Why not take iron and zinc together?

Verwirrte oder nachdenkliche Frau mit Hand an der Stirn.
Iron and zinc are two important minerals that have different functions in our body. They are both essential for health, but their absorption in the body can be impaired by taking them at the same time. Here you can find out why it is advisable not to take iron and zinc at the same time.

Iron and its importance:
Iron is a vital trace element that fulfills several important functions in the body. The main role of iron is in the formation of haemoglobin, a protein in red blood that is responsible for transporting oxygen to the cells. Iron is therefore crucial for oxygenating the body and maintaining energy production. A lack of iron can lead to anemia, which can manifest itself in symptoms such as fatigue, weakness and paleness.

Zinc and its importance:
Zinc is another essential trace element that is of great importance for numerous biological processes in the body. It plays a key role in supporting the immune system, DNA synthesis, cell division and wound healing. Zinc is also involved in the function of enzymes and influences the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.

Why should iron and zinc not be taken together?
The main reason why iron and zinc should not be taken at the same time is because they compete for the same absorption pathways in the intestine. Both minerals use similar transport molecules for absorption in the gut, which means they can compete with each other. If taken at the same time, this can lead to reduced absorption of both minerals.

Zinc can displace iron in the gut, which can lead to less iron entering the bloodstream. This is particularly problematic for people who already suffer from iron deficiency or have an increased risk of iron deficiency.

To ensure optimal absorption of iron and zinc, they should therefore be taken separately. It is recommended to leave at least two hours between taking iron and zinc supplements to ensure that both minerals are absorbed efficiently.

How much time should there be between taking iron and zinc?
The absorption of iron and zinc can inhibit each other if they are taken at the same time. This is because both minerals use similar absorption pathways in the intestine. To ensure optimal absorption of both minerals, there should be an interval of at least two hours between their intake. This allows the body to absorb each mineral efficiently without them interfering with each other.

What should you not take with zinc?
In addition to iron, there are other foods and substances that can interfere with the absorption of zinc. These include:
  • Calcium: Taking calcium supplements or calcium-rich foods at the same time as zinc can reduce zinc absorption. It is advisable to take these two minerals separately.
  • Phytic acid: This substance, which is found in certain whole grain products, legumes and nuts, can impair zinc absorption. Soaking, sprouting or fermenting these foods can help to reduce phytic acid levels and improve zinc absorption.
  • Iron: As mentioned above, iron and zinc supplements should not be taken at the same time as they can interfere with each other's absorption.

Is zinc good for iron deficiency?
While zinc plays an important role in the body, particularly in the immune system and cell division, it is not the primary mineral used to treat iron deficiency. Iron is the crucial mineral in iron deficiency anemia as it is responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood. If you suspect or have been diagnosed with iron deficiency, it is advisable to take iron supplements to correct the deficiency. Iron should always be combined with vitamin C so that it can be optimally absorbed by the body.

Overall, it is important to maintain the right balance between different minerals and nutrients in your diet.

Want to know which micronutrients should not be combined? Click here for the article:

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