Certain vitamins and minerals work better when they're taken at the same time. A multivitamin might include these beneficial combinations, but some vitamins and minerals need to be in specific ratios to provide the most benefit. Check your multivitamin to make sure it contains these ingredients in the correct proportions. If not, consider taking additional supplements.
Calcium and Magnesium
Calcium and magnesium should be taken together. Magnesium is essential to proper calcium absorption. The National Institutes of Health notes that magnesium deficiency can lead to low levels of calcium in the blood. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, author and integrative medicine specialist, you should take them in a 2:1 ratio: Take twice as much calcium as magnesium. Often, a multivitamin won't provide the full RDA of either calcium or magnesium: Centrum contains 175 mg of calcium and 50 mg of magnesium, but the recommended daily amounts of these minerals are 270 to 400 mg for calcium and 320 to 420 mg of magnesium. You may want to take an additional calcium-magnesium supplement to fulfill these requirements.
Selenium and Vitamin E
Selenium, a mineral, and vitamin E work best when taken at the same time. The mineral helps the body absorb the vitamin and vice versa. Selenium has anti-oxidant properties: It protects the body against damage from free radicals, thus assisting in the prevention of heart disease and cancer. It also strengthens the immune system and helps thyroid function. The RDA of selenium is 80 to 200 mcg. Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant that's essential to building and maintaining muscle. It promotes eye health and boosts the immune system. The National Institutes of Health recommends taking 15 mg, or 22.4 IU, of vitamin E a day. Check your multivitamin to make sure it contains selenium. Some don't.
Vitamin C and E
Most multivitamins contain both vitamin C and vitamin E. Vitamin C is a well-known cold-fighting supplement. It aids in wound healing, and its anti-oxidant qualities may fight chronic conditions like heart disease. It also contributes to eye health. The RDA of vitamin C, according to the National Institutes of Health, is 75 to 90 mg, although it is often taken safely in megadoses of up to 2,000 mg. A study whose findings were published in 2004 suggests that taken together, vitamins C and E can hinder the progress of Alzheimer's disease. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University examined statistical evidence and concluded that patients taking these supplements seemed to be less likely to develop Alzheimer's.
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