Five supplements that can have dangerous effects when combined

Dr Zoe reveals which supplements to take

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Supplements are widely used as a crutch for healthy living, by helping millions bridge their dietary gaps. There is substantial evidence that the pills offer health benefits when taken as directed. When taken in conjunction with one another, however, some of the effects can turn lethal. Here’s what you should avoid combining.

Calcium and magnesium

WebMD explains: “Large doses of minerals can compete with each other to be absorbed.

“Don’t use calcium, zinc or magnesium supplements at the same time.”

There is also evidence that mixing magnesium with antibiotics can have undesirable effects.

At high doses, the mineral supplements have been known to cause abdominal cramping, nausea, and diarrhoea.

Copper and Zinc

The Journal of Epidemiology explained: “Zinc, copper and magnesium are minerals involved in many homeostatic mechanisms of the body, including specific immunity, inflammation and oxidative stress.”

Several studies have linked the minerals to cancer and cardiovascular disease, but evidence to date remains far from conclusive.

When copper is mixed with zinc, it cannot be absorbed into the body, which could lead to issues in the long run.

Copper is needed for the production of red blood cells and the maintenance of a healthy immune system, so avoiding a deficiency is critical.

Fish oil and ginkgo biloba

The Journal of General Internal Medicine cautioned in 2005 that taking ginkgo biloba alone can be inappropriate for certain people with bleeding risks.

“Patients using ginkgo, particularly those with known bleeding risks, should be counselled about a possible increase in risk,” explained the report.

Taking omega-3 alongside ginkgo could potentially increase this risk, as fish oil also has a thinning effect on the blood.

To avoid complications, experts recommend taking the pills at least two hours apart.

Iron and Green tea

In one Clinical Case Report, published in 2016, researchers found that drinking tea interfered with iron absorption and carried a risk of iron deficiency anaemia when consumed in large quantities.

This is an important finding, as the body relies on iron for growth, development and the production of haemoglobin.

Some people at risk of an iron deficiency may rely on iron supplements to sustain the body’s needs, and should therefore avoid green tea pills.

Red yeast and niacin

Niacin and red yeast rice supplements are some of the few supplements that are able to lower levels of cholesterol.

Taking them alongside each other, however, could cause severe harm to the liver.

The Mayo Clinic explains: “Red yeast rice might contain monacolin K, which can cause liver damage in some people.

“Taking red yeast rice with hog-dose niacin might increase the risk of myopathy.”

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