There are times when people had to use probiotics to increase the number of good bacteria in their gut.
In children and infants, the use of these probiotics often goes together with vitamins.
But, is this combination safe?
In this article, you will learn about the differences between probiotics and vitamins, the benefits of combining them, and the possible risks associated with this combination.
Here's What's In Store For You...
- Is It Safe To Take Probiotics with Vitamins?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is It Safe To Take Probiotics with Vitamins?
Are Probiotic Supplements Vitamins?
Some people may consider a probiotic product as a vitamin and this is not correct.
A probiotic is not a vitamin or mineral even if it supports the immune system.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that may come in probiotic capsules or liquid form.
These are dietary supplements that balance gut flora.
Vitamins are derived from organic substances while probiotics are living organisms.
Other differences and similarities between these two include the following:
- Vitamins are classified into two: fat-soluble vitamins and water-soluble vitamins. The fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E, and K. On the other hand, the water-soluble vitamins are vitamins B and C.
- A probiotic supplement is derived from different probiotic bacteria species. The common probiotic bacteria sources include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. A probiotic supplement may also be derived from yeast.
- Both vitamins and probiotic products may come in powder and liquid form. In children, vitamin and probiotic gummies are popular.
- Both of these can support gut health. Vitamins enhance digestion, promote proper metabolic functions, and support nutrient absorption while probiotics balance the gut microbiome.
Although they provide many health benefits such as supporting immune function, they are supplements that are not considered vitamins.
Combining Probiotics and Supplements
As stated, many users take probiotics together with supplements. In a statistical report from New Zealand, the prevalence of probiotic use in the country is 25.4%. Most of these users are females.
But, what may happen if these users combine these good bacteria products with other supplements or other medications?
Will this combination cause positive effects or will it harm the users?
Gut Health and Other Benefits
When you decide to take vitamins or other supplements with probiotic medications, you do not only support your gut health. Instead, you allow your body to experience many health benefits.
Antibiotics kill bad bacteria in the body and since these drugs cannot distinguish the good and bad bacteria, both bacteria are being killed.
Eventually, this can trigger antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Other benefits of combining probiotic products with other supplements will be discussed in this section.
a) Vitamin and mineral supplements improve the delivery of good bacteria
The use of vitamin supplements, especially vitamin D, affects probiotic products positively as these supplements improve the delivery of healthy bacteria.
Likewise, in a study from India, probiotic supplementation can improve the bioavailability of vitamins and minerals in the body. These beneficial bacteria work by increasing nutrient absorption.
b) Liver fat reduction
In a randomized controlled trial published in Minerva Medica, it was reported that a probiotic mixture with healthy fatty chains such as omega-3 can reduce fatty liver. This combination also has beneficial effects on triglycerides and total cholesterol.
For safer use, patients with liver disorders are highly advised to seek medical consultation from their healthcare provider beforehand.
C) Boost mental health
In one study from Iran, it was reported that a probiotic supplement, when taken with vitamin D, can improve mental health. In this study, women with the condition polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) took these together, and after 12 weeks, improvement in their total testosterone concentrations and mental health was observed.
As we know, women with PCOS are vulnerable to depression, anxiety, and stress.
Fortunately, the combination of a probiotic supplement and vitamin can reduce these mental health issues.
d) Support nutrient absorption
When you have an imbalanced gut microbiome, the way your body absorbs nutrients is also affected.
Eventually, this can cause many health problems and compromise the immune system due to a deficiency of micro and macronutrients in your body.
Generally, the body primarily absorbs these essential nutrients through the small intestine. Some of the other digestive system issues that may occur include the following:
- High or low stomach acid
- Irritable bowel syndrome or leaky gut
- Other inflammation and gut infections
- Microbial dysbiosis
Always remember that in your digestive tract, complex processes take place. But if your gut health is compromised, your overall wellness is affected.
In a systematic review from Iran, it was reported that a probiotic supplement can improve the absorption of vitamin B12, B9, calcium, iron, and zinc.
To improve this absorption, dietitians highly recommend a healthy diet and proper exercise.
The Cons of Mixing Probiotics and Vitamins
Although the use of a probiotic supplement with vitamins and minerals can help you achieve a healthy immune system and reduce the possibility of critical illness, there are always some risks.
In this section, we will discuss the possible effects of mixing a probiotic supplement, vitamins, and minerals on overall health.
1) Build up of too much stomach acid
Stomach acids are produced by your stomach lining.
These stomach acids are generally highly acidic to make digestion easier for you.
Positively, bacteria travel down to the large intestines when you have low acid. But when you have a higher acidity than normal, this could be an issue.
One reason why these acids become higher is that some vitamins such as zinc, folic acid, and calcium can aggregate acidity or GERD.
Because of this, it is highly advised to take a probiotic product on an empty stomach. In case this is not done, an upset stomach can be experienced.
2) Allergic reactions
Probiotic-rich foods and products, when taken with vitamins and minerals, can also trigger allergic reactions. Usually, the symptoms of allergic reactions include DOB or difficulty of breathing, swelling, and hives.
3) Possibility of overdose
Vitamins and probiotics can be overdosed, especially when taken for a long period. To avoid overdose, always take the right optimal amount for these medications.
When these medications are taken with antibiotics, the best time to take them is at least 4 hours after the morning antibiotic dose or evening antibiotic dose.
Doing this might also help prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
Take note that you should not take antibiotics on an empty stomach as this may trigger an upset stomach.
Indeed, taking a probiotic product with vitamins and minerals not only supports a healthy gut microbiome but also prevents a critical illness from occurring.
This combination can improve mental health as well.
However, although these medications can affect overall health positively, there are still some risks. Some of these include the triggering of acid reflux, allergic reactions, and overdose.
Fortunately, these risks are only minimal and can be avoided when these products are used properly.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When is the proper time to take a probiotic product after taking some vitamins?
Generally, probiotic products are best taken 30 minutes before meals. You can take your vitamins before your breakfast but make sure you would not take these two products at the same time.
What should not be mixed with probiotic products?
Taking probiotic products is safe with other drugs as long as there is a proper time interval. Some of the drugs that should be used with caution with probiotic products include antibiotics and antifungals. For safer use, seek consultation from a medical doctor.
Is a probiotic a vitamin or mineral?
A probiotic is not a vitamin or mineral. It is a supplement that is made up of live, healthy microorganisms. It acts as a vitamin though as it supports general health. However, it mainly focuses on balancing the gut microbiome.