Vitamins and Minerals
Proper vitamin and mineral consumption are a critical part of your post bariatric life. Depending on the procedure and some individual traits, you will have to supplement to one degree or other after surgery. Of the major bariatric procedures, gastric sleeve patients will generally supplement less – requiring a daily multivitamin for the rest of their lives with the possibility of or individual vitamin or supplementation, depending on the circumstance. Gastric bypass patients will require more significant supplementation due to the malabsorptive component of the procedure.
Most commonly, we find that patients have the greatest risk of deficiencies in vitamin D, calcium, vitamin B12 and iron. Of course, each of these vitamins and nutrients can be boosted easily using oral or even injectable supplements.
How Do I Make Sure to Get the Proper Vitamins and Minerals?
All you need to be concerned about is attending your postoperative follow up appointments. It is at these appointments that we will periodically check your blood for any deficiencies and adjust your supplementation regimen accordingly. Rarely, deficiencies after bariatric surgery may cause symptoms, so we always encourage you to discuss any unusual feelings – most of which will be addressed in your postoperative packet.
But I Don’t Want to Supplement for the Rest of My life!
Some of our patients do not like to hear that they will require supplementation for the rest of their lives. They want to be off pills entirely. And while we certainly sympathize with that sentiment, it is important to remember that bariatric surgery can improve or resolve a number of obesity related conditions, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, acid reflux and more. All of these may require medication, meaning you may be taking half a dozen or even up to a dozen pills a day. Each of these pills, of course, come with their own side effects. So, for most, simply having to take a few vitamins each day is a welcome change.
Of course, during this time, it is also imperative that you do not go at it alone. If you read about supplements that may assist with weight loss or that offer some other health benefit, do you speak to Dr. Higa as supplements should not be started without proper medical oversight. Further, some supplements, including green tea extract or red yeast rice may have significant side effects and could even be dangerous.
Of course, if you ever have any questions or concerns about vitamin supplementation after surgery, we encourage you to call the office for guidance.