Bariatric Surgery: Vitamin and Mineral Supplement Guide

Bariatric surgery vitamin and supplement guideThe following must be taken every day for the rest of your life. Each surgical procedure has different requirements, so look to the list for your particular process. If you need guidance in this area or require vitamins, please contact us to purchase our recommended vitamins designed for you individual bariatric needs.

Recommended Vitamins:

  • Daily chewable multivitamin with 200% RDA.
  • Daily Calcium 1500-2000mg per day with Vitamin D.
    • Divided into three dosages a day.
    • Needs to be taken with calcium citrate and vitamin D3.
  • Optional B complex
    • B complex will help to increase energy.

Important Vitamins Specific to Gastric Sleeve:

  • Add Iron to the above list.

Essential Vitamins and information for Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy and Lap-band System

  • Add B12 and Iron to above list.

Essential Vitamins and information for Roux-en-Y and Gastric Bypass

  • Add Calcium Citrate with Vitamin D, and Iron to the above list.

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.

Bariatric surgery vitamin guide. Emerge bariatric vitamins banner.

Additional Health Information:


  • 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 Affect

  • 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. However, there is no “guarantee.” Hair re-growth occurs after several months. To help increase this process, it is recommended to consume 70-80g protein every day.  By purchasing our recommended vitamins, it can contribute to restoring any hair loss that you may be experiencing.


  • 64oz should be the daily goal for water intake this is eight 8oz per day.
    • Only as tolerated.
    • Only tiny sips throughout the day.

Bariatric Vitamins and Supplements

Why Do You Need Bariatric Vitamins?

Bariatric vitamins, supplements, and multivitamins are beneficial after gastric sleeve surgery, gastric bypass surgery, and duodenal switch. Why?

With an altered stomach and/or digestion process, patients need vitamins to complete the digestion process of your new anatomy. Vitamins are vital to the body’s function after bariatric surgery. Each vitamin plays a role in supporting the health of patients. Whatever bariatric surgery you have had, specific vitamins are needed to boost nutrition.

Especially in the first 6 months, when the quantity of food you eat is at an all-time low.*** For the first year of all bariatric surgeries, vitamin supplementation is critical.

  • Bariatric surgery dramatically alters your body’s ability to absorb vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from the smaller amounts of food you’ll be eating.
  • The resulting vitamin and mineral deficiencies can have serious medical implications.
  • As a bariatric surgery patient, it is absolutely essential that you take a good quality multiple vitamin and mineral product daily, for the rest of your life.
  • You will also need to take additional calcium, Vitamin B-12 and perhaps Iron supplements. These supplements are necessary to prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies after bariatric surgery

Bariatric Vitamins to Lose Weight After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Gastric Sleeve Surgery Icon

Gastric Sleeve Surgery (VSG) Vitamin Supplements

Gastric Sleeve Surgery is primarily known for deficiencies in iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and calcium. Each potential nutritional deficiency has different side effects. For example, if a sleeve patient is throwing up frequently, the cause of throwing up could be linked to a thiamin deficiency.

With gastric sleeve surgery – you are speeding the flow of food through the stomach to the first portion of the intestines. In other words, the reduced stomach creates a rapid transfer of food from the stomach to the intestine/digestion process. This causes a metabolic effect from the restrictive components of sleeve surgery.

Vitamins and supplements are extremely helpful in the weight loss process after gastric sleeve surgery. Here is a list of the primary vitamins and supplements required for gastric sleeve patients. Make sure you follow your doctors or surgeons direction in terms of what type of bariatric vitamins will work best for your needs.

Bariatric Multivitamin (MVI)

  • Thiamin: At least 12 mg/day (50-100 mg/day at-risk patients)
  • Folic Acid: 400-800 mcg/day (800-1,000 mcg/day female, childbearing age)
  • Copper: 2 mg/day
  • Zinc: 8-22 mg/day
  • B12: 350-500 mcg/day
  • Vitamin A: 5,000-10,000 IU
  • Vitamin D: 3,000 IU
  • Vitamin E: 15mg/day
  • Vitamin K: 90-120 mcg

Iron + Vitamin C

Iron is absorbed within the first portion of the intestine (duodenum). Gastric sleeve patients need to check their iron levels regularly.

  • 18mg for low-risk patients – men and non-menstruating women / 45-60mg per day for menstruating women
  • Iron typically begins immediately after surgery depending on your doctor’s recommendation
  • It is important to take Iron on an empty stomach
  • Iron is meant to take 2 hours apart from Calcium (generally 2 hours before or after meals)
  • Do NOT take Iron + C with Calcium (at least 2 hours apart)

Calcium Citrate

  • 1200 to 1500 mg (500mg three times a day depending on menstruation or anemia)
  • Calcium Citrate is usually recommended to be taken with meals
  • Do NOT take Calcium Citrate with Iron + C (at least 2 hours apart)
  • Liquid calcium or chewable calcium are generally what patients use

Vitamin B-12

*Dependent on Surgeon/Doctor Approval

Vitamin B12: This supplement is particularly important because your stomach creates a protein called “intrinsic factor” which binds to vitamin B12 before it can be absorbed. With gastric sleeve surgery, nearly 85% of the stomach is removed – creating a deficiency of B12.

  • Generally used by patients weekly
  • ~350-500 mcg/day (not harmful to incorporate more B-12)
  • Different variations (dissolvable, injection, nose spray)
  • Do NOT take B-12 in pill form

Additional Supplements

A high protein diet is critical to the success of weight loss after undergoing gastric sleeve surgery. Our nutritionist recommends at least 60 grams of protein daily. If eating protein-rich food is difficult, you can opt for protein supplements specifically related to bariatric surgery.

  • Genepro
  • Unjury
  • Premier Protein
  • Look for protein supplements with 20 grams or more of protein and less than 5 grams of sugar

Gastric Bypass Surgery Vitamin Supplement

Gastric Bypass Surgery (RNY) Vitamin Supplements

Gastric Bypass Surgery (RNY) is associated with deficiencies of iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and altered calcium metabolism. If patients frequently vomit, this also increases the risk of thiamin deficiency.

B vitamin deficiencies are less common than in gastric sleeve surgery, especially for patients that eat vegetables and fruit on a regular basis.

If you have any signs of low iron levels for anemia, speak with your doctor immediately.

Bariatric Multivitamin (MVI)

  • Thiamin: At least 12 mg/day (50-100 mg/day at-risk patients)
  • Folic Acid: 400-800 mcg/day (800-1,000 mcg/day female, childbearing age)
  • Copper: 1 mg/day
  • Zinc: 8-11 mg/day
  • B12: 350-500 mcg/day
  • Vitamin A: 5,000-10,000 IU
  • Vitamin D: 3,000 IU
  • Vitamin E: 15mg/day
  • Vitamin K: 90-120 mcg

Iron + Vitamin C

Severe iron deficiency can occur in gastric bypass patients. After a few years, post-op bypass patients often forget to continue taking vitamins and supplements. All of the sudden, patients can become extremely fatigued. (caused by an extremely low hemoglobin level, which is created by an iron deficiency).

  • 18mg for low-risk patients – men and non-menstruating women / 45-60mg per day for menstruating women
  • Iron supplements after gastric bypass are recommended in chewable tablets
  • Iron should be incorporated with Vitamin C to boost absorption
  • 18mg for low-risk patients (men and non-menstruating women) / 45-60mg per day for menstruating women

Patients ability to absorb iron is critically low because of the bypassed portion of the small intestine (duodenum).

Consult with your doctor or surgeon to ensure the right levels and amounts of iron is taken. Test your blood yearly for accurate analysis of iron levels.

Calcium Citrate

  • Chewable or liquid Calcium 1,200 to 1,500 mg per day
  • 500 mg three times per day (usually during breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
  • Calcium Citrate is typically easy to metabolize


  • B-12: 1,000 mcg daily of the sublingual form. This form is the most readily absorbed form. Along with the other B vitamins, B-12 helps metabolize carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

Duodenal Switch Surgery Vitamin Supplement

Duodenal Switch (DS) Vitamin Supplements

(Severe Malabsorption)

Duodenal Switch (BPD/DS) offers one of the highest expected weight loss compared to other bariatric procedures. With this significant weight loss, the duodenal switch patients develop nutrient and protein deficiencies. The most prominent vitamin deficiency includes vitamin A, D, E, and K on top of other nutrients like calcium.

After duodenal switch surgery, the significant change in anatomy along with high amounts of excess weight loss can create health problems related to vitamin deficiency. In fact, often times duodenal switch patients having health concerns, it is likely tied to nutrient deficiency.

Profound malnutrition of DS creates aggressive vitamin supplementation and a strict schedule. Patients can expect to pay $100-$150 per month on vitamins and supplements alone.

Failure to comply with proper vitamin and nutrition support may be life-threatening. Almost every patient of the duodenal switch has severe nutritional deficiencies that can be helped through bariatric vitamins.

The vitamins you need will probably vary based on your individual needs and the results of your blood tests, but here are the basics that the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery recommends for all DS patients:

Bariatric Multivitamin (MVI)

  • Thiamin: At least 12 mg/day (50-100 mg/day at-risk patients)
  • Folic Acid: 400-800 mcg/day (800-1,000 mcg/day female, childbearing age)
  • Copper: 1 mg/day
  • Zinc: 8-11 mg/day
  • B12: 350-500 mcg/day
  • Vitamin A: 10,000 IU
  • Vitamin D: 3,000 IU
  • Vitamin E: 15mg/day
  • Vitamin K: 300 mcg
  • B-50 complex is optional
  • Other vitamin and mineral supplements may be needed, based on the results of your blood tests; for instance, some DS patients need to take additional B12.

Iron + Vitamin C

  • 18 mg for low-risk patients
  • 45-60mg for high-risk patients

Calcium Citrate

  • 1800 mg to 2400 mg calcium citrate (not calcium carbonate or tricalcium phosphate), divided into three or four doses of about 600 mg each, taken at least two hours apart

With bariatric surgeries which require more vitamins and supplements, taking the correct amount of vitamins is absolutely essential to your success. For all your vitamin needs, visit – the ultimate supply of bariatric vitamins!

Hair Loss After Weight Loss Surgery

Hair loss can occur after gastric bypass and sometimes gastric sleeve surgery. On average, hair loss begins 1 to 3 months after surgery. The cause of hair loss is not completely proven, although many options vary from the stress of surgery, hormonal changes from rapid weight loss, or nutritional changes/deficiencies from malabsorption. Hair loss is generally worse after RNY gastric bypass than gastric sleeve surgery. It can often be insignificant, although with patients who have thin hair have more noticeable symptoms.

It is much less noticeable with patients who have healthier or thicker hair, although symptoms of hair loss can be shown on their hairbrush.

Biotin, or Vitamin B7, can be very helpful for patients who struggle with hair loss after gastric bypass surgery (or sleeve). This does not prevent hair loss, but it probably decreases hair loss. Please contact your surgeon/doctor to learn about the best treatment for hair loss for you.

The good thing is that hair loss is usually temporary. In most patients, after weight becomes more stable hair grows back to normal. This usually occurs around 9-12 months following gastric bypass surgery as patients are able to absorb more nutrients and supplements within the body.

If hair loss occurs for longer than 1 year following surgery, we advise that you check your iron levels in order to rule out iron deficiency.

List of Best Bariatric Vitamins & Supplements

Every bariatric procedure has a list of required bariatric vitamins and supplements needed long-term. 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 – you are more likely to follow higher levels of supplementation.

Our Bariatric Vitamins Comparison Chart

The main bariatric vitamins needed are a Multivitamin, Iron + C, and Calcium Citrate. Each weight loss procedure has different vitamin requirements.