Your supplements may not only have interactions with each other, but they may also have interactions with any medications you are currently taking. It is advisable to seek the assistance of a healthcare provider to evaluate your supplement and medication regimen.
A large number of individuals use supplements to alleviate health conditions or enhance their overall well-being. These supplements come in various forms such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, and probiotics, which have the potential to improve health. Some people may even take a mix of supplements. However, it is important to note that certain combinations of supplements should be avoided. This is because supplements can interact not only with one another, but also with any medications you may be taking. Therefore, it is crucial to be aware of the potential interactions of supplements.
Supplement combinations to avoid takin
While supplements can offer numerous health benefits, it is essential to recognize that they can also pose health risks. This is because some supplements components can interfere with laboratory tests or have detrimental effects during surgical procedures.
The dangers associated with taking supplements can be amplified if you consume multiple supplements simultaneously.
Therefore, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare provider before taking
certain combinations of supplements, and to be informed about what you should do if you take both.
Magnesium and Calcium
Magnesium is an essential mineral required for several vital bodily functions such as
regulating blood pressure, controlling blood sugar, and facilitating muscle and nerve function.
It can be obtained from various food sources like green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. However, magnesium is also available in different supplement forms, although it may not be recommended to take them.
Insufficient levels of magnesium have been linked to medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis, which causes brittle bones. Although it is uncommon to have dangerously low magnesium levels, it is more common among individuals who:
- Have alcohol addiction
- Have gastrointestinal conditions or -have undergone gastrointestinal surgery that affects nutrient absorption
- Have type 2 diabetes
- Are older
Calcium is another essential mineral required for maintaining healthy bones. It can be found in various food sources such as milk, yogurt, and cheese. However, research shows that 30% of men and 60% of women in the US do not consume enough calcium in their diets.
In such cases, supplements may be necessary to make up for the deficiency. Inadequate calcium intake can lead to reduced bone strength and osteoporosis.
When taken together, high doses of calcium (2600mg daily) can reduce magnesium
absorption. Therefore, individuals at high risk of magnesium deficiency who take calcium supplements should consume the calcium supplement at bedtime instead of during a meal.
Taking the supplement during a meal may negatively impact the amount of dietary
magnesium being absorbed.
Vitamin C and Copper
Vitamin C plays a vital role in creating collagen, a protein necessary for wound healing.
People take vitamin C supplements for various reasons, such as fighting infections, reducing postsurgical pain, or lowering blood pressure.
Copper is an essential mineral that plays a significant role in energy production and creating connective tissue, which provides structure to the body.
Individuals with cardiovascular disease may take copper supplements as studies have shown that they can help to alter blood lipid levels,
thereby lowering the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
The supplement has also been used in Alzheimer’s disease since copper deficiency has been observed among individuals with this condition Research indicates that high doses of vitamin C (over 1,500mg) may decrease copper absorption.
However, this finding is based on studies conducted among young men, and it
may only affect individuals with low copper intake
Iron and Green Tea
Iron is a mineral that is an indispensable component of red blood cells responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues. Iron supplements are typically prescribed to individuals who have iron-deficiency anemia, cancer, certain gastrointestinal disorders, and pregnant women.
Green tea has gained popularity as a beverage and an extract. It is believed to enhance mental alertness, relieve digestive symptoms and headaches, and provide protection against cancer and heart disease.
However, taking green tea with iron supplements can potentially decrease the absorption of the mineral.
Although the impact may not be significant for most individuals, if both are taken
together, it may be beneficial to take them at different times.
Supplements That Can Interact With Medications
Some dietary supplements have the potential to alter the absorption, metabolism, or elimination of medication, which can affect the drug’s effectiveness, resulting in either too much or too little of the medication in the body.10 Below are some popular vitamins and supplements and the medications they may interact with.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb commonly used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine to help the body combat stress and insomnia. However, taking ashwagandha can potentially interact with various medications, including:
Drugs for People With Diabetes
The combination of ashwagandha and antidiabetes medications that aim to reduce blood sugar levels could raise the likelihood of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Although certain herbs have been found to aid in diabetes management, taking them in conjunction with medications that have similar effects can potentially result in excessively low blood sugar levels.
Drugs for High Blood Pressure
Animal studies indicate that ashwagandha might reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, which could place individuals taking medication to lower blood pressure at risk of developing hypotension, a condition characterized by blood pressure that is too low.
Studies conducted on humans have revealed that ashwagandha has the potential to activate the immune system. Additionally, animal research has demonstrated that ashwagandha can reduce the efficacy of immunosuppression caused by cyclophosphamide, a medication utilized in the treatment of cancer and nephrotic syndrome.
Zinc is a mineral that plays a variety of important roles in the body, such as supporting immunity, facilitating protein synthesis, aiding wound healing, contributing to DNA synthesis, and maintaining the senses of taste and smell. However, it’s worth noting that zinc can potentially interact with a variety of medications, including:
Quinolone antibiotics (such as Cipro) and tetracycline antibiotics (such as Achromycin and Sumycin) can interact with zinc in the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in reduced absorption of both the antibiotic and the zinc. If you need to take both medications, it’s recommended that you take the antibiotic at least two hours before or four to six hours after taking the zinc supplements to avoid any interference with absorption.
Zinc can hinder the absorption and effectiveness of penicillamine, a medication utilized in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. If you need to take both medications, it’s advised that you take zinc supplements at least two hours prior to or after taking penicillamine to avoid any potential interaction.
Melatonin is a hormone synthesized by the brain in response to darkness. It plays a crucial role in regulating the timing of the body’s internal clock, or circadian rhythm, and promoting sleep.
Many individuals take melatonin supplements to aid in sleep or to alleviate jet lag.
However, it’s important to note that melatonin may potentially interact with several
Anticoagulant medications, also known as blood thinners, are utilized to prevent the
formation of blood clots. There have been some case reports of mild bleeding and reduced production of the protein prothrombin (one of several factors responsible for blood clotting) in individuals taking melatonin in conjunction with warfarin, a common anticoagulant medication.
Anticonvulsant medications are administered to individuals who are susceptible to seizures.
There is evidence to suggest that melatonin may impair the efficacy of anticonvulsant medications.
Additionally, some clinical research indicates that melatonin supplementation
may heighten the frequency of seizures, particularly in children with neurological
There is some research indicating that oral contraceptives may raise melatonin levels, potentially amplifying both the positive and negative effects of melatonin supplements.
Some possible adverse effects associated with melatonin supplementation include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and drowsiness.
St. John’s Wort
St. John’s wort is a popular supplement derived from a plant indigenous to Europe that has yellow, star-shaped flowers. It’s often utilized to alleviate mental health conditions such as depression.
However, St. John’s wort has been linked to potentially serious interactions with
When taken in combination with certain antidepressants, St. John’s wort can result in elevated serotonin levels, which can be life-threatening. Symptoms may appear within minutes or hours and may include diarrhea, agitation, rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, and hallucinations.
In addition to this, St. John’s wort can weaken the effects of antidepressants, as well as several other medications, such as:
- Birth control pills
- Cyclosporine (a medication used to prevent organ transplant rejection)
- Digoxin (a medication utilized to treat heart failure)
- Oxycodone (a pain medication)
- Some HIV medications, like indinavir
- Some cancer medications, like irinotecan
- Warfarin (a blood thinner)
When to Visit a Healthcare Provider
In case you encounter any adverse effects while taking any kind of supplement or
combination of supplements, it is advisable to discontinue the use and seek medical
attention. Some possible severe reactions may arise, including:
- Pruritus, skin irritation, or eruptions
- Edema of the throat, lips, or tongue
- Respiratory distress or asthma-like symptoms
- Angina(chest pain) or arrhythmia
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Difficulty in urination, reduced urine output, or dark urine
- Hematuria(blood in urine), melena, hematemesis, or hemoptysis
- Abnormal bleeding from gums or nose
- Jaundice(Yellowing of the skin or eyes)
- Acute joint, muscle, or abdominal pain.
If you are uncertain about the combination of supplements or medications you are taking, it is recommended to seek the guidance of a healthcare provider who can evaluate the combination for potential risks. Additionally, if you plan to begin taking a supplement, it is important to inform your healthcare provider of any other supplements or medications you are taking.
This is especially crucial for pregnant or breastfeeding women and children, who
may be more vulnerable to adverse effects.
Moreover, if you have recently had surgery or are scheduled to have surgery soon, it is crucial to discuss your supplement use with your healthcare provider. Some supplements may interact negatively with medications prescribed before, during, or after surgery, and your treatment regimen may require alteration temporarily.
A Brief Recap
It can be tempting to purchase supplements online or from your nearby health and wellness store for addressing specific health concerns. However, taking multiple supplements or combining them with medication can increase the risk of harmful interactions.
Signs of such interactions may include fatigue, yellowing of the skin, and severe muscle pain.
In case of any adverse reaction while taking a supplement, it is advisable to consult a healthcare provider.
Moreover, if you intend to start a new supplement, it is essential to seek
professional guidance from a healthcare provider who can suggest the best course of action and inform you about potential interactions with any other supplements or medications you are currently taking.
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