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Nutrient synergy is when two or more different nutrients work together to produce a greater effect than you would expect from either nutrient alone. Some nutrients can greatly enhance each other’s absorption. Others just work far better in teams. Here are some specific nutrients that may work in concert to produce health benefits far exceeding their individual benefits.
VITAMIN C and IRON – The Dynamic Duo
Vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron.1 Whether we get our iron from food sources or supplements, the presence of Vitamin C helps ensure that iron gets into circulation. The importance of iron absorption cannot be overstated; iron is one of the most crucial of minerals. Without iron, the hemoglobin in our red blood cells would not be able to deliver oxygen to our tissues.2
VITAMIN D, VITAMIN K and CALCIUM – Keys to Strong Bones and a Healthy Heart
Calcium is an essential nutrient for bone building. Some people get enough calcium from food, others need to supplement. No matter what your source of calcium, it cannot be absorbed without adequate vitamin D.3 But once vitamin D has helped get your calcium into circulation, we need vitamin K to get that calcium from the bloodstream to the bones. Vitamin K shuttles calcium away from the blood vessels, where it could lead to potentially deadly calcium deposits, and delivers it to our skeleton for strong, dense bones.4
GREEN TEA and QUERCETIN – Protective Plant Compounds
Quercetin is an antioxidant found in many fruits and vegetables. Green tea is a beverage that has been enjoyed for centuries for its metabolic and immune support. Both compounds fight damaging free radicals and inflammation, but their protective abilities for our cells increase when they are combined. Quercetin has been shown to enhance the absorption of EGCG, potentially the most important constituent of green tea.5,6 Using these nutrients together may amplify their ability to protect our cells and our DNA from harmful inflammatory factors.7
COQ10 and PQQ – A Biological Power Boost
CoQ10 and PQQ may work synergistically towards healthy aging at the most basic level, the cellular level. Most of our cells contain mitochondria, which are energy factories that create the power to keep our body running. Mitochondria become damaged and even die off as we get older, and this loss of potential energy production is thought to be a major contributor to the aging process.8 CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant that fuels and protects our mitochondria.9PQQ is an essential micronutrient that has been shown to support mitochondrial regeneration.10 Together, CoQ10 and PQQ may work to help support this essential part of healthy aging, cellular energy production.
B VITAMINS – It Takes Eight to be Great
There are 8 B vitamins that each perform essential functions to maintain health and work together with closely interrelated roles in our biochemistry. The many ways that the members of the B vitamin family work together are too numerous to list, but we can highlight some examples of their synergy. Vitamins B12 and B9 (also known as folate) work together to support healthy cell division and replication, are needed for healthy red blood cell production to oxygenate our tissues, and are essential for breaking down homocysteine to protect our heart and arteries.11-13 Vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B5 play a crucial role in the cellular metabolic process that turn food into energy.14 B6 and B3 (niacin) are essential to a healthy brain chemistry. Both are required to manufacture tryptophan, a precursor to the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin for healthy mood.15,16 Several of the B-Vitamins including biotin have been shown to work together to support healthy hair growth, as a deficiency could lead to hair loss.17 As we study the way these nutrients work in concert and depend on each other, it becomes clear that we must ensure that all 8 members of the B vitamin group are part of our daily regimen.18
THE WHOLE IS GREATER THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS
This expression applies perfectly to the idea of nutrient synergy. You can maximize the benefits of a healthy diet and supportive supplement regimen by being aware of how you combine your nutrients to support their synergistic actions.
About the Author: Heidi Yanoti earned her Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life University. She has been a Senior Wellness Specialist at Life Extension for over 10 years and a lifelong advocate for alternative approaches to optimal health. She enjoys sharing this passion with Life Extension customers, helping them achieve their health goals with a focus on promoting wellness. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, films and desert hikes in her Las Vegas, Nevada, home.
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- Linus Pauling Institute. Iron. Accessed 11/13/19. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/iron
- Linus Pauling Institute. Vitamin D. Accessed 6/7/19. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-D
- Linus Pauling Institute. Vitamin K. Accessed 6/11/19. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-K
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- Linus Pauling Institute. Folate. Accessed 11/13/19. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/folate
- Linus Pauling Institute. Vitamin B12. Accessed 11/13/19. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-B12
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- Linus Pauling Institute. Vitamin B6. Accessed 11/13/19. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-B6
- Linus Pauling Institute. Niacin. Accessed 11/13/19. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/niacin
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