If your kitchen cupboards look anything like mine, they’re probably stuffed full of supplements of all types. I live by the mantra that a healthy diet contains most of the basic nutrients your body needs. But I also subscribe to the idea that supplements can boost the effectiveness of an already healthy diet.
The problem with supplements is that people are not always very educated in their usage. Some supplements can be harmful when used together, but most people are blissfully unaware of potential supplement interactions that could cause everything from constipation to uncontrolled bleeding. To help you avoid the unpleasantries associated with taking supplement combinations you shouldn’t, here are a few suggestions for supplements you never want to take at the same time.
Fish oil and Ginkgo Biloba
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are helpful for reducing inflammation and may improve your mood. Ginkgo biloba is an herb recommended for treating fatigue and improving brain function. It also promotes blood flow.
The problem with taking fish oil and ginkgo biloba at the same time is that when omega-3 fatty acids are combined with herbs that thin the blood (such as ginkgo biloba), they may prevent clotting. This can potentially lead to uncontrolled bleeding. For this reason, you should avoid taking fish oil and ginkgo together.
Iron and Green Tea
Iron is an essential mineral that helps healthy blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. Green tea is an herb that aids in digestion, controls bleeding and may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Though these two ingredients have great benefits to offer you when taken on their own, they should never be taken in combination with each other. When you mix iron with green tea, your body won’t be able to absorb the iron. If you’re already iron-deficient and need to take iron supplements to remain healthy, avoid taking green tea.
Calcium and Vitamin D
Your body needs both calcium and vitamin D to function properly. Calcium is a mineral that strengthens the bones and assists with proper blood clotting. Vitamin D has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and can help improve mental health.
The problem with mixing these two vitamins together in large amounts is that they can cause constipation and stomach cramping or bloating. If you’re taking a multivitamin that includes both of these nutrients, you don’t typically need to worry as they are probably not contained in amounts that can cause negative interactions. But if you are prone to constipation, you may not want to take high doses of calcium and vitamin D supplements together.
Melatonin and St. John’s Wort
Melatonin is a hormone that’s naturally produced by your body and helps to regulate your circadian rhythm (your sleep/wake cycle). St. John’s wort is an herb that is often used to treat depression. St. John’s wort can cause a variety of interactions with different supplements and medications, so it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider before taking it at all.
With that being said, melatonin and St. John’s wort are a particularly unsavory combination. Excessive drowsiness may occur if you take these two supplements at the same time. This can be particularly dangerous if you plan to drive after taking these supplements. A decrease in blood platelet count has also been reported among users who take both melatonin and St. John’s wort together.
Be Careful When Choosing Supplement Combinations
When used wisely and cautiously, supplements can help boost your health and improve your longevity. But it’s important to realize what interactions supplements may have with each other. I have only mentioned a few of the more well-known dangerous supplement combinations you should avoid.
Before taking any new supplement, make sure you research online or consult your healthcare provider regarding any potential interactions your supplements may have with each other or any other medications you’re currently taking.