In nature, essential vitamins and minerals are nearly never isolated. Typically, foods contain a complex combination of macronutrients and micronutrients that work in concert to give our systems what they need to function efficiently. As our knowledge of nutrition has increased over time, we have isolated and identified the specific vitamins and minerals that our bodies require for survival. This has made it possible to consume substantial amounts of a single nutrient. However, certain nutrients perform more effectively when consumed combined than when given separately. Understanding how nutrients are utilized together might help to supplement specific nutrients optimize their advantages and avoid potential risks.
Vitamin D and Vitamin K
Our knowledge of vitamin D has grown during the past three decades. Recent research has revealed a considerably more sophisticated and nuanced knowledge of vitamin D's role in bone health, particularly in children, than was previously believed.
Calcium absorption is dependent on vitamin D. However, evidence strongly shows that it also plays an important role in cardiovascular health, autoimmune illness, neurological problems, infections, pregnancy outcomes, and other chronic disease states. According to research, enough vitamin D helps prevent infections and reduces inflammation. Recent studies suggest that supplementation may aid in the treatment of diabetes and respiratory infections. In addition, research indicates that vitamin D intake may prevent or slow the onset of certain autoimmune disorders. Given the often-devastating effects of these disorders, it is not surprising that vitamin D supplementation is widespread. Links to lifespan have been hypothesized but not demonstrated.
As with vitamin D, vitamin K has been historically identified with a specific function. Vitamin K is commonly known as the blood-clotting vitamin. Warfarin, one of the earliest anticoagulants used to treat and prevent blood clots, inhibits vitamin K. However, similar to vitamin D, our knowledge of vitamin K continues to grow.
Recent research indicates that vitamin K helps strengthen bones, may reduce artery hardening associated with heart disease, and may play a role in diabetes by enhancing insulin sensitivity. Vitamin K has a role in calcium metabolism, preventing calcium from accumulating in blood vessels and causing damage while diverting it into the bone to promote bone density.
Vitamin D and vitamin K are so interconnected. Vitamin D enhances the absorption of calcium. When taken with a suitable amount of vitamin K, the absorbed calcium is delivered to the appropriate areas in the body to preserve bone and blood vessel health.
Omega-3 and vitamin E
Fish oil, like vitamin D, is a popular supplement. Recent studies suggest that fish oil may be useful in the treatment of depression. In addition, there is evidence that it may aid in the prevention of dementia and heart disease. Fish oil has anti-inflammatory and blood-thinning effects on the body as a whole.
There are issues and concerns regarding the quality of fish oil supplements, despite the apparent advantages of fish oil. Due to its chemical makeup, fish oil is susceptible to rancidification. In animal research, rancid fish oil has been proven to have deleterious effects, which strongly suggests it has adverse ramifications for human ingestion.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that provides rancidity protection. A recent study on women indicated that long-term use of fish oil depletes vitamin E, hence boosting the activity of free radicals in the bloodstream. Despite the inclusion of six international units (6 IU) of vitamin E in the trial, it was insufficient to prevent the rise in free radicals observed with fish oil intake.
Because fish oil is easily degraded, it would be prudent to consume additional fat-soluble antioxidants alongside it. Vitamin E levels of more than 6 IU are likely required to prevent rancidity and free radical damage to fish oil within the body.
Folate and B12 Vitamin
Homocysteine is a body-produced amino acid that appears to raise the risk of dementia and heart disease. Vitamin B12 and folate are both required for homocysteine metabolism. When present in sufficient quantities, they can effectively reduce homocysteine levels.
While research about the advantages of folate and vitamin B12 for heart disease are less apparent, a 2018 international consensus statement indicated that even mild elevations of homocysteine in the elderly induce cognitive decline and dementia. In addition, the statement emphasizes that the hazards associated with excessive homocysteine levels should not be understated, particularly because treating it with B vitamins such as folate and vitamin B12 is inexpensive, safe, and effective. Consequently, it appears that these nutrients have anti-ageing effects on the brain.
Folate and vitamin B12 are two B vitamins that work together in the methylation cycle. The body's methylation cycle is a complex yet vital system. It contributes to the attachment of methyl groups to various molecules. A methyl group consists of a carbon atom that is linked to three hydrogen atoms. Methyl groups are essential for deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the synthesis of neurotransmitters, the functioning of nerves, and other bodily functions. Homocysteine is created naturally by the methylation cycle and is efficiently decreased by adequate folate and vitamin B12.
Folate or vitamin B12 deficiency might manifest similarly. A severe vitamin deficit might result in chronic nerve damage. Folate can hide the symptoms of a B12 shortage while nerve damage continues to progress if folate is incorrectly used to treat a B12 deficiency. Always include vitamin B12 while supplementing with folate to reduce the risk of nerve damage from a vitamin B12 shortage.
The elements Zinc and Copper
Copper and zinc are two essential micronutrients. Zinc has various functions in the body, but its impacts on immunological function are frequently emphasized. Copper is essential for antioxidant defences and the production of connective tissue, among other tasks. Insufficiency or excess of either mineral might lead to complications. Copper and zinc have a slightly antagonistic connection, with high copper levels frequently corresponding with low zinc levels and high zinc levels decreasing copper concentrations.
Due to its benefits for the immune system, zinc is a typical and popular dietary supplement. Products with 50 mg or more of zinc per pill are widely available over-the-counter. However, human studies have shown that consuming more than 50 mg of zinc per day from food and supplements might lead to copper insufficiency. Copper deficiency can cause severe symptoms, such as anaemia and peripheral neuropathy, a type of nerve injury. If not detected early, this nerve injury may be irreversible.
When zinc supplementation exceeds 30 mg per day, copper should also be administered. Even at 30 mg per day, it is probably a good idea to supplement with copper unless a person's diet is already rich in the mineral. Copper excess can be an issue, but it is widely accepted that copper supplementation of up to 10 mg per day has few dangers, except for individuals with Wilson's disease, a hereditary disorder that causes excess copper accumulation. However, some research has suggested that a daily dose of copper above 7 mg could be excessive. Normal daily copper supplementation concentrations are typically between 500 micrograms and 2 milligrams.
Iron and C Vitamin
Iron is an essential mineral for energy production in the body. Iron is essential for haemoglobin synthesis. Haemoglobin is a protein containing iron that transports oxygen within red blood cells. The red blood cells transport oxygen from the lungs to the tissues that require it. Red blood cells cannot carry oxygen without iron. If oxygen transport to the cells and tissues begins to deteriorate, the body's energy production may decline. This can result in anaemia and exhaustion.
Iron insufficiency is widespread across the globe, particularly among women of childbearing age. The menstrual cycle, which causes monthly blood loss, reduces iron stores. Iron deficiency is one of the most prevalent nutritional deficits because iron is poorly absorbed.
Combining iron with vitamin C is one of the easiest strategies to improve iron absorption. It has been established that vitamin C increases iron absorption from the gastrointestinal system. However, vitamin C's effects on iron function are not limited to absorption. Vitamin C also has a role in cellular iron absorption and storage. Because iron can also serve as a free radical, supplementing with antioxidants such as vitamin C can help reduce any potential dangers.
While many vitamin and mineral supplements are purchased separately and consumed as solo nutrients, it is important to note that certain nutrients work more effectively when combined. Vitamin D and vitamin K, fish oil and vitamin E, folate and vitamin B12, zinc and copper, and iron with vitamin C are notable nutritional pairs.