Q:

What are the side effects of bile salt supplements?

A:

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The most common side effects of bile salt or acid supplements are gastrointestinal issues, such as constipation, abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, weight loss, flatulence, heartburn and gallstones, explains MedicineNet. Infrequent side effects include burping, diarrhea, feeling like throwing up and stomach cramps, according to WebMD.

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Rare side effects of bile salt supplements are abnormal urine color, inflammation of skin caused by an allergy, rash and reaction due to an allergy, notes WebMD.

Bile acid supplements do not have systemic side effects because they are not absorbed into the body. Most of the side effects are therefore gastrointestinal, states MedicineNet. Bile salt supplements are indicated for use in lowering LDL cholesterol. They work by increasing the excretion of bile acids into the stool by binding the bile acids in the intestine. The increased excretion of bile acids causes the liver to convert more cholesterol into bile acids to replace the bile acids lost in the stool. Therefore, cholesterol levels in the blood are decreased.

The decrease in absorption also reduces vitamin A, D, E and K levels, which can also cause vitamin A, D, E and K deficiencies over long-term use, according to MedicineNet. Bile acid supplements can also affect the absorption of other drugs, which can cause additional side effects. Take drugs such as warfarin, thyroid hormones, digoxin and thiazide diuretics one hour before or four to six hours after supplementation to prevent interactions.

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