Interactions between Vitamins & Minerals

Interactions between individual vitamins, minerals & trace elements can have a significant effect on their absorption and bioavailability and in some cases they may lead to dangerous deficiencies and health problems. For instance, regular intake of supplemental vitamin D will gradually lead to magnesium deficiency with its consequences that initially manifest themselves in the form of sleep problems.

For this reason all vitamin D users should be encouraged to take also supplemental magnesium (200mg twice daily) to prevent its deficiency and ensure proper conversion of vitamin D into its active form in kidneys. Below there are many similar examples of various interactions that can be easily solved. 

 

VITAMIN A

  • Vitamin A and beta-carotene may enhance iron absorption, especially non-heme iron.

  • Supplementing with vitamin A may help reverse iron deficiency anaemia in children.

  • Severe vitamin A deficiency decreases the uptake of iodine and impacts thyroid metabolism.          

  • Excess vitamin A interferes with absorption of vitamin K.

  • High levels of beta-carotene may decrease serum levels of vitamin E.

  • High levels of vitamin A decrease vitamin D uptake by 30 percent.

  • Vitamin A requires zinc for proper absorption and utilisation.

  • Iron increases the bioavailability of pro-vitamin A carotenoids, including alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin.

  • Vitamin C reduces toxicity of vitamin A overdose.

 

VITAMIN D     

  • Vitamin D helps absorption of calcium (without Vitamin D and K calcium can’t be absorbed by bones but instead it is deposited in kidneys and arteries contributing to kidney stones and arteriosclerosis).
  • Vitamin D helps absorption of phosphorus.
  • Vitamin K improves absorption of vitamin D supplements and vitamin K2 prevents some of the problems of excess vitamin D (such as calcification of soft tissue). Take at least 50mcg of vitamin K2 MK-7 per every 1000 IU of vitamin D3.
  • High levels of vitamin A decrease vitamin D uptake by 30 percent.
  • Medium and high levels of vitamin E significantly reduce vitamin D uptake.
  • Vitamin D supplements over time lead to magnesium deficiency as vitamin D supplements use magnesium in liver and kidney for its own conversion. For this reason all vitamin D users should take supplemental magnesium (200mg twice daily) to prevent its deficiency and ensure proper conversion of vitamin D into its active form in kidneys. Magnesium is necessary to activate all the enzymes that metabolize vitamin D.

Magnesium deficiency causes vitamin D to be stored and inactive. In people who are deficient in magnesium vitamin D supplementation may not work at all even in high doses taken over a long period of time. Here are two excellent examples: Severe vitamin D deficiency in children results in rickets, a disease that softens and weakens bones. In a case reported in the Lancet, children with rickets received massive doses, 6 million IU of vitamin D over 10 days, without any improvement after six weeks. When they were treated with magnesium because of low serum levels, the rickets promptly disappeared. In another case study published in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," vitamin D treatment did not resolve low blood calcium in five patients.

Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption. The patients were given magnesium because of low levels, and, as a result, the calcium levels quickly returned to normal. According to the study's authors, magnesium may promote the release of calcium from bone in the presence of vitamin D.

  • Silica increases the overall benefits of vitamin D.
  • Boron prevents the breakdown of vitamin D thus increasing the amount of time vitamin D stays in the blood and the total amount of vitamin D available to the body (>). In this way boron taken with vitamin D increases its amount and effectiveness in the body.

 

VITAMIN E

  • Vitamin E enhances vitamin A intestinal absorption at medium to high concentrations, up to 40 percent.
  • Vitamin E can prevent selenium toxicity.             
  • Medium and high levels of vitamin E significantly reduce vitamin D uptake.
  • Vitamin C helps regenerate vitamin E.
  • CoQ10 regenerates vitamin E.
  • High levels of beta-carotene may decrease serum levels of vitamin E

 

VITAMIN K       

  • Vitamin K helps absorption of Calcium (without Vitamin D and K calcium can’t be absorbed by bones but instead is deposited in kidneys and arteries contributing to kidney stones and arteriosclerosis).  
  • Vitamin K improves absorption of vitamin D supplements and vitamin K2 prevents some of the problems of excess vitamin D (such as calcification of soft tissue). Take at least 50mcg of vitamin K2 MK-7 per every 1000 IU of vitamin D3.
  • At 1000mg or more vitamin E interferes with vitamin K absorption.
  • Excess vitamin A interferes with absorption of vitamin K.

 

VITAMIN C

  • Vitamin C significantly improves absorption of iron.
  • Vitamin C helps regenerate vitamin E.
  • Vitamin C may increase absorption of sodium selenite and retention of the absorbed selenium.
  • High vitamin C supplementation may over time lead to copper deficiency.
  • Mega doses of vitamin C may over time counteract its positive effect on iron.
  • In aqueous solution, vitamin C might degrade B12 especially when B1 and copper are also present.
  • Vitamin C is regenerated by glutathione.

 

VITAMIN B1 (THIAMINE) 

  • Vitamin B1 helps increase absorption of B2         
  • Very high levels of B1 may interfere with absorption of B2.
  • Magnesium is required to convert B1 to its biologically active form and is also required for certain thiamine-dependent enzymes. Overcoming thiamine (B1) deficiency might not occur if magnesium deficiency is not addressed.
  • Vitamin B6 can inhibit the biosynthesis of thiamine (B1).

 

VITAMIN B2 (RIBOFLAVIN)  

  • B3, B6, Folate, B12, iron & zinc can’t be fully bioavailable without B2.
  • Vitamin B1 helps increase absorption of B2
  • Very high levels of B1 may interfere with absorption of B2.
  • Calcium may form a chelate with riboflavin (B2), decreasing its absorption.
  • Vitamin B5 helps the body to be able to effectively utilize vitamin B2.
  • Molybdenum interacts with Vitamin B2 to infuse iron and haemoglobin, thus contributing to the development of healthy red blood cells.

 

VITAMIN B3 (NIACIN)

  • Niacin helps increase absorption of B2 & B6.  
  • Supplementing with nicotinic acid (B3) might provide a dose-dependent improvement in hepatic zinc levels and better antioxidant markers.
  • B3 is made in the body from amino acid Tryptophan (5-HTP). However, this conversion requires B1 & B6.
  • B12 deficiency may lead to loss of B3 with urine.

 

VITAMIN B5 (PANTOTHENIC ACID)

  • Mega dosages of biotin over time lead to B5 deficiency and skin problems (acne flares, etc.)
  • B5 requires B12, folate & biotin for proper absorption.
  • Copper deficiency increases vitamin B5 requirements.
  • At the same time too much of copper supplements may reduce absorption and effectiveness of B5 from the food and may need supplementation of B5.
  • Vitamin B5 helps the body to be able to effectively utilize vitamin B2.

 

VITAMIN B6 (PYRIDOXINE)

  • B6 helps absorption of niacin, riboflavin, folate & zinc.
  • B6 enhances the uptake of magnesium and vice versa.    
  • Vitamin B6 can inhibit the biosynthesis of thiamine (B1).
  • High levels of B6 may increase the need for zinc.
  • Vitamin B6 deficiency increases intestinal uptake of zinc but serum zinc levels decrease, demonstrating impairment in zinc utilization.

 

FOLIC ACID (FOLATE) (VITAMIN B9)

  • Folic acid masks B12 deficiency (in people who take folic acid supplements and are deficient in B12 it is very difficult to detect B12 deficiency).
  • More than 1,000 mcg of supplemental folic acid per day can cause symptoms of B12 deficiency.
  • Folate also requires B1, B2, B3.
  • Folic acid requires B12 (B12 deficiency leads to folic acid deficiency). Vitamin B12 is responsible for converting folic acid back into its bioactive form after various reactions – in other words, it reactivates it. Without vitamin B12, the body quickly suffers a functional folic acid deficiency, since the folic acid is left stuck inside our body in its unusable form. There is clearly enough folic acid present, but it cannot be converted.

 

VITAMIN B12 (COBALAMIN)

  • B12 is required by folic acid (B12 deficiency leads to folic acid deficiency). Vitamin B12 is responsible for converting folic acid back into its bioactive form after various reactions – in other words, it reactivates it. Without vitamin B12, the body quickly suffers a functional folic acid deficiency, since the folic acid is left stuck inside our body in its unusable form. There is clearly enough folic acid present, but it cannot be converted.        
  • Supplementing with B12 increases the need for folic acid and vice versa because both play key roles in the methylation cycle.
  • B12 requires B6 for absorption.
  • Vitamin E required for conversion of inactive B12 to active form.
  • Folic acid masks B12 deficiency (in people who take folic acid supplements and are deficient in B12 it is very difficult to detect B12 deficiency).
  • More than 1,000 mcg of supplemental folic acid per day can cause symptoms of B12 deficiency.
  • In aqueous solution, vitamin C might degrade B12 especially when B1 and copper are also present.
  • B12 in the form of adenosylcobalamin requires biotin for conversion.
  • Taking B12 supplements increases need for more potassium as potassium and B12 are antagonists. More B12 equals less potassium, and vice versa. However, if you consume a big bowl of raw vegetable salad every day the problem of potassium should be solved.
  • Although vitamin B12 is considered very safe, taking only one of any B vitamins for a long period of time can result in an imbalance of other B vitamins. It is, therefore, recommended to take B12 with a good B complex formula or multivitamins and minerals (such as Healthy Mega) that include all high strength B vitamins.
  • A number of drugs, such as Metformin, lead to B12 deficiency.
  • Spirulina contains a pseudo B12 which is chemically similar to real B12. In human body it bonds to the same transport molecule as real B12. However, since it has no vitamin effect on the body it leads to B12 deficiency. For this reason those who consume spirulina on a regular basis should take 2000 IU of real B12 every day after breakfast.

 

 

BIOTIN (VITAMIN B7) (VITAMIN H) 

  • B5 requires biotin for proper absorption.
  • Mega dosages of biotin over time lead to B5 deficiency and skin problems (acne flares, etc.). Taking biotin supplements leads to deficiency of B5 as both biotin and pantothenic acid (B5) are absorbed from the intestines via the same receptors. When taking biotin supplements, the amount of biotin in the gut far outweighs the quantity of vitamin B5, thereby leading to vitamin B5 deficiency. For example, pantothenic acid regulates the barrier function of the surface layer on skin. Therefore, a deficiency of pantothenic acid (through excess of biotin) could lead to skin problems such as acne flares.
  • Cysteine plays important role in the metabolism of biotin.
  • Biotin is destroyed by free radicals, so taking additional biotin becomes very necessary in cases of stress, high-performance sport and disease, during which the body’s biotin requirement increases enormously.
  • Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) may compete with biotin and interfere with its activity. For this reason, biotin supplementation is recommended if the daily intake of ALA exceeds 200mg.

 

CHOLINE

  • Choline interacts with folate.                                                                        

 

CALCIUM

  • Calcium leads to magnesium deficiency and increased risk of heart attack, muscle cramps, etc.
  • Calcium impairs absorption of iron. Addition of 150mg of calcium to meal reduced absorption of iron by 50%. However, long-term studies didn’t seem to prove the above true.
  • Calcium may impair zinc absorption but only in the presence of phytate.
  • Calcium may form a chelate with riboflavin (B2), decreasing its absorption.
  • High levels of calcium supplements decrease phosphorus absorption.             
  • Without vitamin D and K calcium can’t be absorbed by bones but instead is deposited in kidneys and arteries contributing to kidney stones and arteriosclerosis. Regular calcium supplementation requires also Magnesium (200mg twice daily), Vitamin K2 MK-7 (200mcg daily) and vitamin D3 (2000-5000 IU daily).
  • Potassium enhances calcium reabsorption.
  • Silica increases the overall benefits of calcium.

 

 

MAGNESIUM

  • Calcium leads to magnesium deficiency and increased risk of heart attack, muscle cramps, etc.
  • Supplements of high levels (142 mg/day) of zinc might reduce magnesium absorption.
  • Vitamin B6 improves absorption of magnesium (vitamin B6 increases the amount of magnesium that our cells can absorb). At the same time magnesium enhances the uptake of vitamin B6.
  • Magnesium is required to convert B1 to its biologically active form and is also required for certain thiamine-dependent enzymes. Overcoming thiamine (B1) deficiency might not occur if magnesium deficiency is not addressed.
  • Magnesium is required for potassium uptake in cells.
  • Vitamin D supplements over time lead to magnesium deficiency as vitamin D in the form of supplements uses magnesium in liver and kidneys for its own conversion. Magnesium is a cofactor for the biosynthesis, transport, and activation of vitamin D. However, some sources suggest that supplementing with vitamin D may also improve levels of magnesium especially in obese individuals? Magnesium is necessary to activate all the enzymes that metabolize vitamin D.

Magnesium deficiency causes vitamin D to be stored and inactive (useless). In people who are deficient in magnesium, vitamin D supplementation may not work at all even in high doses taken over a long period of time. Here are two excellent examples: Severe vitamin D deficiency in children results in rickets, a disease that softens and weakens bones. In a case reported in the Lancet, children with rickets received massive doses, 6 million IU of vitamin D over 10 days, without any improvement after six weeks.

When they were treated with magnesium because of low serum levels, the rickets promptly disappeared. In another case study published in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," vitamin D treatment did not resolve low blood calcium in five patients. Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption. The patients were given magnesium because of low levels, and, as a result, the calcium levels quickly returned to normal. According to the study's authors, magnesium may promote the release of calcium from bone in the presence of vitamin D.         

 

ZINC        

  • Zinc supplementation without copper leads to copper deficiency because zinc and copper compete for absorption in the stomach, with zinc being the usual winner. As a result, copper isn’t absorbed. To solve the problem take zinc with copper (0.5-1mg daily).
  • 50mg of zinc per day reduces iron and copper levels.
  • Zinc impairs iron absorption in water solutions but doesn’t cause iron deficiency when zinc supplements taken with meals.
  • Supplements of high levels (142 mg/day) of zinc might reduce magnesium absorption.
  • Supplementing with nicotinic acid (B3) might provide a dose-dependent improvement in hepatic zinc levels and better antioxidant markers.
  • Iron, copper and calcium supplements may compete with zinc for absorption.

 

IRON

  • Iron is required for converting beta-carotene into retinol (vitamin A).
  • Iron increases the bioavailability of pro-vitamin A carotenoids, including alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin.
  • Iron reduces absorption of zinc (iron supplement added to solid food instead of water didn’t seem to cause zinc deficiency).
  • Vitamin A increases iron absorption, especially non-heme iron.
  • Supplementing with vitamin A might help reverse iron deficiency anaemia in children, and vitamin A deficiency might contribute to anaemia.
  • Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) prevents iron toxicity.

 

POTASSIUM

  • Potassium encouraging the kidneys to excrete sodium thus promoting healthy blood pressure.
  • Potassium enhances calcium reabsorption.       
  • Magnesium is required for potassium uptake in cells.
  • Taking potassium supplements requires supplementing with vitamin B12 and vice versa, as vitamin B12 supplements increases need for more potassium as potassium and B12 are antagonists. More B12 equals less potassium, and vice versa. However, if you consume a bowl of raw vegetable salad every day the problem of potassium should be solved.

 

 

COPPER

  • Copper is essential for iron transport between tissues.
  • Copper deficiency increases vitamin B5 requirements.         
  • Copper supplements may reduce absorption and effectiveness of B5 from the food and may need supplementation of B5. On the other hand, copper deficiency increases vitamin B5 requirements.
  • Over 1000mg of vitamin C a day may interfere with copper absorption.
  • Zinc supplementation without copper leads to copper deficiency because zinc and copper compete for absorption in the stomach, with zinc being the usual winner. As a result, copper isn’t absorbed. To solve the problem take zinc with copper (0.5-1mg daily).

 

SELENIUM 

  • Selenium is required to keep glutathione in its active form.
  • Selenium deficiency aggravates effects of deficiency of vitamin E.
  • Vitamin E can prevent selenium toxicity.

 

CHROMIUM

  • Chromium uptake is enhanced when taken with vitamin C. Administration of 100 mg of vitamin C together with 1 mg of chromium resulted in higher plasma levels of chromium than 1 mg of chromium without vitamin C.
 

IODINE

  • Severe vitamin A deficiency decreases the uptake of iodine and impacts thyroid metabolism.

 

MANGANESE

  • Manganese affects iron absorption as intestines cannot differentiate between manganese and iron. High manganese intake as in black and green tea drinkers often causes iron deficiency.
  • Manganese and calcium compete for absorption.

 

MOLYBDENUM

  • Supplementation with molybdenum has also been shown to cause copper deficiency. It is therefore suggested to take 0.5-1mg of copper while supplementing molybdenum. Also zinc should be taken with copper as zinc also may lead to copper deficiency.
  • Since molybdenum helps to remove excess copper in the body, molybdenum has been used to treat excess concentrations of copper in the body. On the other hand, if the levels of copper are normal or low molybdenum supplements, like zinc, should be taken with small amount of copper (0.5 – 1 mg).
  • High molybdenum levels can cause gout-like symptoms due to an increase in uric acid levels.
  • Some users experience gas, diarrhoea, and stomach upset as a result of supplementing with 100 μg per day.
  • High doses of molybdenum have been shown to block the processing of acetaminophen (Tylenol).
  • Molybdenum interacts with Vitamin B2 to infuse iron and haemoglobin, thus contributing to the development of healthy red blood cells.

                            

BORON

  • Boron prevents the breakdown of vitamin D thus increasing the amount of time vitamin D stays in the blood and the total amount of vitamin D available to the body (>). In this way boron taken with vitamin D increases its amount and effectiveness in the body.
  • It is probably better to avoid boron supplements if you suffer from kidney problems because kidneys must work very hard to remove boron from the body.

 

PHOSPHORUS 

  • High levels of calcium supplements decrease phosphorus absorption.      

 

SODIUM Bicarbonate

  • Sodium Bicarbonate leads to potassium deficiency.
  • Excess sodium enhances calcium excretion.       

 

SILICA

  • Increases the overall benefits of vitamin D, glucosamine, & calcium.         

 

 

Written by Slawomir Gromadzki, MPH

Any information or product suggested on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. Consult your primary healthcare physician before using any supplements or making any changes to your regime.