5 Vitamin Synergies That Can Optimize Your Health
The greatest achievements in human history have all been the result of collaboration. While we occasionally celebrate a single individual, the truth is their achievements are almost never singularly their own. The power of collective effort clearly has a positive multiplying effect on our ability to achieve anything. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the world of vitamins and nutrients operate in much the same way. In isolation, certain individual nutrients can be helpful, but science has discovered that in order to maximize their effect, they should be consumed in pairs or groups. Here are 5 vitamin synergies that can optimize your health.
VITAMIN C and IRON
It turns out these two make a great pair as they combine to create a different form of iron called iron chelate complex. The effect of ascorbic acid increases the solubility of iron, resulting in increased uptake and absorption of nonheme iron across the mucus membranes in the small intestine. If you suffer from an iron deficiency, it’s best to combine your iron supplements with vitamin C supplements to enhance absorption.
Iron is a massively important nutrient, playing a huge role in hemoglobin within red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the body. Without proper iron intake or dietary iron absorption, low iron levels may lead to iron deficiency anemia, where not even oxygen gets transported through the body, leaving you tired and fatigued. Whole grains, lentils, shellfish, and legumes are just a sample of foods containing a good amount of iron, so if you're worried about iron stores, pair these foods with about 25-100 mg of vitamin C for amplified absorption!
VITAMIN C and VITAMIN E
This duo has been known to pair up quite nicely to provide skin beautifying results when taken in combination. They both help minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while promoting an even skin tone. The sun’ UV rays cause free radicals to be produced, which in turn attack cells’ lipid membranes, trying to get to the DNA where cell damage and mutations can occur. Since vitamin E (tocopherol) is lipid-soluble, it can block these free radicals before any damage to the skin cells takes place. Through this process, however, the vitamin E becomes a free radical, requiring the water-soluble vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) to react with the vitamin E, turning it into a stable molecule once more.
B6, B12 and FOLIC ACID
Sometimes three isn’t a crowd and that’s clearly the case with this trio. There have been studies to back up the synergistic effects of folic acid, B6 and B12 and its effect on lowering homocysteine levels in the body, which has been correlated with elevated cardiovascular events. Another study uncovers the ability of B12 and Folic Acid to help combat arsenic toxicity. The Food and Drug Administration says that long-term exposure to high levels of arsenic is associated with higher rates of skin cancer, bladder cancer and lung cancer, as well as heart disease. It occurs naturally in the environment as in the case with volcanoes but this probably wouldn’t affect most of us unless we are near an active one. However, the more damaging levels occur from fossil fuel pollution, as well as pesticides in our food. A variety of studies suggest that folic acid+vitamin B12 are capable of reducing arsenic-induced cellular oxidative and inflammatory toxic changes. Thus, supplement with vitamin B12+folic acid may be predicted as a possible nutritional management strategy against arsenic-induced toxicity.
ZINC and VITAMIN A
These provide a fruitful partnership when it comes to their absorption. Vitamin A is crucial for many processes in your body, including maintaining healthy vision, ensuring the normal function of your immune system and organs and aiding the proper growth and development of babies in the womb. The issue is Zinc deficiency limits the bioavailability of Vitamin A because Zinc acts as the transport mechanism for many micro-nutrients including the much needed Vitamin A. There is also evidence that vitamin A affects zinc absorption and utilization. Thus, fluctuation in the status of one or both micronutrients may reasonably expect to alter the metabolism of the other, with functional consequences on the health of the individual.
QUERCETIN and VITAMIN C
Vitamin C has yet another friend that it can pair with to superchange immunity. Quercetin has a long history as an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory and anti-blood clotting effects in the Mediterranean diet. Quercetin is very abundant in red grapes and red wine. There is a great amount of research supporting the antiviral properties of quercetin in the scientific literature. It has been shown in the literature that overtrained athletes supplemented with quercetin and vitamin C help protect them from upper respiratory tract infections. The two have also been used currently as a COVID-19 treatment with some very promising results.
As you can see, vitamins often work better in teams to maximize our health. When you reach for vitamin supplementation or nutrient rich foods, keep in mind that combinations of nutrients work more powerfully than in isolations - just like people.