Nutrients Who Play Together


There are some nutrients that like to play together to enhance each other absorption in the human body. They have the chemistry to synergistically work together when matched up in the human body, to enhance each other’s absorption. I adore this. Some nutrient duo power housing. And it ties into our recent blog on the Doctrine of Signatures: SuperFoods; if you didn’t read it, please do!

Below are 4 of the top food nutrient combos that, when play together, bring us great health benefits.

Vitamin C in lemonsIron & Vitamin C

Many people think red meats are the best source of iron; however, they are unaware that dark leafy vegetables ( spinach, kale) provide a good amount of iron. The one drawback to these plant-based iron food sources is their inability to be optimally absorbed, yet this is when vitamin C rocks the situation. Vitamin C-enriched foods will raise the acidity levels of the digestive tract, increasing iron absorption. Pretty great. More nutrients who play together for optimal absorption!

A little side note: vitamin C helps out calcium absorption for this exact reason too.

Folate & Vitamin B12

Most folate is found in plants, whereas vitamin B12 is found in meats. They both have numerous jobs in the body, but one important one, when teamed up, is to keep the levels of homocysteine, an amino acid, from getting too elevated. If homocysteine does get too high, folate and B12 will break down homocysteine. Elevated levels of anything are not ideal for the body, but in this instance, high homocysteine levels are associated with specific health ailments.

Calcium and Vitamin D

Calcium is important for our bones, heart, muscles and more, but it can be surprisingly difficult for our bodies to absorb this important mineral. However, when you combine it with vitamin D, your body will use these playful nutrients, and allow for better absorption. Broccoli, a good source of calcium, paired with wild salmon, a good source of Vitamin d, is a tasty way to increase these nutrients absorption in the body. 

Bone Health Article

Lycopene and Fats

Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that gives a reddish tint to fruits (i.e., tomatoes). Antioxidants are essential nutrients in the body: they fight disease, prevent heart disease and, importantly, fight off free radicals. Lycopene is fat soluble, meaning that when food rich in lycopene is eaten with a “good fat,” absorption is enhanced.

Therefore, pair up tomatoes with extra-virgin olive oil or mixing salsa with guacamole. You will get an extra nutritional antioxidant boost plus make your taste buds happy!

PubMed Article: Consumption of tomato products with olive oil but not sunflower oil increases the antioxidant activity of plasma

Turmeric & Black Pepper

Turmeric is a superfood. It has many health benefits, mostly know for its’ anti-inflammatory properties due to its’ antioxidant compounds,  curcuminoids. Unfortunately, when curcumin is eaten on its own, the  body doesn’t absorb curcumin very well but when you pair it with black pepper, you can get a go nutrient boost! Piperine is a compound found in black pepper which studies show increases the bioavailability of turmeric’s antioxidant compounds by as much as 2,000%. Crazy! If you drink Golden Tea, make sure you add black pepper to get the full benefits.

Article: Influence of Piperine on the Pharmacokinetics of Curcumin in Animals and Human Volunteers

These are just a few nutrients who play together to enhance optimal absorption in the body. If you know other, let us know!


dr. heather

Photo by Lauren Mancke on Unsplash

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