Vitamins are essential micronutrients that your body needs to function properly. Vitamins fall into one of two groups, fat-soluble or water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in your fat tissue and liver for up to 6 months then released and used as required. Water-soluble vitamins are not stored and must be replaced daily.
Fat-soluble vitamins include A, D, E, and K. Vitamins A and D promote healthy eyes, skin, hair, and bones. Vitamin E is vital to various body functions, including cell repair, growth, eyes, liver, and skin, and may also help prevent cancer and heart disease. Vitamin K also helps build strong bones but is best known for its blood clotting role, preventing uncontrolled bleeding.
Water-soluble vitamins include eight varieties of B vitamins and vitamin C. The B vitamins include folate, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 necessary for cell repair, new red cell production, and energy. Vitamin C is essential for immune support helps regulate blood pressure, and reduces blood cholesterol.
Which Vitamins Should Be Taken Together?
While all vitamins are essential, some complement each other and work best if taken together. This includes vitamins and a supporting mineral, such as:
Vitamin D and Calcium: Calcium is an essential mineral necessary for strong bones and teeth. Unfortunately, calcium must be transported into bone cells by the fat-soluble vitamin D. If no vitamin D is available, any calcium you consume will not be absorbed.
Vitamin B12 and Folate : While both are members of the B vitamin family, they come from different sources. Vitamin B12 is supplied by meat and meat sources, including eggs and milk. Folate is provided solely from vegetables, including leafy green vegetables, beans, and legumes. Vitamin B12 and folate work together to support cell division and replication, and folate cannot be absorbed, stored, or metabolized without vitamin B12. Folate and folic acid are essential during pregnancy as they have been shown to help prevent congenital disabilities.
Vitamin C and Iron: Iron is essential for producing hemoglobin (red blood cells that carry oxygen) and myoglobin which provides oxygen to your muscles. Your body also needs vitamin C to absorb and use iron. Pairing iron and vitamin C is crucial for vegetarians and vegans who receive their iron from plant-based sources, which is more difficult to absorb.
Which Vitamins Should Be Taken Separately?
Some micronutrients are essential for health but can interfere with one another if taken together, including:
Vitamin E and Vitamin K : Vitamin E has been shown to reduce vitamin K absorption, vital for blood clotting and bone mineral absorption.
Vitamin A and Vitamin D : Vitamin A has been shown to decrease vitamin D absorption. If you take vitamins separately, avoid the A and D combination. If you take a multivitamin, you will always see a higher vitamin D ratio than vitamin A to offset this adverse effect on absorption.
Vitamin C and Vitamin B12: Both are necessary, but vitamin C has been shown to interfere with vitamin B12 absorption. If possible, take them two hours apart for the best results.