What Vitamins and Medications Should Not Be Taken Together? - A Comprehensive Guide

Learn about vitamins & medications interactions - what vitamins & medications should not be taken together - potential risks & side effects.

What Vitamins and Medications Should Not Be Taken Together? - A Comprehensive Guide

You've probably heard about the importance of calcium and vitamin D in promoting strong bones and teeth. Calcium is an essential mineral that also supports heart health. Approximately 40 percent of the U. S.

population is deficient in vitamin D, which plays a vital role in calcium absorption. Without an adequate supply of vitamin D, the body cannot absorb or use calcium correctly. Iron is another essential mineral that the body needs to function properly. It is necessary for the production of red blood cells, while calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth and a healthy heart.

People with iron deficiency may experience a condition called iron deficiency anemia, whose symptoms often include extreme fatigue, weakness, and lethargy. Generally, increasing the consumption of iron-rich foods, such as beef, dark leafy vegetables, lentils, beans, and nuts, is enough to improve iron levels, but some people may also need to take an iron supplement.

When to Take Calcium and Iron Supplements

People who take calcium supplements should be aware of when they are taking them. The National Institutes of Health found that the body may not be able to absorb iron effectively when an iron supplement is taken in combination with a calcium supplement.

To avoid this problem, it is recommended that people taking both supplements take them several hours apart.

Interactions with Antibiotics

Several supplements may decrease the effectiveness of oral antibiotics (doxycycline, minocycline, tetracycline, and others). To reduce the risk of problems, take the supplement at least 2 hours before or after the antibiotic. Supplements that may interact adversely with common oral antibiotics include calcium, iron, magnesium, psyllium, and zinc.

Interactions with Anticoagulants

Many supplements can interact dangerously with anticoagulants (anticoagulants) such as warfarin (even with standard aspirin), intensifying the effect of the medication and may cause excessive bleeding. These supplements include fish oils, garlic, ginger, ginkgo biloba, Pau d'arco, matricaria, vitamin E, vitamin K (counteracts the effects of the anticoagulant medication rather than intensifying them) and white willow bark.

Interactions with Antidepressants

There are a number of supplements that should not be taken with antidepressants of any kind without consulting your doctor. Common medications in this category are fluoxetine (such as Lovan, Prozac, or Zactin), paroxetine (Aropax, Oxetine, and Paxtine), and sertraline (Xydep and Zoloft).

There is a risk of serious adverse interactions when taken with Melatonin or St. John's Wort; antidepressants known as monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors such as phenelzine (Nardil) and tranylcypromine (Parnate) should not be taken within 14 days of certain dietary supplements due to the risk of anxiety, confusion, excessive sedation, and other potentially serious reactions.

Interactions with Diabetes Medications

Be careful when taking insulin supplements and oral medications for diabetes. There may be a risk of adverse side effects such as increased blood sugar-lowering action or changes in the effectiveness of medications.

Supplements that may pose risks include alpha lipoic acid, cat's claw, chromium, dandelion and ginseng (Panax or Siberian).

Interactions with Diuretics

Agents classified as asa diuretics (for example bumetanide, ethacrynic acid and frusemide) should not be used with other supplements because of the risk of increasing or decreasing the diuretic effect of the drug. These are dandelion, ginseng (Panax) and glucosamine. Agents classified as thiazide diuretics (for example chlorothiazide, indapamide hydrochlorothiazide and metolazone) should not be used with certain supplements because of the risk of increasing or decreasing the diuretic effect of the drug or in some cases causing serious side effects.

Those that should be avoided in this case are aloe vera calcium dandelion glucosamine hawthorn licorice and potassium.

Interactions with Psychiatric Medications

Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors such as selegiline (Eldepryl and Selgene) should not be taken within 14 days of taking certain dietary supplements because of the risk of anxiety confusion excessive sedation and other potentially serious reactions. Unfortunately there isn't enough clinical evidence to know exactly how these supplements interact with all medications or with each other. There are supplements that can interfere with the action of a wide range of psychiatric medications such as antipsychotics anxiolytics and antimaniacs.

Considering that a prescription 20 mEq tablet contains 780 mg of potassium a patient can easily accumulate it if they use a salt substitute and therefore should be warned not to consume these products if they are taking medications that retain potassium.

Interactions with Cholesterol Medications

Using a vitamin C vitamin E or beta-carotene supplement may adversely affect the ability of niacin and cholesterol medications to increase HDL levels. Vitamin B3 is often recommended for use with cholesterol medications especially simvastatin to help increase levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good cholesterol”.

Interactions with Vitamin A

It's easy to ingest too much vitamin A given its availability in many plant and animal foods so women who may become pregnant should avoid supplements that include it.

Dietary supplements are widely used and include vitamins minerals and other lesser-known substances such as amino acids botanicals and botanical ingredients. For a short course of medication it is generally possible to discontinue the supplement until therapy is complete. When considering taking a multivitamin patients should look for a dietary supplement that provides no more than 100 percent of the daily value for each nutrient. Information on the use of vitamins minerals herbal products and other nutraceuticals should be documented in patient records for future reference.

Elise Ledwig
Elise Ledwig

Professional tv expert. Freelance zombie guru. Proud gamer. Proud bacon fanatic. Proud pop culture practitioner.

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