General Warnings

List of Vitamins and Minerals That should Not Be Taken Together

Vitamin refers to several organic substances that are necessary in small quantities for normal health and growth. Vitamins are distinct in several ways from other biologically important compounds such as proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids. Although these latter substances also are indispensable for proper bodily functions, almost all of them can be synthesized by animals in adequate quantities.

Vitamins, on the other hand, generally cannot be synthesized in amounts sufficient to meet bodily needs and therefore must be obtained from the diet or from some synthetic source. For this reason, vitamins are called essential nutrients. Vitamins also differ from other biological compounds in that relatively small quantities are needed to complete their functions. In general, these functions are of a catalytic or regulatory nature, facilitating or controlling vital chemical reactions in the body’s cells. If a vitamin is absent from the diet or is not properly absorbed by the body, a specific deficiency disease may develop.

One 2002 review found that vitamin deficiencies are commonly linked to chronic diseases, and supplementation may help. Even a complete diet may not be giving you the nutrients you need when you need them. That’s where multivitamins come in.

Vitamin supplements which come in pills, powder, or liquid form, fill this gap by providing the needed nutrients to avoid specific vitamin deficiencies. Vitamin supplements contain at least one dietary ingredient, such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, amino acids, or enzymes. Some of the most popular supplements come in a multivitamin (which can help you avoid taking a dozen pills each day), but they can also be purchased as a standalone supplement.

According to the CDC, many Americans are not getting enough of all the major vitamins and minerals the body needs. For instance, according to the most recent US Dietary Guidelines, a number of Americans aren’t getting sufficient amounts of vitamins, A, D, E, and C, this is despite 86% of Americans taking vitamins or supplements, according to a poll conducted on behalf of the American Osteopathic Association. 

What is a drug interaction?

A drug interaction can be defined as an interaction between a drug and another substance that prevents the drug from performing as expected. This definition applies to interactions of drugs with other drugs (drug-drug interactions), as well as drugs with food (drug-food interactions) and other substances.

Whenever two or more drugs are being taken, there is a chance that there will be an interaction among the drugs. The interaction may increase or decrease the effectiveness of the drugs or the side effects of the drugs. The likelihood of drug interactions increases as the number of drugs being taken increases. Therefore, people who take several drugs are at the greatest risk for interactions. Drug interactions contribute to the cost of healthcare because of the costs of medical care that are required to treat problems caused by changes in effectiveness or side effects. Interactions also can lead to psychological suffering that can be avoided.

Certain supplements, including vitamin K (which helps blood clot), zinc (which some people believe boosts immunity), and omega-3s (which thin the blood), may interact with prescription and over-the-counter medications. Whether you’re taking a daily aspirin to protect against heart disease or you’re on an antibiotic for a bacterial infection, the supplements you’re taking could interfere or enhance the effects of your medications. You should always share with your physician and pharmacist a list of any supplements you are currently taking to help avoid these negative interactions.

List of Vitamins and Minerals That should Not Be Taken Together

When taken together, some Vitamin and mineral supplements can have a synergic effect on another vitamin or mineral. For example, vitamin C helps the body absorb iron. Researchers have also shown that magnesium can improve vitamin D levels. However, there are other vitamins and minerals which actually work against each other for example vitamin A can decrease vitamin D uptake. That’s why you’ll almost always find that the percentage daily value (% DV) of vitamin D is higher than vitamin A on most multivitamin nutrition labels. 

For this reason, you should avoid taking more than one multivitamin product at the same time unless your doctor tells you to. Taking similar vitamin products together can result in a vitamin overdose or serious side effects. Avoid taking the following vitamins and minerals together

  • Vitamin A with Vitamin D
  • Calcium with Iron
  • Zinc With Copper
  • Calcium with Zinc, or Magnesium supplements at the same time.


Dr. Oche Otorkpa PG Cert, MPH, PhD

Dr. Oche is a seasoned Public Health specialist who holds a post graduate certificate in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, an MPH, and a PhD both from Texila American University. He is a member of the International Society of Substance Use Professionals and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK. He authored two books: "The Unseen Terrorist," published by AuthorHouse UK, and "The Night Before I Killed Addiction."
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