Expert’s warning over supplements that ‘should not be taken together’

Our bodies rely on certain important vitamins and minerals to ensure everything functions to the best of its ability. Becoming deficient in certain nutrients can have serious consequences for the body.

While we should be able to get most of what we need by eating a healthy, balanced diet, sometimes supplements are required to get the levels to what we need.

But with lots of things we consume there are potential side effects or risks when it comes to taking supplements.

With this in mind, an expert spoke with about three supplement pairings that could actually be detrimental to your health.

Registered nutritional therapist, Jen Walpole, explained: “While supplements can be a great way to bridge nutrient gaps, it’s important to be aware of potential interactions. Here are three examples of supplements you shouldn’t take together.”

These three combinations are:

  • Calcium and iron
  • Vitamin C and vitamin B12
  • Zinc and copper.

Calcium and iron

According to Jen, calcium can “hinder” iron absorption as it acts like a barricade in your digestive tract, making it harder for iron to be absorbed.

She said: “This is particularly true for non-heme iron, the kind found in plant-based foods and supplements.

“Taking calcium and iron supplements together can significantly reduce your body’s ability to absorb iron.

“This can be detrimental for those with iron deficiency or at risk, like vegetarians and menstruating women.”

The Mayo Clinic, in the US, warns: “Do not take iron supplements and antacids or calcium supplements at the same time.”

Experts there say it is best to space doses one to two hours apart, to get the full benefit.

Vitamin C and B12

High doses of vitamin C (above 1,000mg) might disrupt a protein in the stomach needed for B12 absorption, Jen said.

She continued: “While the exact mechanism isn’t fully understood, it could potentially decrease B12 uptake, especially for those with borderline B12 deficiency, like vegans.

“A B12 deficiency can lead to weakness, tiredness, or lightheadedness, heart palpitations and shortness of breath.”

It can also lead to:

  • Digestive issues including constipation, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, or wind
  • Nerve problems like numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, and problems walking
  • Vision loss and even mental issues like depression, memory loss, or behavioural changes.

The Mayo Clinic advises taking vitamin C two or more hours after taking a vitamin B12 supplement to avoid any issues.

Zinc and copper

Zinc and copper are essential minerals, but they compete for absorption in the intestines.

“When you consume high amounts of zinc, it takes up the ‘absorption space’,leaving less room for copper to be taken up,” Jen added.

“Long-term, excessive zinc intake (through supplements or certain medications) can lead to copper deficiency.

“This can manifest as impaired wound healing, fatigue, bone weakness, and changes in hair and skin pigmentation.”

Again, the Mayo Clinic recommends leaving two hours between taking these supplements.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *