After gastric bypass surgery the body’s ability to absorb vitamins is dramatically compromised. Combine this with a drastically reduced appetite and these changes can result in a deficiency in vitamins and minerals crucial to body health. To avoid serious medical problems, consider the essential supplements that must be included in your new diet.
Your doctor is going to recommend a daily vitamin and mineral regimen to regulate metabolism. This is going to help your body get all the benefit it can from the food you eat. But not all supplements are created equal. Some of the vitamins recommended by The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) have different classifications. While they are all important, some are considered essential supplements for the bariatric patient.
Classifications of Vitamins
- Water-soluble – Vitamins classified as water-soluble are not stored and stay in the body only for a very limited amount of time. They must be taken daily to be replenished. These include the B vitamins and vitamin C.
- Fat soluble – Vitamins that are fat soluble are stored in body fat. They can remain in the body several days or up to six months. Included are vitamins A, D, E and K.
After surgery you can expect to take daily multi-vitamin tablets and mineral supplements for the rest of your life. A post-surgery regimen also includes vitamin B-12, calcium and sometimes vitamin C, iron and zinc supplements. It will be up to the individual bariatric surgeon to determine the best supplementation for you, but it’s important to follow these instructions as they will prevent serious deficiencies down the road.
Vitamin B-12: The brain and the nervous system depend on B-12 to operate properly. B-12 also aids in metabolism, the formation of red blood cells and for the distribution of protein throughout the body.
Calcium with Vitamin D: Bone health is tied to the body’s supply of calcium. When there is a deficiency, the body pulls calcium from the bones. Digestive changes after bariatric surgery put patients at risk for bone loss unless supplements are added. The body absorbs calcium a lot easier if vitamin D is taken with it.
Iron: Iron is usually absorbed in the small intestine, but after gastric bypass surgery, food no longer travels through the duodenum. To avoid iron deficiency and anemia, iron supplements are usually prescribed and must be monitored throughout life.
Multivitamins: The recommended multivitamin has 100 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for all the vitamins and the trace minerals. For the first few months following surgery, chewable multivitamins are best.
Role of Minerals
All minerals are critical for the body to function. They play a role in regulating muscle, nerve and heart functions, in producing healthy blood, and maintaining healthy teeth and bones.
It’s much easier to prevent vitamin deficiencies before they begin. Consider the new lease on life your bariatric surgery has given you and be determined to make healthy lifestyle choices and enjoy your new body.