If you live with unhealthy levels of body fat and your lifestyle changes and various medications have been unsuccessful at helping you lose weight, you’ve likely considered getting bariatric surgery (also commonly known as weight loss surgery).
Prior to surgery patients often take supplements to deal with weight-related health issues. However, it’s common for patients to stop taking supplements post-surgery because they feel they no longer need them. The nature of bariatric surgery is that the digestive system is compromised, making it more difficult to absorb the necessary quantities of vitamins. This is why it is still just as important to take vitamins after surgery in order to promote a healthy recovery.
This article will outline which deficiencies are the most common, and which vitamins and supplements are essential to keep your body healthy and improve recovery outcomes after bariatric surgery.
5 Essential Bariatric Supplements
You may be surprised to learn that supplements become increasingly important for individuals who have already undergone the surgery. Bariatric surgery involves manipulating the stomach or intestines to induce weight loss which may change the way your body absorbs certain types of nutrients.
Taking the right types of supplements and vitamins will help you to avoid nutrient deficiencies and will keep your body healthy and strong. With that being said, let’s take a look at the top 5 bariatric supplements and vitamins you should be taking after surgery.
1. B1 (Thiamine)
Thiamine is an essential supplement that plays a vital role in converting food into energy. Thiamine also plays a big role in brain and nerve functionality. Unfortunately, the body doesn’t store thiamine naturally. Therefore, it must be consumed on a daily basis.
Thiamine deficiency is a very real danger for bariatric patients and if not treated quickly it can potentially lead to permanent side effects. Patients who experience thiamine deficiency may experience a noticeable restriction in energy intake and increased occurrences of vomiting (amongst other negative effects).
The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) recommends patients take 3 mg per day of B1 (Thiamine).
2. Vitamin C
The body will need time to heal after surgery – Vitamin C plays a major role in helping the body to recover. With that being said, if a patient has a vitamin C deficiency, their tissues may not be capable of completely healing which may cause unsightly scars to form.
A vitamin C deficiency can also lead to a variety of side effects that include:
- Dry and splitting hair
- Easy bruising
- Slow healing wounds
- Gum disease
- Weak immune system
- Dry, scaly, rough hair
Inadequate levels of vitamin C have also been associated with the buildup of plaque in blood vessels (which can lead to a heart attack), high blood pressure and an increased chance of stroke. The ASMBS recommends that patients take 120 mg of vitamin C every day.
Though it’s not quite understood how the body absorbs iron, it’s still considered to be an essential nutrient to bariatric patients due to the nature of the surgery. From what is currently understood, the small intestine plays a big part in how the body absorbs iron.
Because weight loss surgery may interrupt the body’s ability to properly absorb iron, it’s essential that patients take iron supplements to avoid complications (such as becoming anemic). The ASMBS recommends that patients take 40 – 60 mg per day.
4. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is generally the most common deficiency amongst bariatric patients after surgery. B12 is vital to the body due to its role in the growth and replication of cells. It also plays a major role in the nervous system. In most instances, B12 deficiency occurs due to a lack of vitamin B12 in an individual’s diet.
A B12 deficiency may cause a range of complications that include:
- Pale skin
- Shortness of breath
- Vision loss
- Memory loss
- Heart palpitations
- Loss of appetite
Patients who undergo bariatric surgery have an increased likelihood of developing a vitamin B12 deficiency because their digestive tracts have undergone a drastic change. This change interferes with the body’s ability to naturally absorb B12. The ASMBS recommends patients take 1,000 mcg of B12 every day.
5. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is an essential supplement for your overall health. It strengthens the immune system, promotes growth, and supports reproduction. The two primary sources of vitamin A are most commonly found in beta-carotene and retinol.
Beta-carotene is found in most dark green and orange plant foods. Take sweet potatoes, kale, and carrots for example. You can find retinol in animal-derived foods such as fatty fish, liver, and eggs.
All weight loss surgery patients should consider incorporating vitamin A supplementation into their daily ritual. The ASMBS recommends patients take 10,000 IU of vitamin A per day.
Taking Care of Your Body After Bariatric Surgery
Obesity affects people of all walks of life, but with the right vitamins after surgery you can help your body to recover and thrive. If you struggle with obesity and wish to make a change turn to Olde Del Mar Surgical where patients can find the essential supplements and vitamins they need pre and post-surgery.
Dr. Sunil Bhoyrul has transformed the lives of thousands of patients and works tirelessly with his team to provide personalized, comprehensive care for each and every patient. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you reclaim your health.