Vitamins Post Bariatric Surgery

By: Jessica Basso, RN

After weight loss surgery one of the things that individuals will have to adapt to is taking vitamins daily. The reason being is that due to the very low restricted calorie diet individuals are on after surgery they will not obtain the nutrients the body requires solely from their diet. 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 we digest.

The vitamins that bariatric patients require daily are Multivitamins, Calcium Citrate with Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, and Iron. It essential to get adequate amounts of these vitamins post operatively due to the following reasons. Multivitamins ensure that you are getting enough of the all the micronutrients your body needs. Calcium helps build and maintain bone strength, helps the heart pump and muscles contract properly, helps with proper blood clotting and aids in soft tissue repair. It’s important that your Calcium be Calcium Citrate because it will help improve intestinal absorption. Vitamin B12 helps with proper blood cell formation and nerve function. Iron is vital to the formation of red blood cells that provide oxygen to the body. Iron should NEVER be taken with Calcium but you can take Vitamin C with iron to help aid in absorption. Do not take any of these vitamins with caffeinated beverages. Caffeine products can decrease absorption of vitamins.

Bloodwork is essential for making sure individuals are getting the adequate amounts of vitamins post operatively as well as to be aware of the following signs and symptoms that may develop with certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

p>Vitamin A deficiency can cause poor night vision, rough crackled skin, slow wound healing, inability to perspire, and reduced ability to taste, hear, or smell.

Vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteomalacia (soft porous bones that fracture easily)

Vitamin E deficiency can decrease the inability to absorb fat.

Vitamin K deficiency can cause failure of blood to clot.

Vitamin C deficiency can lead to bleeding of the nose or gums, bruising, painful or swollen joints, increased susceptibility to infection, slow wound healing, or muscle pains.

Vitamin B1 (aka thiamin) deficiency can lead to poor appetite, upset stomach (Nausea & Vomiting), mental depression, inability to concentrate.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to anemia, nerve damage, fatigue, or heart palpitations, tingling in the extremities, irritability, confusion, forgetfulness.

Calcium deficiency can lead to osteoporosis (poor bone density), muscle cramps, insomnia, tooth decay, weak brittle nails.

Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, fatigue, brittle nails, swelling of the tongue, cracks in the sides of the mouth, frequent infections, unusual cravings for nonfood items (ice, dirt, paint, etc)and possible Restless leg syndrome- which is a disorder that causes a strong urge to move legs often occurs with strange unpleasant feelings.

Not all the vitamins listed above are required for bariatric patients but the main/essential ones that would have to be taken are the Multivitamin, B12, iron, & calcium. It is so important that patients post operatively adhere to taking these vitamins daily to prevent delays in healing after surgery as well as to provide the body the nutrients it requires to function properly on a daily basis otherwise you may experience symptoms of vitamin deficiency.

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