nutrition

Get the Most Out of Your Supplements: What Vitamins Go Well Together?

Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS

4 min read

Vitamin Pack

Some vitamins have enhanced benefits when paired with another vitamin. Read on to learn about some synergistic vitamin combos.

Pairing vitamins and supplements to maximize supplementation

Taking vitamins and supplements can benefit your health in a number of important ways. This is especially true if you’re not getting adequate nutrients from your diet.

As it turns out, you can enjoy even greater benefits from taking certain vitamins together. That’s because some vitamins and minerals work together synergistically. Let’s take a look at some especially beneficial pairings.

Vitamins pairings you should look for

Vitamin D and Calcium

Vitamin D and calcium are an important combo. Both are essential for the health of your bones. While some suggest that vitamin D on its own can support bone health, most studies examine its effect when paired with calcium. That’s because vitamin D has been shown to help with getting calcium into your bloodstream, while calcium is well known for its benefits for bone health.

Studies of the effects of pairing vitamin D and calcium have yielded promising results. Take, for example, the 1997 study that examined the effects of vitamin D and supplementation on adults over the age of 65 over a three-year period. The study found that the group that took vitamin D and calcium supplements experienced significantly improved bone health compared to the placebo group. A 2010 meta-analysis of existing studies of vitamin D and calcium supplementation supported the synergistic effect of vitamin D and calcium. Care/of’s Calcium Plus supplement is formulated with calcium from Icelandic algae and includes vitamin D for maximum absorption.

Vitamin D and Omega-3s

It turns out that taking vitamin D and omega-3s together can have a synergistic effect. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that the body produces naturally when UV rays from the sun make contact with the skin. It’s also obtainable through certain foods and supplements. Vitamin D promotes heart health, bone health, and immune health. Omega-3s are fatty acids that promote brain, heart, joint, and prenatal health. Omega-3s are largely obtainable through fish, but they’re also available in fish oil supplements. One study demonstrated that combining vitamin D and omega-3 supplements increased the bioavailability of both, meaning that both supplements were better absorbed by the body. Taking them with a fat-containing meal can also boost absorption.

Vitamin E and Omega-3s

Vitamin E and omega-3s have also been shown to be a beneficial pairing. Vitamin E has antioxidant properties and can thin the blood, while omega-3s boast a range of health benefits. One benefit omega-3s provide is in their management of harmful cytokines in the body. That said, it turns out that pairing omega-3s with vitamin E supplements can enhance the antioxidant properties of omega-3s. Another study also found that vitamin E and omega-3s can work synergistically in managing the lipid levels in people struggling with weight management.

Vitamin D and Magnesium

Magnesium is a major mineral in the body that’s found in more than 300 enzyme systems. It also plays an important role when it comes to vitamin D. Magnesium is needed for vitamin D to move around in the blood. Studies have shown that a magnesium deficiency can reduce the amount of active vitamin D in the body. One study, in particular, found that magnesium deficiency can lead to oxidative stress and a decline in blood vessel health. Pairing vitamin D and magnesium can help reduce oxidative stress and ensure that enough vitamin D is activated in the body.

Vitamin C and iron

Vitamin C and iron are a great, synergistic supplement pairing: Vitamin C has been shown to help enhance non-heme iron (iron from plant-based sources) absorption. For optimal absorption, you should look for a vitamin C supplement that’s derived from food sources. As for your iron supplement, you should look for one in bisglycinate form for optimal absorption. That said, you should always consult a medical professional before taking an iron supplement, since excess iron can be toxic.

Vitamin pairings you should avoid

Zinc and magnesium

Both zinc and magnesium are important minerals that participate in important biochemical processes in the body. Unfortunately, most folks are deficient in magnesium and zinc, respectively, due to not getting enough in their diets. However, your solution probably shouldn’t be to take these supplements together, since studies show that zinc supplementation in high doses can disrupt magnesium levels.

Iron and Calcium

Iron and calcium are both very important for the proper functioning of your body. That said, studies have shown that calcium can inhibit your body’s ability to absorb iron, suggesting that you want to avoid taking them together.

Vitamin E and vitamin K

On their own, vitamin E and vitamin K supplements can be good for your health. Vitamin E is an antioxidant and can help thin the blood, while vitamin K has been shown to support blood health by supporting coagulation pathways. However, per one study, taking these vitamins together in high doses can be counterproductive. The study found that “high doses of vitamin E may antagonize vitamin K.”

Final takeaways

Vitamin supplements can support your health in myriad ways. Certain vitamins, when paired together, work synergistically. Talk to a medical professional about adding any of the beneficial vitamin combinations mentioned above. Some vitamin pairings have been shown to lead to diminished health benefits, and those pairings should be avoided.

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