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Can we combine food supplements?

May 12, 2022

What is a food supplement?

Before presenting you more on the subject "can we combine food supplements", it is essential first of all to say that food supplements are defined as being “ foodstuffs whose aim is to supplement the normal diet and which constitute a concentrated source of nutrients or other substances having nutritional or physiological effects alone or in combination, marketed in the form of doses such as capsules, lozenges, tablets, pills and other similar forms, as well as sachets powder, ampoules of liquid, bottles fitted with a dropper and other similar forms of liquid or powder preparations intended to be taken in measured units of small quantities” (1).

By this definition, it is imperative to keep in mind that a food supplement is not intended to replace food , but only to supplement it! In this way, it is important to control your food intake before resorting to the use of food supplements .

And so it is essential to keep in mind the following question: can we combine food supplements.

What forms do food supplements come in?

Food supplements can be in the form of capsules, tablets, lozenges, syrups, ampoules, sachets or even gummies (called gummies).

What are the risks of consuming several food supplements?

A food supplement is always subject to very strict regulations before it is placed on the market, in order to avoid any risk of danger . For vitamins and minerals , there is a dose limit to be used in food supplements for a daily portion . This dose is established based on the toxicity risks of the substance in question. This is why we wanted to inform you on the subject of whether you can combine food supplements. There is a classification of the risk of toxicity of vitamins and minerals .

For more information, we invite you to read the article regarding nutritional needs . Although food supplements are formulated in a controlled manner, they are not developed with the intention of being added together .

food supplements place in several containers with plants around

For example :

You would like to supplement with vitamin C , on the advice of your doctor, to combat winter fatigue.

You choose a food supplement containing 1000 mg of vitamin C. At the same time, you supplement with iron following a blood test revealing a risk of anemia. Your iron supplement contains 14 mg of iron, 200 mg of vitamin C and some B vitamins. Your vitamin C supplementation therefore becomes excessive and unnecessary.

You should know that the vitamin C requirement is 110 mg per day, the upper limit for food supplements is set at 1000 mg. No food supplement is allowed to exceed this limit. However, if you have several sources of supplementation , then the risk of toxicity increases.

This is why it is important to check the sources and additional doses of vitamins and minerals if you choose to supplement with several food supplements .

What are the risks of an overdose?

Toxicity risks

The risks of an overdose vary depending on the vitamins and minerals present in excess. An excess of vitamin C can lead to kidney damage, in the case of vitamins B6 and B12 complications can be of the order of neuropathies, an excess of beta-carotene increases the risk of developing lung cancer in smokers... many complications can manifest themselves in the short and long term.

Risks of interactions and assimilation competition

Too high a consumption of one nutrient can compete with another, one will become toxic and the other limiting even if the second is provided in the right proportions.

This is the case for iron and calcium which can compete for their assimilation at the intestinal level. Indeed, an excess of vitamin E reduces the absorption of vitamin K. As for an excess of calcium, it limits the synthesis of vitamin K. Iron is poorly absorbed during excessive supplementation with vitamins E, A and zinc.

This list is not exhaustive and the sources of vitamins and minerals come mainly from food. This is why it is fundamental to control your food sources , alone if you can, with a nutrition specialist or during a blood test before considering supplementation in a significant dose.

Food supplements can compete with certain medications. They must report this, the labeling regulations are very strict on this subject, so remember to check this information carefully if you have treatment in progress. They are present in the instructions and directly on the product packaging.

This way, you have a first answer to the question “can we combine food supplements?”.

What are the recommended food supplements?

Supplementation is done differently depending on each person's profile, nutritional needs , seasonality, lack of sunlight, state of stress, level of physical activity, etc. Before resorting to consuming food supplements , ask yourself the right questions.

After long years of research and studies carried out on the needs of nutritional supplements, Laboratoire Naturveda has introduced the Cell Complex food supplement . The latter acts as a boost to the immune system by providing you with vitamins, trace elements and nutrients.

Point of view of Adrien, 22 years old, student in quantum physics:

I feel tired, a friend recommended vitamin C as a food supplement . This is his solution, but is it mine?

Right now I'm sleeping well and going for a run 3 times a week. I think I have a healthy lifestyle so it's not normal to be tired? Taking stock of my diet is the first step I decided to take. I therefore keep a food diary up to date for a week in which I note all the things ingested, including water. In addition, I notice that my diet consists largely of starchy foods, white meat, and a few vegetables that I like to brown in the oven. On a daily basis, I don't eat fruit, because I prefer desserts like desserts, and I never have snacks, because I'm careful not to gain weight.

It's at this moment that I tell myself that taking a food supplement could help me, because I don't think I could improve anything in my lifestyle to counter fatigue. And I decide to talk about it with a nutritionist friend. This explains to me that my diet is correct, but that vitamin C is relatively deficient in the food portions.

Indeed, it is present in vegetables, but unfortunately, it is heat sensitive and therefore strongly degraded by the heat of my oven. I don't put fresh herbs in my dishes (which can contain a good portion of vitamin C, such as parsley). And above all, I don't eat fruit.

The solution of taking vitamin C as a food supplement can be effective. But the question to ask now is, do I take this dietary supplement, or do I try to modify my diet slightly to make up for this deficit?

I decide to add a raw vegetable dish to my week, red cabbage with corn and grated carrots accompanied by a little homemade vinaigrette (red cabbage contains almost 20 g of vitamin C per 100 g, when eaten raw , it is therefore a good source of vitamin C).

In the morning I decide to add 2 kiwis with my favorite cakes, sometimes I alternate with an orange. I then try to make 2 dishes during the week where I steam my vegetables rather than in the oven. It's not my favorite dish, but I don't mind it.

A few weeks pass, I already feel less tired and I take pleasure in these small dietary changes . I now eat more fruit without forcing myself, I have learned to alternate the cooking methods of my vegetables, my nutritional intake is therefore better adapted.

Adrien could have chosen to supplement with vitamin C, because he understood that it was this deficiency which was the cause of the periods of fatigue that he could feel during his day. It is not dramatic to choose supplementation to easily fill this deficit.

However, it should not become a habit, because food supplements can quickly accumulate in your cupboards.

How long to take food supplements?

Occasionally taking a food supplement (vitamin C, multivitamin.) can be a very good solution. But remember to identify the real problem of a deficiency to sustain your well-being.

Certain vitamins and minerals are more likely to be found in excess in our body. These are either those which are very frequently found in food , or those of which our body only requires a very small portion.

For example, if you regularly consume meat products, your vitamin B12 needs will be largely met. In fact, the necessary quantity is 4 μg, provided by 100g of beef only. However, if you do not consume animal products then you will need to ensure that you meet this intake.

Likewise, most B vitamins are widely represented in cereal products, so the risk of deficiencies is rather low. Note: certain nutrients will have little risk of causing side effects if they are present in excess, while others, their excess can be responsible for more restrictive problems.

We are not going to list the potential side effects of each vitamin and mineral here. But keep in mind that fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) will have the possibility of being stored in our body unlike water-soluble vitamins (vitamin group B and C).

As for minerals, if the diet provides a large part of them, it can be dangerous to provide them as supplements .

To conclude, consume food supplements only when necessary. Preferably on the advice of a doctor or nutrition specialist. Now you know how you can combine food supplements, and the risks involved in consuming several supplements. You will therefore quickly be able to see that plants also have their role to play through food supplements.

Plant-based food supplements are an interesting alternative to alleviate stress, sleep, improve cognitive functions, contribute to the sphere of well-being, etc.

However, be sure to read the instructions carefully before consumption , some should be avoided by children, pregnant and breastfeeding women and may present a risk of interactions with drug treatment. 1 - Decree resulting from directive 2002/46/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of June 10, 2002

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