Gastric bypass and other types of bariatric surgery dramatically alter your body’s ability to absorb vitamins, minerals and nutrients from the smaller amounts of food you’ll be eating. The resulting vitamin and mineral deficiencies can have serious medical implications.
Vitamins and minerals contribute to your post bariatric surgery health in a number of ways, including the regulation of the metabolism and helping with the release of energy from the food you digest. In comparison to nutrients like protein, carbohydrates and fat, vitamins and minerals are needed in much smaller amounts by your body. Vitamins are classified as either water-soluble or fat-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins cannot be stored in the body and must be taken every day. Water-soluble vitamins include the B vitamins and Vitamin C. On the other hand, fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body’s fat and include vitamins A, D, E and K. Minerals are needed by your body for the proper composition of body fluids, maintaining healthy bones and teeth, formulation of healthy blood, regulation of heart, muscle and nerve functions.
As a bariatric surgery patient, it is absolutely essential that you take a good quality multiple vitamin and mineral product daily, for the rest of your life. You will also need to take additional calcium, Vitamin B-12 and perhaps Iron supplements. In some cases, Vitamin C and Zinc (optional) supplementation may also be appropriate. Although the specific amounts and types of vitamin and mineral supplements may vary by bariatric practice, bariatric surgeons and dietitians agree that these supplements are necessary to prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies after bariatric surgery.
There are a variety of high quality vitamin and mineral supplements that will meet the needs of the bariatric surgery patient. If you have difficulty tolerating any of the supplements, make sure to call your dietitian or surgeon for suggestions. Consult with your bariatric health care provider before taking vitamin and mineral supplements.
Supplement Type Function Schedule Interactions
Chewable or complete one-a-day multi vitamin/mineral supplement. Multi-vitamin/mineral supplements ensure that you are getting enough of all of the micronutrients you need. Take one to three times a day with meals or as directed by your doctor. None
Sublingual Vitamin B-12 tablet, (at least 500 mcg per tablet) each day, or injectable B-12 (1,000 mcg) per month. Helps with proper blood cell formation and nerve function. Deficiency may cause certain types of anemia. Take one sublingual tablet daily, or as directed by your doctor. Allow tablet to dissolve in under the tongue. None
Chewable or crushable Calcium Citrate (500 mg, two to three times a day) Calcium Citrate is recommended due to its superior absorption, without requiring stomach acid. A calcium citrate supplement that includes Vitamin D will also aid absorption. Builds and maintains bone strength. Also helps the heart pump and muscles contract properly. Helps with proper blood clotting and aids in the repair of soft tissue. Take 500-600 mg doses two to three times per day for a total of 1,000 to 1,800 mg per day, or as directed by your doctor. Take one hour apart from other vitamins and minerals (especially iron). Do not take at the same time as iron. Calcium competes with iron for absorption. Caffeinated products, spinach and whole wheat products may also decrease absorption.
Tablets, chewables or liquids. Vital to the formation of red blood cells that provide oxygen to the human body. Prevents anemia. Take daily as directed by your doctor. Take with vitamin C to aid in absorption. Do not take at the same time as calcium. Iron competes with calcium for absorption.
500 mg tablets or chewables. Promotes wound healing and reduces chance of infection. Aids in body’s calcium levels and bone formation. Enhances iron absorption. Take as directed by your doctor. Take with iron. Certain antacids may interfere with absorption.
Optional. Tablets or lozenges. Helps with wound healing and supports the immune system. Loss of hair may indicate a Zinc def. Take 10 to 20 mg per day or as directed by your doctor. Too much zinc may interfere with the absorption of other nutrients.