If you open any glossy magazine, you are sure to find examples of what the tabloids love to call “power couples”.
Take your pick
Posh and Becks?
Jay Z and Beyonce?
George and Amal?
Kermit and Miss Piggy (we know where the power comes from in that couple…..)
Call me nerdy, my personal favourite power couple is vitamin D and vitamin A (in the retinol form).
Hopefully, by know you know that vitamin D is critical for the immune system.
But did you know the receptors for vitamin D (VDR) and retinol (the active form of vitamin A) (RXR) combine together like two amazing pop groups forming a supergroup (think McBusted).
It’s true, and then this super-duper mega receptor (heterdimer if you want to be posh) does magical things to your immune system and hormones once vitamin D or retinol attaches.
Vitamin A really is a bit misunderstood, a bit like that weird sullen cousin you have whose twin is super confident and chatty.
It comes in two forms (mainly), beta carotene which is largely inactive, though does have a role to play as an anti-oxidant, and is found in plants.
But then it is converted into the powerful immune charging, hormone boosting active form RETINOL, which is ONLY found in animals.
The issue that the conversion may be reduce down by as much as 59% if you carry the defect on the gene that codes for the enzyme BCMO.
People who carry this gene (like me) make very bad vegans, because with only beta-carotene as a source of conversion to retinol, they may end up deficient on a cellular level.
How bad could that be?
Check this study out on kids with delayed puberty and short stature.
They compared vitamin A 6000 iu and iron 12mg against two hormones and a control group.
The results are pretty clear:
This is powerful stuff, but in reality, we just need to get back to our ancestral roots and view life through the lens of evolution.
Your body will work normally when you give it the right nutrients to run its systems.
All hunter-gatherer tribes will eat meat/organs when they can find it. In fact, meat and honey are their favourite foods.
I try to eat grass-fed, organic beef whenever I can and occasionally liver.
But in order to bridge the gap between what I need and what I can get from my diet and what I need to be healthy, I take supplements (they are supplemental to my diet).
This understanding of the pathways, genetics and diet is why, in our one-a-day-multi, we have 2000 iu of vitamin A but with 80% of that coming from RETINOL and 20% from beta-carotene.
If you are taking a multi please check to see what form they are using, the good ones have a mix, and the less good ones use beta-carotene/mixed carotenoids only.
So to get the synergy, we love to combine the one a day muti with the vitamin D/K2 sublingual.