Bariatric Surgery: Vitamin and Mineral Supplement Guide

Bariatric patients need more vitamins and minerals than the average person. Why is that? Since you eat less food and absorb fewer calories, you must make up for the vitamin deficiency somehow.

Bariatric vitamins are the perfect solution to absorb the essential minerals you need while intaking limited food consumption. Preventing vitamin and mineral deficiencies are essential because it has serious medical implications.

Bariatric surgery vitamin and supplement guide

Pay close attention to the dosages required for each surgery, as well as the form. The most strict guidelines come from procedures like gastric bypass surgery (RNY) and duodenal switch (DS). Procedures like gastric sleeve, where the anatomy is not altered, is not as strict, although vitamins and supplements are still required.

In a nutshell, the more complicated a procedure is – the more important it is to follow higher supplementation levels. If you need guidance in this area or require vitamins, please contact us to purchase our recommended vitamins designed for your individual bariatric needs.

Additional vitamin and mineral supplements may be required after surgery if these baseline amounts are not sufficient for you. Your primary healthcare team will determine the type and dose of additional vitamins or vitamin repletion.

What Are Different Forms of Supplements?

The form of the supplements is important because there are notable changes to the Gastrointestinal (GI) function and ability to absorb after surgery. Acceptable types of supplementation include;

  • Gummies
  • Chewable
  • Soft chews
  • Drinkable supplements

Which Type is Better?

It all depends on how your body reacts to the specific form of the vitamin. Find the form that works best for you!

Avoid using vitamin patches as there is little clinical evidence to support their effectiveness- while they contain nutrition, there is little proof that the body absorbs it.

Essential Vitamins

Daily chewable/soft chew/drinkable bariatric-specific multivitamin with 200% RDA.

Bariatric Vitamins and Supplements

  • Typical Serving size: 2
  • 75-100 mg Thiamin
  • 8-22 mg Zinc
  • 3,000 mg Biotin
  • Preferably contains Vitamin D

Iron

  • 18 mg for males with no history of anemia
  • 45mg for menstruating females and BPD/DS

Daily Calcium 1200-1500 mg per day with Vitamin D (3,000 IU/daily).

  • Typical Serving Size: 2-3
  • Take separately from iron, as they compete for absorption.

Sublingual B12

  • 500 mg

IMPORTANT: Capsule, gummy, chewable forms of B12 will not be absorbed as they rely on stomach acid- which bariatric patients lack. The preferred source is sublingual (dissolves in the mouth), nasal sprays, or injections. If you are interested in injections, reach out to your primary care to establish appropriate dosing.

Bariatric Vitamin Requirements

Important Vitamins Specific to DS/BPD

  • 10,000 IU/d vitamin A
  • 15 mg Zn
  • Iron 45-60 mg
  • 1800-2400 mg/d Calcium

Requirements for Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) and Lap-Band System

  • See Essential Vitamins List above.
  • 1000 μg B12 may be needed if deficiency is present.

Requirements for Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RNY)

  • See Essential Vitamins List above.

Vitamin Benefits

  • Calcium: Help to increase and maintain bone strength. Without calcium, there is a risk of fracture.
  • B12: Helps to nourish the nervous system. Without B12, there is a risk of memory loss and paralysis.
  • B complex: Help increase energy.
  • Iron: Carries oxygen throughout the system. Without Iron, there is an increase in stroke, heart attack, and anemia.

Additional Health Information

Exercise:

  • This is one of the most important things you can do after surgery to keep healthy, increase energy levels, and lose the maximum amount of weight.
  • Walking burns 200 calories per mile and there are 3,500 calories in one pound. Consult your nutritionist for an exercise routine.

Hair loss: Side Effects of Nutrient Deficiencies

  • If hair loss is noticed three months after surgery, consult your nutritionist to help you adjust your diet. Hair loss is often attributed to deficiencies in the diet or medication. However, there is no “guarantee.” Hair re-growth occurs after several months. Purchasing our recommended vitamins and consuming seafood can restore hair loss that you may be experiencing to replenish biotin and zinc.

Hydration:

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