Important Facts About Bariatric Surgery and Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a vital nutrient needed after bariatric surgery. During weight loss surgery, like gastric sleeve or gastric bypass, the digestive system is altered, changing the type of food patients can eat and the number of nutrients that can be absorbed.
This decreases how much vitamin D is absorbed into the body, creating an imbalance. Vitamin D deficiencies are becoming more common, resulting in side effects like anxiety and depression. Using the proper vitamin D supplements can help prevent deficiencies and can help improve your quality of life.
Why Vitamin D is Important
Vitamin D is crucial for helping the body absorb other vitamins and minerals, like calcium. It is also responsible for promoting weight loss, preventing certain types of cancer, and supporting normal cell growth. Vitamin D isn’t commonly found in food, so it can be difficult for bariatric patients to get enough of it.
The sun is the best source of vitamin D, but because of their limited ability to absorb nutrients, that may not be enough for weight loss surgery patients. This can result in vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D Deficiency with Bariatric Surgery
The American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) reports that bariatric patients are at a greater risk of vitamin D deficiency. A long-term deficiency can lead to the following side effects:
- Bone pain/aches
- Hair loss
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of appetite
- Low immunity
- Pale skin
How Much Vitamin D to Take Each Day
You should get 800-1,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily through different sources. Doctors recommend dividing doses into no more than 500 IUs at a time and taking it with a calcium supplement. Calcium and vitamin D work together for maximum absorption and can be found in the same supplment. The suggested dosage could be higher for individuals who get minimal sun exposure.
Forms of Vitamin D Supplements
Multiple forms of vitamin D supplements are available to bariatric patients. The first way is to take 500 mg pills and calcium supplements in the same pill 2-3 times a day. If you are taking both vitamin D and calcium, this might be the easiest way. There are also liquid supplements of vitamin D if you do not enjoy swallowing pills. Additionally, you can find quick-melt varieties of vitamin D supplements.
Multiple forms of vitamin D supplements exist. The most popular ones among bariatric patients are soft chew or drinkable vitamins with calcium and vitamin D. You can also use sublingual vitamin D tablets that melt on your tongue.