Nutrient Synergy

Written by Kamal Patel
Last Updated:

With the pimping of our resveratrol page and the creatine of the accompanying wine page, it seems to be a good time to emphasize synergism between nutrients.

Although you can find almost anything to complain about in nutrition, one of the never ending 'battles' is between a 'holistic' viewpoint (the food or herb is greater than the sum of its parts) and a nutritional 'reductionism' viewpoint, where it is possible to isolate a bioactive from food and supplement with that single molecule.

Neither side is really right. Some compounds are causative of damn near all benefits from the food or plant and can be isolated; this is seen where salicyclic acid (aspirin is that, but acetylated) is isolated from white willow bark and holds most of the potency. However, something like resveratrol or the four green tea catechins seem to be weaker when on their own and regain their lost strength when consumed alongside molecules found in the parent food.

Resveratrol is synergistic with melatonin, Glucarate, and some longer chain stilbene molecules (alpha and epsilon viniferin); these compounds are all found in grapes.

Green tea catechins are synergystic with capsicum vanilloids (vanillic acid), quercetin, myricetin and xanthines like caffeine; these are all found in green tea.

So for those compounds that (1) are isolated into a pill, and (2) show synergy with molecules in its parent source, then it would be a great idea to consume the isolated pill alongside the parent source. Have your 10mg resveratrol capsule alongside a nice glass of red wine after dinner, have your EGCG alongside a cup of green tea, etc.

It costs no extra money, and can make a world of a difference long-term.