Which vitamins should not be taken together? If you take medication, you may know that certain substances interact in the body or interfere with each other, but is this true for vitamins? Since many of us take supplements to support our health and well-being, it can sometimes be confusing to see medical experts disagreeing on the value of some of these dietary boosters. How safe are they? Is there anything we should know?
We spoke to some medical experts to get their thoughts on which vitamins you might want to avoid combining and how they interact with each other to sometimes cause problems. If you live in a colder climate, we’ve also rounded up the best vitamin d supplements to help you get through the winter months.
Should we take vitamins?
Although we should rely primarily on a healthy, balanced diet to maintain good health, sometimes we may need to take a vitamin supplement to ensure we are getting enough vitamins. This is of particular concern if you have any of the the most common vitamin deficiencies.
Dr Sarah Brewer, General Practitioner and Medical Director of Lifetime (opens in a new tab) tells us more about why you might want to take a vitamin supplement. “By definition, vitamins are essential for life because we cannot produce all of them in the body (eg vitamin C) or in sufficient quantities to meet our needs (eg vitamin D),” she says. . “Diet should always come first, but national food and nutrition studies show that a significant number of people are not getting all the micronutrients they need from their diets. A multivitamin then acts as a net nutritional security.
A review by the Agency for Health Research and Quality (opens in a new tab) reported that multivitamin and mineral supplements may help reduce the risk of cancer development in malnourished people, however, this very rarely applies in the United States.
Dr. Fiona Barry (PhD BSc Lic Ac MBAcC) from Active Revive (opens in a new tab) explains that your diet should be the first port of call for vitamins and minerals and should only be supplemented if you have consulted a doctor. “Ideally, all of our nutrition should come from our diets and there should be no need for vitamin supplements. However, for a variety of reasons most of us need supplements at some point in our lives, this may be due to additional demands on our health or due to our geography. For example, most people living in Ireland and Britain lack vitamin D for at least half the year,” she says. “In this technological age, we are constantly ‘turned on’, leading to chronically high levels of stress. This, in turn, leads to poor sleep, poor digestion, less downtime, and less time in nature, all of which impact our ability to absorb nutrients. Supplements can provide a segway to better overall health if used appropriately, but they are not the answer to better long-term health.
Which vitamins should not be taken together?
While most vitamins come to us neatly packaged as part of a meal, you may want to be careful if you combine certain vitamins as dietary supplements.
Dr. Brewer says that if the majority of vitamins coexist in food sources, we don’t have to worry too much about combining them with adverse effects. “As all vitamins are found in various combinations in foods, there is no valid reason why particular vitamins should not be taken together at normal intakes and all vitamins are found in a multivitamin supplement, for example “, she says. “Once you get into the realm of super dosage, however (which I don’t advise), certain minerals should not be combined as they can interfere with each other’s absorption. For example, the risk of copper deficiency is greater when zinc intakes are high. The ideal dietary ratio of copper to zinc is 1:10. »
A review in the newspaper Nutrition (opens in a new tab) points out that while not much is known about the impact of vitamin deficiencies, mineral deficiencies show a very marked decline in performance, affecting muscle function and work capacity.
Dr. Barry urges caution when combining fat-soluble vitamins E and K and vitamins B12 and C for proper absorption. “Certain combinations of vitamins should be avoided, such as vitamin E and vitamin K. Vitamin K is sometimes prescribed by doctors to help blood clot. Vitamin E increases bleeding time and can therefore counteract the effect vitamin K,” she says. “Vitamin C and vitamin B12 are another pair of vitamins that can be separated better because vitamin C reduces the absorption of vitamin B12. Often these vitamins are combined with a multivitamin supplement and if they are, vitamin B12 is usually at a high enough concentration to overcome this.
A review in Nutrition advice (opens in a new tab) also mentions that the interactions between vitamin E and vitamin K are not yet understood and that the impacts are dramatic in some people and not in others.