The Bariatric and Hernia Institute
7500 Greenway Center Drive
Greenbelt, MD 20770
Vitamins After Bariatric Surgery
Bariatric surgery is indicated for individuals that are 100 pounds or more overweight and suffering from obesity-related illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, and arthritis. Procedures such as gastric bypass achieve its effect by creating a small stomach pouch and altering the way food travels in the intestines. It means smaller food portions and a change in digestion and absorption of foods.
Other procedures such as sleeve gastrectomy only reduce the size of the stomach to limit portion size and decrease hunger.
Based on the nature of the procedures, there is a risk of nutritional deficiencies and as such attention to nutritional content and vitamin supplementation is very important.
Patients undergoing bariatric surgery will often have blood tests done before surgery to evaluate their baseline vitamin levels. When low levels are encountered these vitamins are supplemented before surgery.
Routine vitamin supplementation may include multivitamins, calcium, vitamin B-12, and iron. Multivitamins help to ensure that daily requirements of micronutrients are met. Despite this, other supplements are still required. Calcium helps with the body’s metabolism during the weight loss process. It also promotes bone strength and tissue healing. Vitamin B-12 has an important function for blood cell development and nerve function. Iron is important for red blood cell development and the ability of the blood to deliver oxygen to the organs of the body.
Other supplements may include Vitamin D that helps with calcium absorption and bone strength. Zinc will help the immune system and wound healing. The exact form of the vitamin and the amount required is usually determined by conversations in the office visits.
Once the weight loss procedure is performed, there is routine monitoring of blood vitamin and micronutrient levels every 6-12 months. Based on the results, patients may have their vitamin regimen adjusted in order to maintain appropriate nutrition. Also, the frequency of monitoring may be adjusted based on results.
The results from bariatric surgery are based on using the procedures as a tool and a commitment to lifestyle changes that promote weight loss and healthy living.