Some people may choose to combine their supplements and take them at the same time for convenience, but did you know that some supplements may actually absorb better and work synergistically when taken at the same time?
Mindfully combining nutrients and botanical products may improve their health benefits. Additionally, taking a vitamin, mineral or herbal supplement, with a healthy diet may also be the best way to reduce some of the side effects related to prescription medication use and avoid nutrient depletion. (Note that medications interactions should always be kept in mind)
Combining for Convenience
Taking all your supplements at once may help eliminate the need to keep track of supplements throughout the day, but keep in mind that it may also have the following limitations:
Reducing absorbability due to high nutrient load
Undermining the efficacy of a nutrient that the body needs at a specific time of day
Some supplements have a "best time for action" window like melatonin
Taking a combination of supplements on an empty stomach may cause gastrointestinal discomfort
Combining for Absortability
Some nutrients absorb better when they enter the gastrointestinal system combined with other supportive nutrients. The advantages of this specific type of nutrient combination include, but are not limited to:
Need for smaller amounts
Vitamin C and Iron
Vitamin C aids in the absorption of an iron supplement that is from plant-based sources, such as leafy green vegetables and legumes. It helps to break down plant-based iron, making it easier for our bodies to absorb. This is important because plant-based iron is not as easily absorbed as meat-based iron. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant, which means it helps to protect our cells from damage. So, not only does vitamin C help us to absorb more iron, but it also helps to protect the body from the oxidizing effects of iron. A lack of vitamin C can lead to a decrease in the absorption of iron. (1)
While combining iron supplements with orange juice may support their absorption, for those with moderate to severe iron deficiency, iron-rich foods and nutritional sources of vitamin C may not be the best approach as they take a long time to accumulate the needed iron in the body. This means that they are less likely to promptly satisfy the body's nutrient needs. vitamin supplementation is a faster approach, especially when done daily.
Vitamin C and Bioflavonoids
Target Absorbability to Avoid Side Effects
While combining magnesium and calcium is a form of nutrient combination that falls under the category of combining for absorption, adding vitamin K2 to the mix changes the dynamic and targets absorbability even further.
Magnesium and Calcium
Vitamin K2 and Calcium
There are a few reasons why it's important to take Vitamin K2 with calcium. Most may not consider that un-combined, calcium supplements may cause health issues and lead to the accumulation of calcium in areas of the body where it is not naturally found.
First, Vitamin K2 helps to direct calcium to the bones, where it is needed, and away from the arteries, where it can cause problems.
Second, calcium can block the absorption of Vitamin K2, so taking them together ensures that you get the most benefit from both nutrients.
Finally, Vitamin K2 has been shown to help improve bone health and reduce the risk of fractures. (5)
Combining for Functional Synergy
Vitamin D and Zinc
Sometimes nutrients can have overlapping functions that help target a health issue from a different dimension. For example, research has shown that synergy exists between vitamin D and zinc in supporting the immune system. Both Vitamin D deficiency and zinc deficiency have been linked to poor immune health. When combined, these nutrients are more effective in preventing infection than when used separately. In addition, both vitamin D and zinc are important for healthy bones and teeth. (6)
Selenium and CoQ10
Selenium is a mineral that is found in many foods, including Brazil nuts, seafood, and poultry. Selenium is also available in dietary supplements. Coenzyme Q 10 (CoQ 10 ) is a natural antioxidant that is found in the body. CoQ 10 helps to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Studies have shown that CoQ 10 may help to support heart health. Selenium may also help to support heart health. The combination of coQ 10 and selenium may help to protect the heart from damage caused by free radicals. (7)
Combining for Effect Amplification
Nattokinase and CoQ10
Silica and Folic Acid
Silica and folic acid are two important nutrients for vascular health. Silica helps keep blood vessels healthy and elastic by maintaining the collagen in their walls, while folic acid helps to prevent the build-up of homocysteine, a harmful compound that can damage blood vessels. When taken together, silica and folic acid provide a synergistic effect that helps to maintain cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of coronary artery disease. (10)
Black Seed Oil & Oil of Oregano
Combining for Body-System Activation
Another way of combining nutrients to boost absorbability is to include a substance that activates a body system, leading to better function and higher absorbability. This method of combination can be utilized by individuals who may be aware that they have some form of organ function alteration.
Black Seed Oil and Fat Soluble Vitamins
Greens and Bone-Support Supplements
Safety is Important
When it comes to vitamins and supplements, more is not always better. It's important to check with a healthcare provider before taking any supplement, especially if you have a medical condition. Treatments for some medical conditions can reduce the tolerance for certain nutrients.
Supplements can interact with medications, and certain vitamin combinations can be dangerous. For example, people with diabetes should be careful about taking supplements that contain chromium, since this can affect blood sugar levels. Likewise, pregnant women need to be cautious about taking vitamin A supplements, as too much vitamin A can lead to birth defects. (12, 13)
So before you start popping pills, be sure to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure that you're taking the right supplements for your individual needs.
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