Nutrients: Which work best together for best results?

Nutrients: Which work best together for best results?



If you’ve ever spent time scanning ingredients lists of skincare products, you’ll notice that certain actives are often paired together. For example, products that contain vitamin C will often also have vitamin E in them. This is because they can serve up great anti-ageing benefits on their own, but together these nutrients can enhance each other’s effects. In fact, when working as a duo, vitamin C and E provide four times the antioxidant protection they could offer on their own.

If you’re taking those nutrients, add this

So, knowing that some active ingredients go together like peas and carrots when it comes to skincare, can the same be said for nutritional supplements? Oh yes! There are most definitely certain nutraceuticals that do their best work when taken together. Here are just three of these nutrients!

Iron and vitamin C

Iron is an essential mineral that many of us just don’t get enough of. While the recommended amount is 8 mg a day for men, menstruating women require 18 mg. Thing is, while you might be eating iron-rich foods such as chicken liver and spinach, you’re not necessarily absorbing it. For example, anyone suffering from a digestive condition, be it Celiac disease or something as innocuous-sounding as IBS, might struggle to absorb enough iron. This could result in a condition like iron-deficiency anaemia.

If you’re experiencing anaemia symptoms ask your doctor to help you diagnose it via a blood test as taking too much iron if you don’t need it can do more harm than good. However, if you’re one of the many who could benefit from an iron supplement, look out for one that includes vitamin C. Vitamin C, when taken together with iron, has been proven to help your body absorb the latter. Alternatively, wash down your iron supplement with a refreshing glass of orange juice to really reap the benefit.

Probiotics and fibre

Not all bacteria is bad. Your gut, for example, is brimming with billions of different types of bacteria. If you’re healthy, the majority of it is the good kind. They can help your body perform a myriad of tasks that range from digesting your food to enhancing your immune system. Still, these merry microbiota make their way through and then exit your system so you’re always having to top them up.

Happily, this is something you can do by eating probiotic foods. These foods – such as yoghurt and kimchi – contain good bacteria. You can also take a high-quality probiotic supplement. Better yet, you can enhance your probiotic effects by eating fibre-rich food or taking a fibre supplement. Fibre is known as a prebiotic. This is because it feeds the probiotics in your gut, allowing them to grow in number and kind. So, to get max benefit from your yoghurt, add a tablespoon of fibre-rich food like chia seeds or flaxseed powder. Alternatively, pop your probiotic with a piece of whole wheat toast.

Calcium and vitamin D

We all know that calcium is an essential mineral for strong, healthy bones and teeth. But its benefits don’t stop there. Calcium is also a co-factor for many other enzymes. This means they won’t be able to function without an adequate calcium intake. This is why calcium is also important for a myriad of other things – from the health of your heart to the movement of your muscles. In fact, getting enough calcium can also improve your cholesterol levels and lowering your blood pressure. Still, if you’re making a point of consuming calcium-rich foods or taking a calcium supplement, you’ll get the most bang for your buck if you’re also getting enough vitamin D.

Vitamin D does a brilliant job of helping your body absorb calcium. Now, you’d think that, as South Africans, we’d all be getting enough of the sunshine vitamin. However, studies have shown that as much as one in three people in Africa are deficient in vitamin D. Scientists aren’t 100-percent sure but the blood samples don’t lie. So, if testing has revealed you’re not getting enough vitamin D from the sun, for whatever reason, be sure to take a supplement. Together with calcium, it’ll do your body a world of good.

The bottom line

In the same way that some skincare ingredients can enhance each other’s effects, the same can be said for nutrients. To ensure you get the most from whatever supplements you’re taking, chat to a doctor about what you can add to your nutraceutical stack to reap the maximum benefit for your health.

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