We all want to do more to improve our health and feel our best.
Sometimes, grabbing a handful of different supplements can seem like a great way to give your body an extra boost of vitality. We totally get it.
However, it’s important to remember that similarly to any other drug or prescription medication, supplements taken together can also impact one another pretty substantially.
In order to get the most value from your supplements, there are a few basic combinations that should generally be avoided.
Once ingested, these “conflicting” minerals essentially end up competing with one another for absorption, and both end up losing in the end.
Why wait at least two hours between daily servings?
When taking any of the below minerals or herbs, it’s always best to wait at least two hours between doses to ensure that you’re receiving the maximum benefits from each supplement.
Here Are Some Supplement Combos
That Are Usually Best Taken Separately
1. Melatonin + Other Sedative Herbs
It is possible to have too much of a good thing when it comes to sedative supplements, such as melatonin, valerian, kava, and St. John’s Wort.
When mixed, it can become pretty difficult to control the dosage of these herbs, potentially leaving you overly drowsy and dangerously affected by the sedative effect.
When looking for a calming sleep aid, it’s best to stick to just one and read the instructions carefully.
2. Iron + Green Tea
Iron is an essential nutrient that delivers oxygen to your cells and helps keep you feeling energized.
When taken with green or black tea, iron supplements lose some of their ability to be properly absorbed by your body.
Therefore, it’s always best for people supplementing with iron to allow a few hours to pass (approximately 2-4) before pouring a cup of this comforting, healthy beverage.
3. Niacin + Red Yeast Rice
You may be familiar with red yeast rice or niacin if you’re one of the 35 million Americans struggling from high cholesterol.
These two popular supplements are often used as natural alternatives to cholesterol-lowering prescription medications, but when used at the same time, can place excessive strain on your liver. Doubling up on these supplements also likely won't offer double the benefits, as there can be too much of a good thing.
In order to avoid any potential health risks, it’s best not to mix these two supplements with each other, or with any prescribed cholesterol medications. When in doubt, it’s always best to consult with a medical professional.
4. Magnesium + Calcium
Calcium is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth, as well as preventing age-related joint degenerative disorders.
Equally important is magnesium, a nutrient required for proper calcium absorption, along with a long list of other health benefits.
Some studies have found that without adequate amounts of magnesium, calcium deposits can collect within your soft tissue and have a negative impact on joint health.
One Consumer Labs report concluded that since these two can compete for absorption, it’s best to take them at separate times in the day to ensure that both supplements are fully utilized.
5. Copper + Zinc
These two crucial nutrients are another pair that might compete for absorption when taken at the same time.
Zinc deficiency can lead to a number of health issues, including poor vision, slower wound healing, and reduced ability to fight infections.
If you happen to be low in this nutrient, it’s important to remember that taking zinc supplements can potentially block copper absorption and worsen copper deficiency (a deficiency often caused by certain medical conditions).
Luckily, if you're pressed for time or don't enjoy researching, there are many supplements that have no well-known interactions with other medications or minerals and that don't compete with other supplements for absorption.
These options can be taken simultaneously with other vitamins or mineral supplements with no effect on one another.
When in doubt, it's always best to consult with your healthcare provider when starting a new supplement regimen or adding new supplements to your existing routine. This is especially important for those with existing conditions or for anyone taking prescription medication.
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