Purpose of Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
By Susan K. Manez MS,RD,CDN
Both before and after surgery you are advised to begin taking multiple vitamin and mineral supplements, but you may be wondering why. There are many vital nutrients that can be lacking in your diet when you are trying to lose weight. This may be because you are focusing on eliminating certain foods, such as starches, from your diet or may be because you simply cannot consume enough of these nutrients from your very small portions post-operatively. Malabsorption may be another culprit limiting your body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients and creating a need for a higher intake through supplementation. Whatever the reason, it’s important that you know why you need these supplements. Keep in mind that your individual needs vary and that you may not need to regularly take all the vitamin and minerals outlined below. Our staff will help advise you as to what you need and how much you should be taking.
Multivitamin: A complete multivitamin/mineral supplement provides you with the vital nutrients your body needs and may not be getting in sufficient quantities from your diet. This supplement helps prevent the development of nutrient deficiencies post-operatively.
Calcium Citrate with Vitamin D: Calcium is critical to bone growth, the regulation of blood pressure, as well as muscle and nerve control. Calcium citrate is more easily absorbed by your body than other forms of calcium. Vitamin D helps your body better absorb the calcium.
Iron: Iron helps your body produce new red blood cells, which contain hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is what transports oxygen in your blood. Signs of iron deficiency anemia include weakness, fatigue, brittle nails, pale skin, dizziness, cold hands and feet, rapid heartbeat, unusual cravings for non-food items (ex: ice, dirt, or laundry starch – this condition is referred to as pica), and tongue soreness.
Vitamin B12: B12 is critical to growth and cell reproduction. It is used to prevent and treat vitamin B12 deficiency. Signs of B12 deficiency include peripheral neuropathy, memory loss, and dementia.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is critical for proper calcium absorption and utilization. Vitamin D deficiency is common among obese individuals and is also often found after bariatric surgery. Signs of vitamin D deficiency include fatigue, muscle pain and weakness, joint pain, and poor concentration.
Biotin: Biotin can be helpful in promoting nail growth and strengthening brittle nails, but there is little evidence that it promotes hair growth and/or prevent hair loss. Adequate protein and complete nutrition is more effective in minimizing post-operative hair loss.
Thiamin: In rare instances thiamin deficiency can occur after bariatric surgery due to poor dietary intake, severe vomiting and malabsorption. It is also common among alcoholics, those suffering from anorexia nervosa, and individuals with HIV. Thiamin supplements are used to treat thiamin deficiency. Symptoms of thiamin deficiency include peripheral neuropathy, burning of the feet, calf cramping and tenderness, footdrop and toedrop, and toe numbness.