Bariatric surgery has become a more frequently utilized option for many people dealing with intractable obesity. Losing weight benefits health in many ways, including improving blood sugar control and heart health.
Bariatric surgery means that you’ve made a lifelong commitment to taking recommended dietary supplements along with eating a healthy diet.
There are three main types of bariatric surgery: Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, adjustable gastric banding, and biliopancreatic diversion/duodenal switch. All types of bariatric surgery reduce the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
It’s hard enough for people in the general population to fully meet their nutritional needs without supplementation, but even harder for someone who has undergone bariatric surgery.
It is important to understand that you are no longer able to get your nutritional needs met through diet alone – no matter which type of bariatric surgery you choose. This is because the surgery reduces the ability of the body to absorb nutrients.
Studies have shown that nutritional deficiencies are common in bariatric patients. The nutrient deficiencies most commonly found in bariatric patients include iron and B vitamins (B12, B1, folate and vitamin B6). Other common deficiencies include protein, essential fatty acids, calcium and vitamins A, C, D, K, and E.[i]Nutritional deficiencies in bariatric patients include low iron[ii] and certain neurological dysfunctions.[iii]
Procedures that bypass a portion of the small intestine, including JIB, BPD, BPD-DS, and RYGB carry the greatest risk of nutritional deficiencies
Which Vitamins to Choose?
Because absorption can be an issue with people who have bariatric surgery, bioavailability of the nutrients in the supplement you choose is important. Vitamins come in different forms (or types) and you need the ones most easily absorbed.
Following surgery, a chewable, liquid, or powdered form of nutrients is the best choice.
Recommended Lifetime Supplementation for Bariatric Patients:
Supplementation After Bariatric Surgery
The following chart is a recommendation of vitamins for various Bariatric Surgeries. [Source]
|General Supplementation Recommendations|
|Supplement||Surgery Type Daily Recommendations|
|Multivitamin (contains folic acid)||AGB/VSG|
One to two daily
|Calcium citrate with vitamin D3||AGB|
RYGB and BPD-DS
|consider 1000 IU/day|
|crystalline 500 μg/day oral or 1000 μg/month|
monitor and start if needed.
|Elemental iron||RYGB and BDP-DS||65 mg elemental iron in menstruating females|
|Vitamin B1||All procedures||consider once daily in first 6 months|
|Vitamin A, K|
JIB = Jejunoileal Bypass
RYGB = Roux-en-y gastric bypass
BPD = biliopancreatic diversion
BPDS = biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch
|10,000 IU vitamin A and 300 μg/vitamin K|
AGB = adjustable gastric band
- Calcium: Added calcium is a good idea for anyone, but especially for gastric bypass patients. Once again, it is best to take calcium in divided doses (2-3 times a day).
- B-vitamins: The B-vitamins (especially vitamin B12) is important for people with gastric bypass. An additional B-vitamin supplement is a good idea.
- Vitamin D: is a common shortfall nutrient and is easy to supplement.
- Iron: Another common deficiency is iron. Women who are still menstruating are at greatest risk and need to consider adding in an iron supplement.
- Omega 3: Fish oil is a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids that are much needed in people after bariatric surgery. Gel caps or chewable forms are acceptable.
Protein is another important need for people with gastric bypass, so a meal replacement protein shake is a great idea.
Stay Ahead of the Game
The important thing to remember about nutrition is that it is easy to fall behind and difficult to correct. When your blood tests show your Vitamin D level is low, it can take months to bring levels back up to normal. Other nutrients are the same.
It is essential to make daily supplementation a life-long habit. A liquid or powdered multivitamin is your best choice. Look for a product that not only provides you vitamins and minerals but ideally also protein and dietary fiber.
The most comprehensive plan to help overcome vitamin deficiency in anyone who has experienced either type of Bariatric surgeries is the "Life Plan".
For frequently asked question about the "Life Plan" click Here.
As always, discuss any supplementation with your physician.
Click the healthprint for help with your supplemental choices!
click on the store tab to shop for supplements.
This blog was copied from Shaklee's "Naturally Blog" site!
[iii] Berger JR. The neurological complications of bariatric surgery. Arch Neurol. 2004 Aug;61(8):1185-9. PMID: 15313834.