Many people take vitamins and supplements to help support their health. Learning how to absorb vitamins better for your specific needs can make them more beneficial to your overall well-being. Read on to learn 5 ways to boost vitamin and mineral absorption from the supplements you're taking.
1. Pair Iron With Vitamin C
Iron is a vital mineral nutrient and it plays an important role in both the heart and respiratory system. Due to the fact that the human body cannot synthesize it, iron is mainly obtained by diet. In addition, vitamin C is an essential element that has a critical role to play in numerous physiological functions.* Consuming iron and vitamin C together may be better than alone, increasing absorption of non-heme (plant) sources of iron, which is harder for the body to do on its own.*
2. Other Nutrients to Pair and Those to Separate
Some nutrients work perfectly together to improve functionality, while others need to be taken separately for maximum absorption.
Micronutrients that should be taken together:
• In order to help your body better absorb minerals such as calcium for bones, vitamin K, vitamin D and calcium should be taken together.
• Vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folate are B vitamins that work together to lower an amino acid called homocysteine which may reduce incidences of heart disease and stroke.
• The combination of potassium, magnesium, and calcium all help to support your nervous system function.*
• Vitamin C and vitamin E as a combination is more effective than either vitamin alone. The combination acts as a protective antioxidant force that helps buffer cells from free-radical damage.*
• Vitamin A and vitamin E work synergistically as an antioxidant powerhouse.* Plus, vitamin A helps vitamin E to be absorbed in your small intestine.
• Vitamin A and iodine work well together because a metabolite of vitamin A called retinoic acid helps your body to absorb iodine, which is needed for thyroid health.*
• Iron, zinc, and vitamin A also work well together. Zinc is required to transport vitamin A around the body, and iron is needed to convert beta-carotene into a form of vitamin A your body can use called retinol.*
Optimize the diet and supplement regimen by strategically splitting between morning and evening consumption. This is good practice because your body actually needs different nutrition throughout the day and night.
Micronutrients that should not be taken together:
• Zinc and copper should be taken separately because they block the absorption of each other by competing for the same receptors in your body.
• Calcium and iron should be taken separately because they also compete for the same receptors in your body, and therefore block the absorption of one another.
3. Consistency is Key for Omega-3s
You need to be consistent with your intake if you want to really experience the health benefits of Omega-3. In order to maximize your intake of the essential fatty acids EPA, DHA and DPA, it’s recommended that you consume a fish oil capsule consistently, at least once daily, especially for those who don’t get enough fish in their diet. In fact, studies have shown that long-term daily use of fish oil is actually safer than eating fish each day due to the higher amounts of mercury that are present in many types of fish.*
4. Take Fat-Soluble Vitamins with Oils or Fats
Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble vitamins that are stored in the tissues of the body. These vitamins are crucial because they support a variety of health functions in the body. These essential micronutrients should be taken with fats or oils, to make them solubilized which will allow absorption. For example, when taking your multivitamin in the morning, consume it with a nut butter, such as almond butter, cashew butter or peanut butter.
5. Store Vitamins as Directed
If the vitamins are not properly stored, you may be left with supplements full of inactive nutrients. To ensure proper storage, check the instructions on the label. Good storage ensures that vitamins are kept at the correct temperature of 59-86 Fahrenheit (15-30 Celcius), in order to keep them from sunshine, moisture and heat.
Rohini Radhakrishnan, E. (2022, April 27). How do I get the most out of my multivitamins? 5 tips. MedicineNet. https://www.medicinenet.com/how_do_i_get_the_most_out_of_my_multivitamins/article.htm
Stephanie Marino, M. S. U. E. (2022, January 21). Iron and vitamin C: The perfect pair?. MSU Extension. https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/iron_and_vitamin_c_the_perfect_pair
WebMD. (n.d.). Best ways to take different vitamins. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/ss/slideshow-best-ways-to-take-different-vitamins