More is Not Merrier: Why You Should Be Careful with Mixing Supplements

Nutritional supplements are the choice of many people who seek to procure health benefits associated with them. Indeed, many of these products contribute to health and wellness, particularly for those who, by choice or by circumstance, do not consume certain types of food or have a nutrient deficiency. In an effort to improve their health, some people decide to combine different pills, believing they will achieve the best effects.

However, in some cases, mixing can be counterproductive and even dangerous. Certain supplement combinations can produce side effects and shouldn’t be taken together. Here are the reasons to be careful, along with some combinations you ought to avoid.

One ingredient can interfere with the absorption of the other

If youʼre taking supplements, itʼs probably because of a condition that causes a deficiency in some essential nutrients. However, when you take two different supplements, one can interfere with the absorption of the other, rendering it practically useless. This happens with zinc and copper, and with iron and green tea supplements. Other supplements that are not wise to mix up because of this reason are Vitamin K and blood thinners, magnesium and calcium, potassium and calcium, and Vitamins A, D, E, and K.

You can get too much of a good thing

Let’s say youʼre going through a lot right now and you need something to ease the stress. A combination of valerian, melatonin, kava, and similar pills with sedative properties may seem like a clever idea. When taken together, these can cause something like an “overdose” and lead to fatigue and excessive sleepiness.

You can experience severe health complications

Some combinations cause far worse side effects than sleepiness. Mixing up supplements that lower cholesterol, such as red yeast rice and niacin, can be harmful to the liver. They play even worse with prescription cholesterol-lowering drugs. Likewise, omega-3 fish oil supplements in combination with garlic and ginkgo-based pills prevent blood clotting and can cause uncontrolled bleeding.

Do not take medications and supplements without research

The effect of prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medications can be increased or decreased when combined with dietary supplements. This happens because some supplements may alter the absorption, digestion, and excretion of medication. The consequences can come in the form of negative and even life-threatening effects.

Heart-disease medications, antidepressants, pills for an organ transplant, and HIV treatments can be less potent when taken with St. John’s Wort. If youʼre not sure about the combination of the supplements and medications youʼre taking, you need to consult your physician.

Along with getting expert medical advice, here are a few other precautions you can take to remain safe and healthy.

Control the process from the very beginning

By purchasing empty capsules and filling them yourself, you can have full control of what goes into your pill and your system. You get to decide which nutrients you will use and combine, and even whether it is better to use vegan or gelatin capsules, depending on your dietary demands. Filling the capsules is not a very difficult process, if youʼre dealing with small amounts and if you have a good capsule filler. It just requires some research first.

Space out your consumption

If youʼre taking two or more supplements that can cause side effects when mixed or cancel each other out, youʼll need to space them throughout the day. For example, letʼs say you need copper because you have a copper deficiency and you require zinc for treating appetite loss or some other condition. In this case, you should take one and make a minimum two-hour break before you take the other one. The same goes for all of the combinations we’ve mentioned above.

Know how much is too much

Excessive amounts of some vitamins, even if youʼre not combining them with other supplements, can produce negative health effects. Here are some of them:

  • More than 1.000 micrograms of the B-vitamin folate per day can upsurge the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency.
  • More than 100 milligrams of vitamin B6 a day can lead to nerve damage.
  • A daily intake of vitamin C which goes above 2.000 milligrams can cause diarrheoa.

Eat a healthy diet

It would be best to meet your daily dietary requirements by eating a balanced diet. Most of the vitamins and minerals people usually consume as supplements are easily found in fruits, vegetables, dairy, and other products available in your local stores.

Bottom line

The last tip on this list should be taken as seriously as possible. However, if youʼre required or recommended by an expert to take supplements, follow the guidelines about their combination and do your best to know everything that goes in the capsule youʼre taking.




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