Every Batman has his Robin, every dog has its bone, and every sundae has its cherry. Some of your favorite things only achieve greatness when they’re combined—and that goes for nutrients too. While many popular supplements work well by themselves, some only reach their full potential when they’re paired with others. Knowing these combos can make a difference to your health. So, grab your peanut butter and jelly sandwich and get ready for a deep dive into some dynamic nutrient duos.
Calcium & Vitamin D
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in your body (it’s a major part of your skeleton!). But it isn’t only essential for bone health; it also keeps your muscles and nerves working properly. To stay healthy, you need to get plenty of calcium in your diet—but that’s not as easy as it sounds. While calcium is prevalent in foods like spinach, kale, dairy and some fortified in plant-based milks, your body can’t make full use of it without an important little helper: Vitamin D.
This is because Vitamin D helps convert calcium to a more active form that your body can more easily absorb.1 If you’re low on Vitamin D, you may be low on calcium too—even if you’re getting it in your diet. It’s a little like lifting weights with the wrong form: Your muscles feel like they’re being worked, but they aren’t being properly exercised. It’s only when you combine calcium and Vitamin D that these nutrients work at their full potential.
So how do you make sure you get enough Vitamin D? The best source is the sun. About 20 minutes daily is sufficient in most regions (don’t forget your spf!). But if you can’t commit to spending that amount of time baking outdoors, look for foods fortified with Vitamin D like milk and juices (remember the juice Sunny D? It’s call that for good reason!) Strong bones for the win!
Iron & Vitamin C
Iron is essential to the production of hemoglobin, that famous red protein that carries oxygen to your cells so they can do their daily work. Not surprisingly, if you’re low on iron, you may feel low on energy. For meat eaters, getting enough is generally pretty simple, since dark meats are packed with an easy-to-use form of the mineral known as heme iron. Keep eating your steak, and you’re good to go.
For vegetarians, it’s not so simple. While iron can be found in green leafy vegetables like spinach, it comes in a less usable form called non-heme iron, which is harder for your body to absorb. Think of it like having a bowl of cereal with only half the milk; yes, there’s some benefit, but it only does half the job. The good news for the leaf eaters of the world? There’s a solution: Vitamin C.
Vitamin C is non-heme iron’s BFF, helping your body convert it to a more absorbable form that can be used to its full potential. So next time you’re having a spinach salad or throwing spinach in a smoothie, think of adding a source of Vitamin C like citrus to get the full benefit!
Turmeric & Black Pepper
Turmeric is a vibrant orange root that’s commonly used both in cooking and as a supplement. It’s a rich source of the polyphenol curcumin, which helps maintain the health of your cells.2 While this famous spice is certainly beneficial on its own, when it’s combined with black pepper, it becomes a superstar. This is because black pepper contains bioperine, a compound that has been shown to significantly increase the absorption of turmeric, helping to maximize its benefits!3 Next time you decide to use turmeric in a dish, don’t forget to add a sprinkle of black pepper to get the most from your meal. Not a fan? Try a supplement that already contains bioperine as an active ingredient!
Teamwork makes the dream work, right? While many nutrients work well on their own, some can do wonders when combined. Calling in these dynamic duos can help you perform your best!
Hayley is a Licensed Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Florida State University and a Master of Science in Dietetics from the University of Rhode Island. Hayley is dedicated to empowering individuals to achieve their nutritional goals through evidence-based practices.
Do you have questions on how you may benefit from supplements? Reach out to one of our experts, or take Persona’s free nutrition assessment, and learn exactly what you need to take your wellness to the next level.