Probiotics are "good" bacteria that live in your intestine and help your body fight off infections and diseases. They also may help with digesting food. Two of these bacteria are called Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum. If you don't have enough probiotics in your gut, you may have gas, stomach problems, diarrhea, yeast infections, or potentially more serious infections in your intestine.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Symptoms of vitamin B2 deficiency may include cracks at the corners of the mouth, scaly skin, a red and inflamed tongue, swollen mouth or throat, and bloodshot eyes that are sensitive to light.
Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)
Low levels of folic acid have been linked to anemia, heart disease, birth defects, and colon cancer. Symptoms may include fatigue, mouth sores, swollen tongue, and poor growth.
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
Noticeable symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency can take years to show up. Irritability, weakness, numbness, anemia, loss of appetite, headache, personality changes, and confusion are some of the signs and symptoms associated with very low levels of vitamin B12. Low levels of this vitamin may also be associated with an increased risk of colon cancer, heart disease, brain problems, and birth defects.
Vitamin H (Biotin)
Low levels of biotin are linked with dry skin, hair that breaks easily, hair loss, depression or altered mental status, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, and muscle pain.
The major symptom of vitamin K deficiency is that your blood doesn't clot as it should. You might notice that you bruise easily or have nosebleeds or bleeding gums. Women may have heavy periods. Internal bleeding, which can be life-threatening, may also be caused by lack of vitamin K.
The information presented here covers some of the nutrients that may be lowered when you take certain medications. The signs and symptoms listed can be caused by other conditions. So if you have these signs and symptoms, it doesn't always mean you have low levels of these nutrients. Many things affect the level of nutrients, including your medical history, diet, and lifestyle, as well as how long you have been taking the medication. Please talk with your health care provider. He or she can best address your health care needs and see if you are at risk for low levels of any nutrients.
Ames BN. Micronutrient deficiencies: A major cause of DNA damage. Ann NY Acad Sci. 2000;889:87-106.
de Vrese M, Marteau PR. Probiotics and prebiotics: effects on diarrhea. J Nutr. 2007;137(3 Suppl 2):803S-11S.
Fitzgerald MA. Drug-induced vitamin B12 deficiency. Nurse Pract. 2007;32(9):6-7.
Hickson M, D'Souza AL, Muthu N, Rogers TR, Want S, Rajkumar C, Bulpitt CJ. Use of probiotic Lactobacillus preparation to prevent diarrhoea associated with antibiotics: randomised double blind placebo controlled trial. BMJ. 2007;335(7610):80.
Hvas AM, Nexo E. Diagnosis and treatment of vitamin B12 deficiency -- an update. Haematologica. 2006;91(11):1506-12.
Isakow W, Morrow LE, Kollef MH. Probiotics for preventing and treating nosocomial infections: review of current evidence and recommendations. Chest. 2007;132(1):286-94.
Mandell: Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, 7th ed. Saunders Elsevier Inc. Philadelphia, PA: 2009. Ch. 7.
McFarland LV. Diarrhoea associated with antibiotic use. BMJ. 2007;335(7610):54-5.
Moretti R, Torre P, Antonello RM, Cazzato G, Cattaruzza T, Scapicchio PL. Vitamin B12 and folate depletion: clinical evidence in a neurological population. Neurologist. 2004;10(6):338-43.
Powers HJ. Riboflavin (vitamin B-2) and health. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;77(6):1352-60.
Reynolds E. Vitamin B12, folic acid, and the nervous system. Lancet Neurol. 2006;5(11):949-60.
Saavedra JM. Use of probiotics in pediatrics: rationale, mechanisms of action, and practical aspects. Nutr Clin Pract. 2007;22(3):351-65.
Svenson J. Neurologic disease and vitamin B12 deficiency. Am J Emerg Med. 2007;25(8):987.e3-4.