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What is a Supplement Stack?

What is a Supplement Stack?

Have you heard of supplement stacks? This trend of combining multiple supplements to achieve a desired effect got its start in the bodybuilding world. But supplement stacks aren’t just for building muscle or losing weight– supplement stacks can be built for any health goal, including better sleep, increased energy, or reducing chronic inflammation. Keep reading to learn how you can build, manage, and test a supplement stack of your own. 

What is a supplement stack?

A supplement stack is a combination of multiple supplements that are taken together to achieve a desired effect. Supplement stacks are usually built with a specific health goal in mind, although they can be assembled for general wellness and nutritional support as well. 

However, when stacking supplements, it’s crucial to take into account what your body needs, how it reacts to each individual supplement, and how the supplements interact with each other. Many people can find the prospect of starting a supplement stack intimidating for this reason: it can take a lot of research and patience up front. 

That’s why we recommend going slow and building your stack over time.

What are the benefits of building a supplement stack?

A good supplement stack can help you achieve particular health goals faster and more sustainably than diet and exercise alone. Not only does supplement stacking provide targeted nutrition that supports your body as you work toward a particular health goal; in a good stack, the supplements are chosen to work together for enhanced effectiveness. 

Maximize supplement impact

Unlike taking individual supplements, a supplement stacking relies on nutritional knowledge of how different vitamins and minerals impact each other. For example, a supplement stack for bone health might contain both Calcium and Vitamin D3, because pairing the two makes them more effective. 

While both supplements are great at strengthening bone health on their own, they work even better as a team, since the body needs Vitamin D to absorb Calcium. This is why many Calcium supplements already contain a certain amount of Vitamin D to increase bioavailability.

Prevent contraindications and other issues

Intentional supplement stacking also helps us avoid supplement pairings that work against each other–or space out supplement pairs that work best with a time delay. Let’s take our last example of a bone health supplement stack that already contains calcium and Vitamin D3. Magnesium is another mineral that is essential for building and maintaining healthy bones. 

Magnesium plays a crucial role in bone mineralization, the process that strengthens bones and prevents the fractures, weakness, and depletion often associated with osteoporosis. The body also requires a certain level of magnesium in order to process and absorb Vitamin D, part of our existing bone health supplement stack. 

On the surface, it looks like magnesium would be an obvious fit for our stack. But there’s a problem: when taken at the same time, calcium and magnesium compete with each other for absorption. This means that if we take Calcium, Vitamin D, and Magnesium all at the same time each day, we’ll see less overall benefit. So what do we do? 

An intentional supplement stack would recognize that the timing of our supplements matters. An easy way to stack all three supplements (calcium, Vitamin D, and magnesium) for maximum benefit is to recognize how they work together. Vitamin D works well with both calcium and magnesium, but magnesium and calcium work better spaced out. For maximum benefit, our bone health stack might look like this: 


  • Calcium
  • ½ Vitamin D 


  • Magnesium
  • ½ Vitamin D

As we can see, supplement stacking is not just about what supplements we’re taking, but how and when we take them. 

How to build a supplement stack

Building a supplement stack can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. By putting in a small amount of time and sleuth-work at the beginning, you can quickly and easily create a supplement routine that is effective, safe, and appropriate for your needs. 

How to build a supplement stack 1. Pick a goal 2. Research nutrients involved in your goal 3. Select supplements 4. Monitor results

1. Pick a goal

The best supplement stacks start with a specific goal. In our previous example, our supplement stack was designed to support healthy bones. Your supplement stack could be designed around supporting athletic ability, heart health, or improving mental and emotional health

While supplement stacks can be designed around general health, it’s important to keep in mind that what each body needs to reach and maintain “general health” can look very different based on a number of factors. 

The supplements that a college athlete needs in a supplement stack to function at his best is probably different than his 90-year old grandmother. Recognizing these differences and customizing our personal stack to support our individual needs is part of what elevates supplement stacking over the use of one-size-fits-all multivitamins (although a multivitamin can be great to have in your supplement stack, too!) Which leads us to our next step.

2. Learn what nutrients and physical processes are involved in achieving your goal

Behind every health goal lies one or more physical processes. For example, let’s say the goal for our supplement stack is stress relief. We’d want to learn what physical processes make up the body’s natural stress relief mechanisms and which supplements support those mechanisms. 

Then, we’ll want to look at how those supplements work–or, importantly, don’t work–together. That means focusing on things like how different vitamins and minerals are absorbed, how they interact with each other (for better or worse), and if there are any serious side effects when two or more supplements are combined. 

3. Select your supplements 

Once we’ve established a pool of possible supplements to include in our stack, we’ll want to narrow down our selection to a number that is safe, affordable, and manageable. Make sure you choose supplement brands that produce high-quality, natural products that work with your body instead of simply opting for the cheapest option. 

While selecting supplements can be a tricky process, it’s also essential. In the beginning, you’ll want to keep the number of supplements in your stack low so you can see how your body reacts to each individually. Over time, as your body changes and adjusts, you can always add more supplements to your stack. 

How to manage a supplement stack

A supplement stack is an ongoing process. It’s important to remember that the supplement stack you start with will change overtime as your body’s needs shift. 

After you’ve started your supplement stack, take time to see how your body reacts. While some supplements are generally well-tolerated, how your body reacts to each supplement will be determined by a wide array of factors including age, gender, genetics, and lifestyle.

Remember: it can take up to 12 weeks to notice results. During this time, make sure to keep careful track of your physical, mental, and emotional health. 

We also recommend consulting with a healthcare professional before and during supplementation so you can track physical changes that might not be obvious (like cholesterol levels or bone density), and ensure that your chosen supplements won’t interfere with any medications you might be taking.

At Snow Holistic Health, we offer in-person and virtual clinical nutrition care that can help you start, manage, and evaluate supplement use, as well as overall diet and lifestyle. 

It’s also important to consult a doctor if you experience any negative changes during this time.