7 Health Supplements That Work Better Together


Pepe León

Getting our daily vitamins is a tricky business to begin with—aside from the difficulty for some of us to remember to choke back a few pills on a daily basis, it's also not always easy to know which additional nutrients are specifically necessary for your body. So pardon us for throwing yet another wrench into this daily ritual: It turns out there's a science to taking supplements since the body can't metabolize certain vitamins unless others are present.

"Certain nutrients are better absorbed when paired together," explains dietician Keri Glassman, founder of Nutritious Life and The Nutrition School. Take calcium, for example: If you're taking calcium supplements but are deficient in vitamin D—which nearly 1 in 2 of us are—you're basically rendering those capsules useless, since the body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. On the flip side, you can maximize the benefits of vitamins A, D, K, and E by consuming them with nuts, fish, or coconut oil, since they're fat-soluble.

On that note, Glassman adds that while taking supplements in pill form is helpful, getting your nutrients via your diet should be the priority. "Food always wins as there are many nutrients involved in the absorption process. And, supplements should do just that: supplement the diet. If you are looking to maximize absorption you may want to supplement but you should also be first and foremost consuming proper foods and think about food pairing. For example, spinach (iron) and tomatoes (vitamin C)."

Below, we break down four ideal supplement pairings—as well as the foods rich in those nutrients, so you can take the ideal holistic approach. Keep scrolling to see how to make the most of your supplements, as well as the pairings to avoid.