Can I Take Vitamins If I Am Taking Antibiotics?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Tip

Antibiotics and vitamins do not always work well together. Once you start taking an antibiotic, you may need to stop taking one or more of your supplements or alter the times you take them. Check with your doctor for detailed instructions.

Antibiotics and Vitamins

Not all antibiotics and supplements interact the same way. But depending on what supplement you take, and what antibiotic you're on, certain vitamins and minerals may alter the way your body absorbs the antibiotic. Also, an antibiotic can deplete certain nutrients.

Tetracycline and Doxycycline

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Certain vitamins can reduce the ability of tetracycline to treat your infection. Other antibiotics in the tetracycline class of antibiotics include doxycycline and minocycline. Vitamins can also reduce the ability of doxycycline and minocycline to treat your infection. Talk with your health practitioner about taking tetracycline, doxycycline or minocycline and vitamins together.

Taking vitamin C may increase the levels of tetracycline in your body, as well as decrease the effects of vitamin C.

Amoxicillin and Antibiotics

Amoxicillin, part of the penicillin class of antibiotics, is used for ear and sinus infections. It is a member of the penicillin family. Augmentin is a combination of amoxicillin and clavulanate for people who are resistant to amoxicillin.

Flouroquinolones and Antibiotics

The flouroquinolone class of antibiotics includes the trade names Cipro and Levaquin. Taking calcium, copper, fennel, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc and dandelion supplements while you're taking Cipro or Levaquin may inhibit the work of these antibiotics.

Trimethoprim and Sulfamethoxazole

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The Trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole class of antibiotics is sold as Bactrim, Cotrim, Septra and Sulfatrim. Taking magnesium and zinc may slow the body's ability to absorb these antibiotics.

Some Positive Interactions

There may be some upsides to taking certain vitamins if you're taking tetracycline. But because some supplements make tetracycline less effective, make sure you check with your doctor before taking vitamins with tetracycline.

Taking large quantities of niacinamide, a type of vitamin B3, while taking tetracycline, may suppress inflammation. This can actually be a good thing if you have bullous pemphigoid, a benign, autoimmune blistering disease of the skin. It can also be a good thing if you have dermatitis herpetiformis, a rare but serious autoimmune chronic skin condition that causes uncomfortable rashes.

Eating a healthy diet, with a variety of vitamins and minerals from food, can help if you're taking antibiotics. Some supplements, especially vitamins C, D and E, can act as natural antibiotics, although you should check with your doctor whenever you think you may need antibiotics.

Supplements That Help

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Some vitamins and supplements are good to take with certain antibiotics. Probiotics, for example, can help. Taking antibiotics can sometimes trigger yeast infections, and probiotics can counteract that effect.

Another is vitamin K. Excessive bleeding is sometimes a side effect of antibiotics. You should check with your doctor to see if taking vitamin K is recommended while you're on your course of antibiotics.

Folic acid can sometimes be beneficial if you're taking antibiotics for a short period, because the antibiotic may lower your body's ability to absorb B vitamins. Again, check with your doctor if you want to take folic acid while taking an antibiotic.

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