Can Your Vitamins Cause Constipation?

Do you ever experience constipation and wonder if your daily vitamin regimen could be the culprit? Many people rely on vitamins and supplements to support their overall health, but certain vitamins and minerals may actually contribute to constipation. Explore the relationship between vitamins and bowel movements, as well as provide tips on how to combat constipation while still getting the necessary nutrients your body needs. 

So, What Vitamins Cause Constipation?

supplements and a glass of water on a light pink background

Vitamins are essential nutrients we need for our bodies to function properly, but can they actually cause constipation? The answer is yes, some vitamins can lead to chronic constipation if taken in high doses. While most vitamins are beneficial for our health, there are a few that can also cause digestive issues at improper doses. Vitamin D, calcium, iron, amongst others may potentially cause constipation when taken in excessive amounts. It's important to be mindful of your vitamin intake and consult with a healthcare professional if you experience any negative side effects, including constipation. Discover below how certain vitamins can impact your digestive system and potentially lead to constipation when taken improperly.


Iron supplements are commonly used to treat iron deficiency, a type of anemia, and can be beneficial for individuals with low iron levels. However, one potential side effect of iron is constipation. According to a study, oral iron supplements can lead to gastrointestinal side effects in up to 60% of patients, including constipation, nausea, and bloating. This is due to iron's ability to cause intestinal inflammation through the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). As a result, iron supplements can have a constipating effect on the digestive system, making it harder for stool to pass through the intestines.

In addition, these supplements can also cause stomach discomfort and cramping, which may further contribute to constipation. It is important to speak with a healthcare provider if you are experiencing severe constipation while taking iron supplements or a multivitamin containing iron, as they may recommend adjusting your dosage or trying a different form of iron supplement to help alleviate these symptoms.


Calcium supplements are known for their numerous health benefits, such as promoting strong bones and teeth. While there are mixed results on whether calcium can cause constipation, some studies have emphasized that taking too much calcium can have some unwanted side effects, one of them being constipation. This is because calcium can interfere with the absorption of other minerals in the body, leading to digestive issues like constipation. One study indicates that calcium carbonate, in particular, is more frequently linked to gastrointestinal side effects, such as constipation, flatulence, and bloating.

It is important to follow the recommended dosage guidelines for calcium supplements and to consult with a healthcare provider if you experience any negative side effects, including constipation. In some cases, adjusting the dosage or switching to a different form of calcium supplement may help alleviate this issue.

Vitamin D

Many people are aware of the importance of vitamin D in maintaining overall health. However, some may not realize that taking high doses of vitamin D supplements can lead to unpleasant side effects, including constipation. This is because large doses of vitamin D can increase levels of calcium in the body, which in turn can cause constipation. However, it's worth noting that constipation associated with Vitamin D is often at excessive or toxic levels or, on the other end of the spectrum, its associated with vitamin d deficiency. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that many adults receive inadequate amounts of it. It's important to maintain healthy vitamin D levels through diet, safe sun exposure, and supplementation. Consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen to ensure that you are taking the correct dosage and to discuss any potential side effects.

Fiber Supplements

In general, most people do not consume enough fiber. A fiber-rich diet and fiber supplementation can be beneficial for digestive health. However, while fiber supplements are often recommended to help with digestive issues, excessive fiber intake may cause constipation, bloating, and flatulence in some individuals. This is because certain types of dietary fiber, such as insoluble fiber, can actually slow down digestion and lead to hardened stools. While fiber supplements can be beneficial for many people, it's always best to start with a lower dose and gradually increase it to prevent any potential side effects such as constipation. It's also important to drink plenty of water when taking fiber supplements to help soften the stools and promote regular bowel movements.


Berberine is a natural compound that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for its potential health benefits. However, some people may experience constipation as a side effect of taking berberine supplements. This could be due to its ability to slow down gut motility and reduce the frequency of bowel movements. However, more studies are needed to further support this observation. 

If you are experiencing constipation while taking berberine, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional for guidance. They may suggest adjusting your dosage or incorporating other strategies to help alleviate this side effect.


Cinnamon is a spice that is widely used in food preparations. However, some people may wonder if cinnamon can cause constipation. The answer to this question is not clear-cut. Cinnamon is actually believed to have beneficial digestive properties that can help soothe digestive issues such as indigestion and bloating. However, if consumed in large quantities, cinnamon may have a drying effect on the digestive tract, which could potentially lead to constipation. It is best to consume cinnamon in moderation and stay hydrated to prevent any potential digestive issues.

Supplements That May Help With Constipation

adult pouring a supplement into their palm

Prebiotic Fiber

Prebiotic fiber, such as inulin, xylooligosaccharides (XOS), and galactooligosaccharides (GOS), may help alleviate constipation by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. These fibers are not digestible by humans, so they pass through the digestive tract intact, reaching the colon where they are fermented by beneficial bacteria. Short-chain fatty acids are a byproduct of the fermentation process, which help to soften the stool and promote regular bowel movements. Additionally, prebiotic fiber can increase stool bulk and improve the overall health of the gut microbiome, making it easier to pass stools and reducing the likelihood of constipation.

A study suggests that consuming 11 grams of GOS (galactooligosaccharides) daily for three weeks may increase stool frequency, particularly in adults with low stool frequency (≤3 bowel movements per week) and in middle-aged adults (35 years and older). Additionally, GOS intake was associated with an increase in fecal Bifidobacterium, indicating a potential role for prebiotics in managing constipation.


Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are beneficial for digestive health. They can help relieve constipation by promoting the growth of good bacteria in the gut, which can help improve digestion and regulate bowel movements. Probiotics can also help soften stool, making it easier to pass.

Research has shown that certain strains of probiotics, such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, may be particularly effective in relieving constipation. One study demonstrated that in adults with functional constipation, the use of multistrain probiotics led to a reduction in whole gut transit time by 13.75 hours and an increase in the frequency of weekly bowel movements.

In addition, incorporating probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut into your diet or taking a probiotic supplement may help alleviate symptoms of constipation and promote overall gut health. 


When dealing with occasional constipation, forms of magnesium oxide and magnesium citrate can offer relief. These supplements work by drawing water into the intestines, which softens the stool and makes it easier to pass. Magnesium oxide is commonly used as a laxative because it has a high magnesium content, while magnesium citrate is recognized for helping promote regular bowel movements. Both forms of magnesium can help alleviate constipation quickly and effectively, making them a popular choice for those seeking relief from digestive issues. Consult with a healthcare professional to determine the optimal dosage to treat your condition. 

Other Methods to Prevent Constipation

a variety of healthy natural foods including spinach, bananas, avocado, nuts, eggs

Balanced Diet

A balanced diet plays a crucial role in preventing constipation as it provides the necessary nutrients and fiber to promote healthy digestion. Foods rich in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, help to add bulk to the stool and facilitate regular bowel movements. In contrast, a diet high in processed foods and low in fiber can contribute to constipation by slowing down the digestion process and causing inflammation. By addressing the root cause of constipation through a balanced diet, individuals can avoid the discomfort and inconvenience associated with irregular bowel movements. Incorporating a variety of nutrient-dense foods into daily meals can help maintain optimal digestive health.


Exercise can help prevent constipation in several ways. Firstly, physical activity helps stimulate the muscles in the bowel, which can promote more regular bowel movements. Secondly, exercise can help reduce the amount of time it takes for food to move through the digestive system, preventing stool from becoming hardened and difficult to pass. Additionally, regular physical activity can help maintain a healthy body weight, which is important for overall digestive health. Lastly, exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety, which are common triggers for constipation. Incorporating regular exercise into your routine can be a simple and effective way to prevent constipation and improve your overall health.

Stress Management

Stress management plays a crucial role in preventing constipation. When the body is under stress, it can lead to digestive issues such as constipation. Incorporating adaptogens like ashwagandha, rhodiola rosea, and holy basil into your routine can help reduce stress levels and promote overall well-being. These adaptogens can help the body adapt to stressors and regulate hormone levels, which in turn can improve digestion and prevent constipation. By managing stress through the use of adaptogens, individuals can support their digestive health and minimize the occurrence of constipation.

In Conclusion

Constipation is the most common digestive issue. For some individuals, certain supplements can cause constipation symptoms to worsen, but typically this occurs when taking high doses or excessive doses of a supplement. While dietary supplement intake can be beneficial for overall health, it's important to be cautious of the risk of constipation when taking certain supplements such as iron. Vitamin D supplementation at excessive doses has also been associated with constipation. Consult with a healthcare provider before starting any supplements for constipation to ensure they will treat constipation without making it worse.

Ultimately, supplements can be an important part of your routine to help fill dietary gaps. To avoid and improve constipation, follow a balanced diet and adhere to proper recommended dosages of your supplements. By being knowledgeable about the associated risks and benefits of supplements containing vitamins, individuals can better manage their constipation and overall well-being.

Suggested Products