After bariatric surgery, you may be encouraged to take certain vitamins as part of your aftercare treatment plan. Bariatric vitamins are specially formulated supplements and products that are designed to meet the specialized nutritional demands of weight loss surgery patients.
You might take bariatric vitamins on their own or as part of a medically supervised weight loss program. This is all part of your bariatric surgeon’s plan to help you fight obesity and become your healthiest self. Getting the right nutrients in your system, that you can’t get from food, also ensures you have the necessary building blocks to live a long and healthy life.
There are more than two dozen micronutrients that your body needs to remain healthy. They’re referred to with the prefix “micro” because your body only requires a miniscule amount. This is why the units on vitamin bottle nutrition labels are often in the hundreds or even thousands. The amount you are required to take will depend on the preferences of your surgeon.
Here are the vitamins you may have to take as part of your bariatric aftercare program.
Common Bariatric Vitamins
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): This vitamin helps your body convert food into energy. Consuming your allotment daily contributes to healthier skin, liver, and hair. Symptoms of thiamin deficiency include irritability, fatigue, abdominal discomfort, and uneven sleep.
Vitamin B12: B-12: This crucial B vitamin is important for cognitive function and memory. B12 also helps the body manufacture new red blood cells and contributes to the care of your central nervous system. Taking your allotment of B12 strengthens your immune system and boosts your energy levels. B12 deficiency symptoms include lightheadedness, weakness, and muscle tingling, among others.
Iron: This mineral is necessary for growth and development. Unfortunately, iron deficiency is common in the United States. Weight loss surgery patients are particularly at risk for deficiency symptoms, which can include dizziness, light-headedness, fast heart rate, heart palpitations, brittle nails, and fatigue.
Calcium: You may think of calcium when you drink milk or consume cheese. However, you can find this important mineral in many other healthy foods. Consuming your daily fill of calcium helps to improve nerve function while keeping your bones and muscles strong.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is a critical vitamin that helps your body regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. Consuming your daily allotment of vitamin D keeps your body strong and healthy. Vitamin D deficiency symptoms include muscle weakness, memory loss, tingling, numbness, and muscle spasms.
A Complete Multivitamin: This all-in-one vitamin and mineral supplement contains a mixture of many of the ingredients your body needs to properly function and heal. By taking one or more capsules daily (or using drops or chewing gummies), you effectively fill the nutritional gap that occurs from limiting your food and inhibiting absorption.
Why Are Bariatric Vitamins Important?
No matter which bariatric procedure you undergo, you can expect to eat less food after your surgery. Because you’re limiting your food, you’re also taking in fewer vitamins and minerals. Over time, not getting the right building blocks to a healthier life makes it difficult for your body to meet your daily needs. You may have muscle soreness, weakness, and memory problems. Many people won’t immediately think of vitamin deficiencies when assessing symptoms they may feel, but taking bariatric vitamins can prevent these issues from popping up post-bariatric surgery.
You also have to look at it like this: The whole reason for you having bariatric surgery is to improve your health. A big part of keeping your health on point is to eat the right food types and amounts. Healthy eating is not difficult. You only have to focus on three things: Macronutrients, micronutrients, and water.
Macronutrients are those food components you might have been tracking already: your carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. You need lots of carbs, fats, and proteins to remain healthy.
Micronutrients are the vitamins and nutrients you can supplement with bariatric vitamins.
Following bariatric surgery, you don’t have the capacity to consume enough food to get adequate micronutrients. This happens because of your surgically altered digestive system. For example, digestive enzymes become reduced during surgery. This limits the breakdown of food as it passes through your stomach and into the digestive tract.
Water helps your body carry the nutrients throughout your body. Without proper hydration, your body may not function properly. This way, you won’t get the most benefit from the food you eat and the supplements you take. Strive for at least eight cups of water each day for proper hydration.
Your medical team will monitor your macronutrients and micronutrients to determine the daily requirements necessary to achieve your weight loss goals.
What Bariatric Vitamins Should You Take?
Your bariatric surgeon will recommend a certain vitamin regimen depending on which surgery you had.
Gastric Sleeve: Following gastric sleeve surgery, you might be asked to take a multivitamin and supplements containing Vitamins C, D, and B12. Your surgeon may also recommend calcium with Vitamin D and iron with Vitamin C.
Gastric Bypass: After Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, your surgeon may recommend that you take a complete multivitamin, calcium with Vitamin D, iron with Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and B12.
Gastric Band Surgery: After gastric banding surgery, your surgeon may only recommend a multivitamin and Vitamin D to ensure you get the right nutrients in your body for necessary healing.
How Often Should You Take Bariatric Vitamins?
You might find yourself taking supplements once daily or twice daily, depending on the specifics of your aftercare treatment plan. Your bariatric surgeon may have you take vitamins for a short time. Then, he/she will order blood work to get your daily requirements dialed in.
Start Your Bariatric Journey at Healthy Life Bariatrics
Taking bariatric vitamins is only one aspect of the changes you’ll have to make to live a healthier lifestyle following weight loss surgery. When you have weight loss surgery, the excess weight will begin falling off rapidly, provided you commit to your aftercare plan. Within a few months, you’ll begin seeing a thinner, more vibrant person in the mirror.
With more energy, zest for life, and greater mobility, you’ll get to decide how to live the life you want to lead. That’s what weight loss surgery can do for you.
Learn more by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Babak Moeinolmolki of Healthy Life Bariatrics (310)694-4486.