While our ancestors foraged and hunted for nutrient-dense food, most of us these days, despite our best efforts, don’t get all of the nutrients we need from diet alone. Not only do our diets tend to be less varied and nutritious, but we have to contend with a host of environmental and lifestyle stressors our cave-dwelling forefathers couldn’t have fathomed.
Enter supplements. From vitamin A to Zinc and Ashwagandha to CBD and Valerian, supplements can help us look, feel, and function better. Supplements are particularly important for those of us with medical conditions and/or dietary restrictions who can’t or don’t want to rely entirely on pharmaceuticals. From hormone issues to menstrual pain and autoimmune disorders to skin conditions, finding the right supplement can be a game-changer.
If you’re already taking supplements and want to add CBD to your wellness routine or vice versa, we have good news. Research indicates it’s safe to take CBD with most vitamins, supplements, and medications. The risk of an adverse interaction is low, as is the risk of an adverse reaction to CBD in general. CBD may even complement certain supplements and medications, helping them work more effectively or mitigating some negative consequences.
Iron is an essential supplement for many. Those of us who don’t eat meat or who experience heavy menstruation may rely on it regularly to prevent anemia, which can cause extreme fatigue, weakness, headaches, brittle nails, chest pain, and other not-so-fun effects. However, as we all know, you can have too much of a good thing, and iron is a prime example.
Excess iron can damage the gastrointestinal system, causing diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, and vomiting. Even worse, over time, it can lead to liver or brain damage, including neurodegeneration linked to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Fortunately, CBD can prevent such issues. It may even help the organs and brain heal from existing damage.
FISH OIL/OMEGA 3
Omega-3 fatty acids are basically a godsend for your brain, heart, hair, skin, and nails. These antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, which are found in many fish, nuts, and seeds, may even improve hormonal balance. Not only can CBD and omega-3 fatty acid or fish oil supplements work together like two peas in a pod, but the seeds of the hemp plant are themselves a rich source of omega-3s, as well as omega 6s.
Keep in mind that hemp seeds do not contain any CBD, however. While using hemp seed oil is a great way to get your daily dose of healthy fats, you’ll still want to supplement with CBD separately. Many CBD oils use a carrier oil, such as coconut or hemp seed, to provide omega-3s and CBD in one convenient package.
ST. JOHN’S WORT
St. John’s Wort is a plant that’s been used in medicine since Ancient Greece. Back in the day, it was used to treat a range of ailments, including nervous disorders. It also has antiviral, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties. But it’s most often used to treat mild to moderate (but not severe) depression.
This herb is a complicated character. Research suggests it may affect brain chemistry similarly to certain antidepressants, like SSRIs, by increasing the availability of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. But experts aren’t entirely sure how it works.
The biggest potential problem with St. John’s Wort is also a risk of certain antidepressants. Remember what we said about too much of a good thing? Too much serotonin can be dangerous, so combining it with other antidepressants is almost always a no-go.
St. John’s Wort is also the only supplement known to have adverse effects when combined with CBD. There are a couple of things to be aware of.
- CBD is often taken to reduce anxiety and insomnia because of its relaxing properties. Likewise, St. John’s Wort can cause drowsiness. If your goal is better sleep taking the two together before bed may be advantageous. But otherwise, tread carefully to avoid feeling sleepy when you don’t want to be.
- CBD can also affect serotonin availability. Taking it in conjunction with St. John’s Wort is not necessarily as risky as taking St. John’s Wort with antidepressants. However, it may increase your risk of side effects associated with excess serotonin, such as dizziness and nausea.
THE BOTTOM LINE
For the most part, it should be easy to add CBD or other supplements to your wellness regimen safely. However, it’s essential to do your research beforehand. While taking supplements in conjunction with CBD doesn’t usually pose a threat, there are exceptions to every rule.
Also, CBD and certain supplements might counteract one another. Some evidence suggests Gingko Biloba, for example, might impede CBD metabolization. And CBD might inhibit vitamin D metabolization. Interestingly, CBD has some of the same effects as Gingko Biloba and Vitamin D, so foregoing Gingko or Vitamin D for CBD may provide the same benefits anyway.
Whatever supplements you’re interested in trying, it’s always important to talk with your doctor first. They can advise you about any potential adverse reactions, as well as side effects to watch out for. If you’re taking a medication with a higher risk of interactions, your doctor might recommend routine monitoring to be on the safe side.