Let me start by applauding your efforts when it comes to taking your vitamins. Even if the ritual periodically slips your mind, should you manage to swallow your supplements the majority of the time you are way ahead of the game.
Unfortunately, which vitamins we take, when we take them and how they go together can determine how much actual nutrition we get from them. If any at all.
Here’s a scene from an old favorite depicting a similar quandary:
Any foodie will tell you that a great wine pairing can turn an ordinary meal into an experience. Similarly, which supplements we take simultaneously can make a big difference in our body’s rate of absorption and how well we reap maximum benefits from them.
Some things just work better together. Here are a few.
Sodium and potassium Most of us know that potassium is an important nutrient, so we try to get it from beans, potatoes, bananas and dark, leafy greens. But did you know that adding sodium to the mix will aid in the absorption of potassium? Bodybuilders have known this for a long time: I remember the first time I saw a fellow gym rat gearing up for competition, salt shaker in one hand and banana in the other. It seemed radical at the time, but he was onto something. Taken together, the duo has shown to improve cardiovascular health and reduce high blood pressure. Though I might have opted for a cracker in lieu of the salt shaker. But that’s just me.
Vitamin D and calcium Vitamin D is proving to be a superhero in aiding in the absorption of many nutrients, but one of the biggest boosts happens when we take calcium with it. Studies are also showing promise in Vitamin D’s ability to help with our magnesium retention, which also lends to stronger bones and the potential protection from heart disease and some types of cancer.
Vitamin B12 and folate Folate needs Vitamin B12 in order to metabolize in the body. Now, since the bulk of our society shies away from a well-rounded diet consisting of both proteins and vegetables, the likelihood of our getting enough of each nutrient is overwhelmingly slim. B12 is found mostly in animal products such as milk, eggs and meat, while folate is abundant in legumes, beans and leafy greens. B12 injections have become a popular option for those seeking a rather immediate boost in energy (and some claim weight loss), but without folate to assist in absorption we fail to garner sufficient advantages.
While this all may seem daunting, simple preparation will help you get the most out of your supplements. That’s why we take them in the first place. Keep the bottles next to one another and you’ll never have to think twice.
Jodilyn Stuart is the Health & Sports Senior Staff Writer for 303 Magazine, owner of ModaBody Face + Fitness, and has been a professional fitness geek since 1997. If you have questions, feel free to email at: [email protected]