Certain vitamin and nutritional supplements are associated with gastrointestinal side effects that cause abdominal bloating. Some vitamins may cause gas, water retention or constipation -- any of which can cause bloat. Conversely, taking certain vitamins may help relieve conditions that cause bloating. To minimize the risk of side effects or serious drug interactions from taking vitamins, consult a health professional before taking any nutritional supplement that is not prescribed by a doctor.
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Vitamins That Cause Bloating
According to information provided by Healthwise for the website of Blue Shield California, multivitamins may cause bloating and gas as side effects, as can iron pills. Nutritional supplements containing fiber may also cause gas and abdominal bloating. While some vitamins result in bloating by causing the body to produce excess gas, others may cause the abdomen to become bloated from constipation. According to an NBC Los Angeles article, vitamins are a common cause of constipation. Certain mineral supplements such as calcium can also cause bloating in the G.I. tract.
Vitamins to Treat Bloating
While some vitamins cause bloating, others may help relieve bloating by addressing the underlying cause. According to a Fox News Health Blog article by Tanya Zuckerbrot, a registered dietitian, vitamin B-6 acts as a natural diuretic and can therefore help relieve bloating caused by water retention. It is important, however, not to take more than 100 mg of vitamin B-6 per day, according to Zuckerbrot. If your bloating is caused by water retention associated with PMS, taking calcium supplements of up to 1,000 mg per day may help this and other PMS symptoms like back pain and cramps, according to FamilyDoctor.org. However, as mentioned, calcium can also cause bloating due to constipation. Taking calcium with another mineral, magnesium, may help counteract its constipating effect.
Although bloating is associated with many commonly prescribed supplements such as multivitamins and calcium, this side effect can be avoided or minimized by taking vitamins and supplements in different forms that are less likely to cause bloating. According to NBC Los Angeles, prenatal vitamins contain many of the same nutrients as regular multivitamins but are less bloating, as they are more easily absorbed by the large intestine than other types of multivitamins. According to NBC Los Angeles, if you need to take calcium supplements, try chewable antacids or calcium supplements that dissolve easily in vinegar, as these are less likely to cause constipation and bloating.
Depending on the cause of your bloating, making certain dietary changes may help relieve your symptoms. According to MedlinePlus, people who commonly experience abdominal bloating may benefit from avoiding chewing gum and carbonated drinks, especially those with sorbitol or fructose. Avoiding certain foods such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, lentils, turnips and beans may also help prevent bloating, as can quitting smoking and eating slowly, says MedlinePlus. Taking vitamins at night instead of in the morning may also help reduce bloating caused by vitamins, according to NBC Los Angeles.
When to See a Doctor
If your doctor-prescribed vitamin supplement causes uncomfortable bloating, Healthwise recommends calling the doctor before you take your next dose to determine whether you should stop taking the supplement or take a different one instead. If the supplement causes bloating and was not prescribed by a doctor, it is best to stop taking it, says Healthwise. Also keep in mind that your bloating may result from an underlying health condition rather than your vitamin supplement. Contact your doctor if your bloating is accompanied by abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, blood in stool, dark, tarry-looking stools, weight loss or worsening heartburn, as these symptoms may indicate a serious medical condition.
- Blue Shield of California: Topic: Medicines or Vitamins that Cause Gas, Bloating or Burping
- FamilyDoctor.org: PMS
- MedlinePlus: Abdominal Bloating
- University of Washington Courses Web Server: Calcium to Treat and Prevent Osteoporosis
- Fox News Health Blog: Avoiding the Bloat
- NBC Los Angeles: Constipation -- Why Does it Happen