Acid reflux occurs when acid backs up from the stomach into the esophagus. People who get acid reflux also experience symptoms such as burning in the chest and abdominal discomfort. Acid reflux is normally triggered by eating spicy or oily foods, laying down too soon after eating or wearing tight clothing that puts pressure on the stomach. However, it is possible to experience acid reflux when taking vitamin supplements.
B-complex is a group of B vitamins including, but are not limited to, vitamins B1, B2, B9 and B12. B-complex vitamins occur naturally in grains, proteins, fruit and vegetables. B-complex vitamins work to convert food to energy, support metabolism and control mood, appetite and sleep. A healthy diet can provide you with the recommended daily amount of these vitamins, but if you are deficient in them or run in risk of deficiency, you might need to take B-complex supplements.
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B-complex vitamin supplement side effects vary depending on what else is in the B-complex vitamin. Vitamin B-complex supplements that contain vitamins C, biotin, vitamin E and folic acid can cause constipation, dark green stools, mild diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain or vomiting. Vitamin B-complex that contains vitamin C, biotin and folic acid may cause drowsiness, headache, mild diarrhea and nausea. Common side effects of B-complex formulas are abdominal discomfort and constipation.
Acid reflux is not an immediate side effect of taking vitamin B-complex supplements. However, very large vitamin pills can irritate the esophagus, triggering acid reflux, according to Dr. David Katz in "O Magazine." As the vitamin goes down, it can irritate the esophageal lining, causing the premature relaxation of the barrier muscles called the lower esophageal sphincter. The lower esophageal sphincter opens as food goes down the esophagus and closes when it reaches the stomach; this keeps acid from flowing back into the esophagus. If this muscle band relaxes prematurely, acid can escape the stomach and back up into the esophagus.
If you experience heartburn or acid reflux as a result of taking vitamin B-complex supplements, notify your physician. The website Drugs.com also recommends reporting any unlisted side effects to the Food and Drug Administration.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.