Supplements are taken by the vast majority of adults in the USA1. While many of the nutrients we require to live a healthy life are found in our food, sometimes the foods can lack enough of the vitamins required to sustain us. Other times, doctors may advise patients to take vitamin and/or mineral supplements due to an illness they may have which lowers their absorption levels2.
What are the benefits of taking supplements?
There are many benefits to taking vitamin and mineral supplements. Many of us are under mental and physical stress as a result of modern life and its demands. While we try to eat as healthily as we can, sometimes we need a little bit of help to get the right amount of vitamins and minerals to keep our body at its best. There are certain times and situations when it is best to take supplements, for example, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding3. Supplementing what is missing from our diets is a common practice, and can help with the absorption of these much needed elements. You should not rely on supplements to get your necessary vitamins and minerals, however.
Are there any drawbacks to taking supplements?
As with anything, there are potential drawbacks to taking supplements. Keep in mind that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Certain vitamins and minerals can be detrimental to your health if you take too much. Selenium, for example, can be toxic in large doses4.
Supplement Pairings - what are they and why are they beneficial?
Certain vitamins and minerals work better together than alone, due to their primary functions. By taking a supplement which is paired with complementary functions, you can increase their effectiveness by encouraging their partnership. I’ll outline a few of the most perfect pairings below.
Green Tea and Capsicum
Green tea has long been known for its antioxidant properties5. Antioxidants remove free radicals in the body, therefore preventing illness and disease6. Capsicum is found in peppers and contains anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties7. Therefore, taking both in tandem will ensure they both work to their optimum level. They work so well together that they have the ability to reduce cancer cells8, in fact, when combined, capiscum and green tea reduce cancer cells by 50%, when green tea reduces it by 15%9.
Iron and Vitamin C
Iron is a mineral that is essential for healthy bodies10. It is found in red blood cells and it helps to regulate their grown and retain normal functionality11. These red blood cells then carry oxygen through the body12. Vitamin C produces collagen, which is found in bones, teeth, and gums13. It also aims with the absorption of iron14. Consuming Vitamin C at the same time as you consume iron greatly increases the amount of iron your body absorbs15. These two combined are wonderful aids for reducing your risk of anemia16.
Black pepper is something most of us use to season our food, but it has so many health benefits you probably never realised17. It is an antioxidant, an anti-inflammatory agent and improves cognitive function. Turmeric is similar; bright yellow and found in curries, turmeric contains curcumin which has anti-inflammatory properties18. However, curcumin is not easily absorbed into the body, so you should take it with pepper to help19. By combining both, you are increasing your chances of boosting your immune system, aiding digestion and ridding yourself of pain caused by inflammation20.
Zinc, like iron, is a trace element necessary for optimum human health. It boosts the immune system, and reduces blood pressure21. Selenium is another mineral, and this one is an antioxidant22. Many studies have shown that by taking a combination of these two minerals greatly increases their antioxidant properties, which in turn reduces the risk of developing certain cancers23. These two wonder minerals also help with fertility24.
Vitamin D is known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ as your skin produces it when it is exposed to sunlight25. This vitamin is essential for healthy bones, as it helps your body to absorb calcium26. Given that we don’t always get that much sun, you may find yourself a little D-ficient. You’ve probably never heard of Vitamin K2, but this also contributes to healthy bones by metabolising calcium and controlling where it ends up27. Taking these two vitamins together then helps your body to absorb calcium28, and work together to even out the amount of each in your body29.
Pairing supplements is an efficient and effective way to ensure your body gets the most out of the supplements it needs. Working tandem can ensure your body gets the most vitamins and minerals it needs from the extra boost you give it.
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