Health & Wellness

An introduction to optimal vitamin supplementation

Courtney Rupertus
An introduction to optimal vitamin supplementation
Navigating the supplement aisle at the health food store or drug store can be a somewhat overwhelming experience. We see shelves and shelves of things that we could possibly be lacking, and we all want to have the nutrients we need to be healthy, which makes deciding what you should or should not be taking a confusing topic.

Especially when you take into consideration any prescription drug interactions, interactions with other herbs, supplements, or vitamins, and which vitamins need to be taken together to get the full benefit.
It’s usually best to discuss your nutrition and health in a holistic way with either a registered nutritionist or a naturopathic doctor, if that option is available to you, to ensure that you are taking herbs, supplements, and vitamins in an optimal way.
They can help you navigate through all of the information out there as to what should be taken with what, and what supplements you should avoid based on your individual circumstances (things like chemotherapy, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and prescription medications especially for serious medical conditions should always be considered before taking something new).
This way, you can be focused on using vitamins and supplements as part of an overall healthy diet, not just a Band-Aid solution for individual symptoms, although when the root cause is treated, those will dissipate as well.
Unfortunately, for those of us living in rural British Columbia, we don’t have as much access to the fresh produce we need to ensure we are getting everything we need from whole foods, although I’m sure most of us try. So some supplementation will be necessary.
Here are some little-known vitamin combinations that will increase the effectiveness of each supplement:

Vitamin E and Sesame Seeds
You may find yourself interested in taking Vitamin E for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities; it also wards off cardiovascular disease. That said, if you consume sesame seeds along with your Vitamin E supplement, it has been shown to boost the absorption of the nutrient tocotrienols by 500%, which is essential for your body’s assimilation process.

Vitamin K and Vitamin D
While many of us almost certainly know how important Vitamin D is to take, especially when living in this part of the world, not all of us know that taking Vitamin K along with it boosts the effectiveness. Both Vitamin D and Vitamin K can be found in fresh leafy greens, so even if you do take them both as a supplement, say to ward off osteoporosis or osteoarthritis, you can make yourself a healthy, green salad to consume both vitamins simultaneously.
K2, D3, and Calcium taken together is a powerful combination to keep bones strong and healthy, and has been shown to greatly reduce fractures in postmenopausal women especially.

Vitamin C and Iron
For all of the vegetarians out there, they have found a link between Vitamin C and non-heme iron absorption. The body more readily absorbs heme iron, but the one caveat is that it is only found in meat, poultry, and fish. Non-heme iron is found in egg yolks, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, but is not as easily absorbed by the body.
However, combine those non-heme iron sources with Vitamin C and it will boost your body’s ability to absorb more iron from these sources, which could prevent vegetarians or even vegans from being iron deficient, despite eating large quantities of iron-rich, plant-based foods.