This article was written for Bariatric Choice by Sharon Howard R.D., Lisa Diewald R.D. of Nutrition for Living
Do you wonder if you are meeting your vitamin needs with your new post-bariatric surgery meal plan? There’s no time like the present to stay focused on getting enough key vitamins following weight loss surgery. Emerging evidence suggests that micronutrient deficiencies following bariatric surgery are increasing. Vitamin A and Vitamin D are nutrients may that may easily slip through the cracks. Ensuring adequate intake of both is an essential part of your new lifestyle.
What to Know About Vitamin A
Vitamin A is known for its role in vision. It also plays a key role, however, in keeping the immune system working for you and for optimal bone health. Vitamin A is contained in plant-based foods such as kale, carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe. You can also get some Vitamin A from animal based foods, including eggs, milk and an occasional serving of beef liver.
Depending on the type weight loss surgery, absorption may be even more limited (for example, duodenal switch surgery) and it may be difficult for you to consistently meet your Vitamin A needs through just diet and your multivitamin.
Why Vitamin D is So Important
We know Vitamin D plays an essential role in keeping bones strong by promoting calcium absorption. Like its partner, Vitamin A, Vitamin D also helps keep the immune system working properly. In addition, research is currently being done to further evaluate the link between Vitamin D and breast cancer, colon cancer, weight gain and depression.
The best source of Vitamin D is sunlight. Rays may be easy to soak up in the summer, but it's more difficult in the winter when the days are shorter. Dietary sources of Vitamin D include fortified milk, eggs, salmon, sardines, fortified breakfast cereals and orange juice. In some cases, additional Vitamin D supplementation may be warranted.
Meeting Your Vitamin A and D Needs
So what should you do to ensure that you are getting enough-but not too much- of Vitamins A and D?
First, be sure to get the most bang for the buck out of the food you do eat. Include Vitamin A and D sources regularly in your diet. Next, before taking any extra Vitamin A or D, talk with your physician about your requirements. Your needs may be higher depending on your type of weight loss surgery.
If your needs are higher than what your diet and multivitamin can provide, here are a few that may fit the bill: