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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 other more serious infections in your intestine.
Niacin plays a key role in the body's metabolism, and low levels can lead to problems with the skin, digestive system, and nervous system. Symptoms include fatigue, stomach problems, depression, and vomiting. Severe deficiency can cause pellagra, a disease that can be life-threatening if not treated. Symptoms of pellagra include inflammation of the skin, depression, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
Your body uses vitamin B6 to produce red blood cells and to use protein from food. Symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency may include skin inflammation, sore tongue, depression, mental confusion, seizures, and anemia. Over many years, low levels of vitamin B6 may also increase the risk of heart disease, as well as colon and prostate cancers.
Vitamin D helps your body use calcium to form strong bones. Low levels of vitamin D may cause muscle pain and increase risk of osteoporosis. Very low levels of vitamin D over a long time may cause softening of the bones, called rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Researchers also think low levels of vitamin D may raise the risk of heart disease and some cancers.
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.
Signs and symptoms of low levels of zinc include loss of appetite or sense of taste, weakened immune system, slow growth, skin changes, and being more susceptible to infection.
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.
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Review Date: 9/8/2012
Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed HealthCare Network.
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