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Vitamins and nutrients are very important to a healthy body, whether you’re a bodybuilder, an athlete, or someone who is invested in his or her health. However, vitamin interactions can and do occur, so it’s important to learn when you should (and shouldn’t) take certain things for the best results.
Iron, copper, and zinc are all metals, but they’re also very important for a healthy body. Iron is necessary for healthy red blood cells, copper is required for the formation of muscle and connective tissue, and zinc is crucial for a healthy immune system. You might take all of them at the same time every day, but there is evidence to suggest that if you do so, you aren’t getting the full benefits of any of them due to vitamin interactions. That’s because they all absorb in the same way, and if they aren’t absorbed quickly, they’re simply flushed out of the system. Thus, if you introduce too many into your body at the same time, you’re just throwing your money away. Take your iron, copper, and zinc several hours apart for the best results.
Most multivitamin supplements contain magnesium and manganese. These are also important for healthy muscles as they aid in muscle contraction and nitrogen retention. However, if you take magnesium alongside iron, which is also found in many multivitamins, it will decrease the absorption of iron. This is especially problematic for anyone who is anemic and who takes iron to build necessary red blood cells. Manganese affects the absorption of both magnesium and iron, too.
Multiple studies have been conducted on the “letter” vitamins to learn how they’re absorbed. According to a book called “An Evidence-Based Approach to Vitamins and Minerals”, taking vitamins K and A together can reduce the absorption of vitamin K to almost nil. Vitamin E is much the same in that it prevents the absorption of vitamin K, too. They both inhibit the activity of enzymes that vitamin K needs to be effective in the body, which renders vitamin K completely useless.
Finally, there are some vitamin interactions that actually increase the absorption rates, which can have an impact on your overall health. For example, if you take vitamin A and iron together, the vitamin A (beta carotene) can actually vastly increase the rate at which iron is absorbed into your body. For this reason, many people with anemia also take a vitamin A supplement alongside their iron to help improve the rate at which the iron absorbs.
As you can see, vitamin interactions can make taking your daily vitamins and supplements a lot more complicated than you imagined. To make it simple, don’t buy multivitamins with iron, don’t take metal-based mineral supplements together, and if you’re taking iron, remember that taking it alongside a small dose of vitamin A will enhance its absorption.