Beauty and Self Care

Post Bariatric Vitamins: What You Need to Know

After having bariatric surgery, you will need to take vitamin supplements permanently. Noncompliance with your vitamin and mineral guidelines can lead to serious illness. A lack of proper vitamins can also affect mood, energy, and focus after bariatric surgery. Hence, you may wonder, what are the best vitamins to take after bariatric surgery? This article will answer that question and recommend what vitamins you must take after bariatric surgery.

Why Does Weight Loss Surgery Lead To Vitamin Deficiencies?

Your stomach and small intestine will look different after weight loss surgery. Although the surgery can help you lose weight, it can also increase your chances of nutritional deficiencies. This includes needing more vitamins and minerals.

There are several possible causes for this, and the risk varies depending on the type of surgery. Malabsorptive procedures, such as gastric bypass surgery, bypass parts of the stomach and small intestine. This is the site of micronutrient absorption. It’s the most critical factor influencing micronutrients such as:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Folate (folic acid)
  • Vitamin B12
  • Iron
  • Calcium

However, the risk of micronutrient deficiency is reduced in restrictive surgeries such as gastric band procedures. However, this varies depending on how restrictive your diet is. A vitamin deficiency is possible depending on your diet. Some people have micronutrient deficiencies before surgery, which can worsen after weight loss surgery.

Why Are Vitamins And Minerals Important?

Bariatric surgery is about improving your health; proper nutrition is a big part of that. Good nutrition is relatively easy to achieve. Water, macronutrients, and micronutrients are the three things to consider. You’re probably already keeping track of your water consumption and macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins). You and your medical team will also be monitoring your micronutrients after surgery. 

Micronutrients are a fancy term for vitamins and minerals. Micronutrients are so-called because, compared to carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, which you require in large quantities, the amount you need daily is exponentially less. They are, however, no less important, which can be difficult for those of us who live the bariatric lifestyle. It’s difficult enough to get everything you need with a regular digestive system. It’s even more difficult after surgery.

What Vitamins Are Typically Advised Following Weight Loss Surgery?

Routine testing for vitamin needs, among other things, should be done before and after surgery. This is because individual vitamin requirements vary and can change over time.

However, a few vitamins are essential for everyone following weight loss surgery. Some important vitamins are as follows:

Vitamin B1 (thiamin)

Vitamin B1 (thiamin) aids the body’s conversion of carbohydrates into energy and plays a vital role in cell growth, development, and function. Thiamin deficiency can result in neurological problems that can be permanent if not treated promptly. Your body will require at least 12 mg of thiamin after bariatric surgery. That is ten times what you need before surgery.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 promotes the health of your body’s blood and nerve cells. Because the absorption is significantly reduced following surgery, higher doses are required. Deficient people may experience tingling, numbness in their fingers and toes, fatigue, and confusion.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is another micronutrient required for strong bones and teeth because it aids calcium absorption. A lack of vitamin D can result in osteoporosis, which causes soft and brittle bones. Bariatric surgery is linked to a loss of bone mass and an increase in fractures.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is essential for vision, reproduction, immunity, and cellular communication. If untreated, vitamin A deficiency causes xerophthalmia, which causes dry eyes and can lead to night blindness.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that boosts immunity and is necessary for many of your organs to function properly. A lack of vitamin E can cause nerve and muscle damage, resulting in numb arms and legs, muscle weakness, and vision problems. Immune function can also be compromised.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is involved in blood clotting, bone metabolism, and calcium regulation. In severe cases, a lack of Vitamin K can impair bone health and increase the risk of excessive bleeding.

Other Nutrients Needed

Iron

Iron is required to form hemoglobin in red blood cells and myoglobin, which transports oxygen to muscles. An iron deficiency causes anemia, and symptoms include fatigue, hair loss, brittle nails, poor memory, and a reduced ability to fight infections.

Folate

Folate is required to form red blood cells, as well as cell growth and function. It is crucial for women who may become pregnant because it plays an important role in the baby’s development. Other deficiencies and symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, irritability, headache, and shortness of breath frequently accompany a folate deficiency.

Calcium

Calcium contributes significantly to the structure of bone and teeth. It helps with growth, reproduction, blood clotting, muscle contraction, and hormone secretion. Symptoms of calcium deficiency include numbness and tingling in the fingers, lethargy, muscle cramps, and convulsions.

Zinc

Zinc is a micronutrient required for cell growth, DNA synthesis, and protein synthesis. It is also essential for reproduction, immune function, and wound healing. Zinc deficiency can lead to changes in taste, appetite, immune function, hair loss, and difficulty concentrating. Although getting enough zinc is essential, it is also vital not to over-supplement, as too much zinc can impair the absorption of other minerals, particularly copper.

Copper

Copper is more than just a metal commonly found in electrical wiring; it is also found in tiny amounts in the body and is used to perform various essential functions. Copper is used to producing energy, connective tissues, and blood vessels and maintain healthy immune and nervous systems. Although deficiencies are uncommon, they can result in extreme fatigue, connective tissue disease, and impaired immune function.

Bottom Line

Vitamin deficiency can generally cause symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, depression, and headaches. Vitamins are essential for the body to function correctly. They help regulate metabolism and keep your immune system strong. Thankfully, individuals who have had bariatric surgery have a wide range of products and solutions to choose from. You’ve gone through a significant procedure to get healthy; now it’s time to invest in yourself to stay healthy. 

To ensure your micronutrient needs are met, we recommend selecting a bariatric-specific vitamin that follows the above guidelines. The key to success is to plan your day, stick to it, and find a vitamin that works for you. Micronutrients must be incorporated into your daily routine for the rest of your life following surgery. Work closely with your surgeon and dietitian to determine precisely what you require and how to obtain it.

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