is comprised of many different nutrients, and all of them will vary in the amount of time they stay in our system. 

Many vitamins, like vitamins B and C, are water-soluble, which means your body will naturally rid of them through the kidneys regularly throughout the day and can be gone in as little as 48 hours.

Other vitamins, like the fat-soluble like A, D, E, and K can say in the body much longer, most likely around 4 weeks for most healthy adults.

Should You Take a Multivitamin?

Those that are least likely to need a multivitamin will be those that are consciously eating an enriched, whole foods-based diet. A variety of protein sources, a mixture of colorful fruits and vegetables, sprouted nuts and seeds, and high-quality dairy is likely to cover all the bases.

While it would be great for every meal to be nutritionally complete every day, likely, that is not the case for many of us. Adding a multivitamin to the mix can be helpful to bridge the gap in our micronutrient intake during the moments when life gets too busy to eat perfectly. 

They can also be beneficial to athletes that are on strict training diets around competitions, as diets for peak muscle performance can sometimes lack micronutrients.

Multivitamin Pros

  • Bridges nutritional gaps
  • Beneficial for athletes on strict diets
  • Helps those with busy schedules
  • Don’t have to micro-manage diet

Multivitamin Cons

  • Not a substitute for good nutrition
  • Likely won’t feel much difference
  • Those with well-rounded diets don’t necessarily need it


A multivitamin is a great addition to any athlete’s fitness program. A well-rounded diet supplemented with a multivitamin will assist the body in creating and maintaining a healthy body long term. 

Consider exploring a multivitamin that caters to your specific body’s needs, based on factors like your age and biological sex.

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