Probiotics and multivitamins basic facts
Probiotics are live microorganisms (“good” or “helpful” bacteria and yeasts) that can provide health benefits especially for digestive system. Probiotics may be able to prevent and treat some illnesses by promoting a healthy digestive tract, healthy immune system and protecting the body from harmful bacteria. Probiotics can be taken through the food (bananas, grains, onions) or beverages (yoghurt and kefir), and dietary supplements. These products may help in: treating diarrhea, especially after antibiotic treatment, preventing and treating urinary tract infections and vaginal yeast infections, speeding the treatment of intestinal infections, treating irritable bowel syndrome and preventing or reducing the severity of common colds and flu symptoms. There are many probiotics bacteria with different benefits, however most come from two bacteria genus: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Lactobacillus is the most common probiotic, it can be found in yoghurt and other fermented foods. This probiotic can help patients with diarrhea and may be helpful in patients who are lactose intolerant. Bifidobacterium can be also found in some dairy products and may be helpful for relieving the symptoms of irritable bowel disease.
Multivitamins are preparations containing multiple micronutrients, such as vitamins and dietary minerals. These preparations contain 3 or more vitamins and minerals at doses which are below the tolerable upper level, as determined by the Food and Drug Board, and they have no risk and adverse health effects. Multivitamins do not contain drugs, herbs or hormones. These preparations are used to provide vitamins that are not taken enough by diet. They are also used to treat vitamin deficiencies caused by poor nutrition, pregnancy, illness, digestive disorders, and many other conditions. Common commercial multivitamin supplement products usually contain the following ingredients: vitamins, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, B5, vitamin C, folic acid, vitmains A, D, E, K, potassium iodide, zinc, calcium, manganese, magnesium, chromium, molybdenum, beta carotene, selenomethionine, and borates. Other formulas may include additional ingredients such as lutein, lycopene, inositol, choline, PABA, trimethylglycine, vitamin K2, betaine, lecithin and higher amounts of B, C or E vitamins.
Vitamins can be used for the treatment of many health conditions such as: wound healing, canker sores, acne rosacea, alcohol withdrawal, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, hives, osteoporosis, indigestion, heartburn, low stomach acidity, vitiligo, anemia and other conditions.
How does Probiotics and multivitamins benefit the body
Probiotics work in the body by replacing the “bad” with “good” bacteria in digestive system, that can be lost for example after antibiotics therapy. They also keep the balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in intestinum.
Vitamin B1 – Thiamine has a central role in the production of energy from carbohydrates. It is also involved in RNA and DNA production and neurons function. Coenzyme called thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP) is thiamin’s active form which takes a significant part in metabolism.
Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin is important in the production of energy in electron transport chain, in the citric acid cycle and the catabolism of fatty acids.
Vitamin B3 – Niacin is composed of 2 structures: nicotinamide and nicotinic acid. Niacin has two co-enzyme forms: NAD – nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide and NADP – nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate. Both has important role in energy transfer in the metabolism of glucose, fats and alcohol.
Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic acid has important role in fatty acids and carbohydrates oxidation processes. Coenzyme A is formed from pantothenic acid, and it is involved in the synthesis reactions of many compounds in the body.
Vitamin B6 – composed of 3 structures: pyridoxine, pyridoxal, pyridoxamine. The active form pyridoxal 5′-phosphate is a cofactor in many enzyme reactions such as amino acid metabolism that includes neurotransmitters biosynthesis.
Vitamin B7- Biotin is important in the metabolism of lipids, proteins and carbohydrates.
Vitamin B9 – Folic acid is involved in the transfer of single-carbon units in the anabolism of nucleic and amino acids. It is needed for normal cell division, during pregnancy and infancy, and for rapid growth processes. Folic acids also has important role in erythropoiesis – the production of red blood cells.
Vitamin B12 – cobalamins is involved in the cell metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids. It is very important in production of blood cells in bone marrow, and also for proteins and nerve sheaths production.
Vitamin C is very significant for bones and connective tissues, muscles, and blood vessels. Vitamin C also helps the body to absorb iron. Vitamin C may also act as a very potent antioxidant against oxidative stress.
Vitamin A is important for the normal function of eyes, skin, and for normal growth. Body uses vitamin A for gene transcription, bone metabolism, immune cell functioning, embryonic development and reproduction, and as an antioxidant.
Vitamin D has important role in bone and homeostasis of calcium homeostasis.
Vitamin K has a key role in blood clothing and preventing excessive bleeding.
Vitamin E is important for strong immunity and healthy eyes and skin. It also has antioxidant properties.
Can patients take Probiotics and multivitamins together
Patients can take probiotics and multivitamins together, it is a good combination and many dietitians will recommend this. Probiotics and vitamins work together really well in the body. Probiotics can help vitamins to be separated and used in the body through the digestive processes. Vitamins do not impede the probiotics role, just as probiotics do not hamper the vitamins potency.
However, it is not essential to purchase probiotics and vitamins for inducing the beneficial interaction between them. This reaction occurs naturally after eating. When food enters the intestines, digestive system immediately filters what is needed from the food and excretes the waste material. Expensive pills do not create this process. But, if patients do not have healthy diet, rich of foods with nutrients such as fibers and healthful bacteria, their body may have a more difficult digestion time and metabolism.
Patients should not overdose probiotics. Too many probiotics can cause in some cases, mild side effects such as: stomach upset, diarrhea, gas, and bloating. They can also trigger allergic reactions. Also, eating too many probiotic-rich foods like fatty cheese might produce health issues, like high cholesterol, high blood pressure or high fat and calorie intake.
Vitamins can also be overdosed, like A, D and K vitamins that the body can store for a long time. They can cause adverse effects if too much is present. Consuming more than one multivitamin daily can cause more harm than good.
The table below shows the recommended daily intake of vitamins and over dosage side effects:
Recommended daily intake
(mg or µg/d)
|30 µg||No information|
|400 µg||Anemia, vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms masking|
|Vitamin A||600 µg||Loss of appetite, dry skin, fatigue, nausea, bone and joint pains and headaches|
|Vitamin B1 (thiamin)||1,4 mg||No toxic effects have been observed|
|Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)||1,6 mg||Urine colour alteration|
|Vitamin B3 (niacin)||18 mg||Facial flushing, liver disease|
|Vitamin B5 (patothenic acid)||6 mg||Nausea and heartburn|
|Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)||2 mg||Numbness and tingling in hands and feet|
|Vitamin B12 (cobalamine)||6 µg||Eye conditions|
|Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)||75 mg||No toxic effects have been observed|
|Vitamin D (cholecalciferol)||5 µg||Eating problems, disorientation, coma and death|
|Vitamin E (tocopherol)||10 mg||Blood clotting, haemorrhage|
|Vitamin K||80 µg||Liver damage or anaemia|
Information retrieved from: