Written for Bariatric Choice by Lisa Diewald RD and Sharon Howard RD
Now that your bariatric surgery is behind you, the opportunity for a new beginning is at your doorstep! As you embrace this fresh start, it’s important to remember that bariatric surgery introduces changes to the gastrointestinal system that can impact dietary intake and quality.
Although you have been working hard learning to eat a balanced diet, the dramatic change in both the quality and the quantity of food consumed, as well as alterations in how the body absorbs and uses nutrients, makes meeting vitamin and mineral requirements difficult with food alone. Establishing and adhering to a vitamin and mineral supplementation regimen can help you to prevent deficiencies and meet your body’s changing needs.
A Long Term Approach to Nutritional Planning
Because vitamin and mineral deficiencies may take a while to develop, your health care providers will monitor your vitamin and mineral status for years after surgery. Take a long term approach to dietary planning and vitamin and mineral supplementation to achieve optimal nutritional health following surgery. The most common vitamin and mineral deficiencies detected a few years after bariatric surgery are B12, Iron, Calcium and Vitamin D.
All bariatric surgery procedures require some form of supplementation, however, those that put you at greater risk for deficiencies are the duodenal switch procedure and the gastric bypass.
The most common vitamin and mineral deficiencies detected a few years after bariatric surgery are B12, Iron, Calcium and Vitamin D.
The following information can help guide you in choosing the best vitamin mineral supplement for you.
Choosing a Multivitamin
Initially, and for 3-6 months following surgery, choose a chewable, high potency multivitamin supplement containing iron, folic acid and thiamine. Depending on the type of bariatric surgery, you may need 1 or 2 per day. Bariatric Advantage offers a number of vitamin/mineral supplements that are ideally suited for use following bariatric surgery. Advanced Multi EA Chewable tablets offer a formulation that is appropriate for all surgery types. You may enjoy the taste of a “chewy” vitamin as an alternative and Multi Chewy Bites are convenient and come in two flavors.
Once you’ve passed the 6 month post-op milestone, select a multivitamin capsule, such as Bariatric Advantage Ultra Multi Formula with Iron, that provides the convenience of an easy-to-swallow vitamin. Check with your physician on the appropriate number of multivitamins to take daily based on your bariatric surgical procedure.
How to Choose and Take a Calcium Supplement
To meet calcium requirements, 1200-1500 mg calcium from a combination of diet and supplements is needed daily to preserve bone health. Since it is extremely difficult to meet this requirement with diet alone, supplements are warranted. Look for calcium supplements containing calcium citrate, rather than calcium carbonate. Taking calcium in divided doses, between meals, will ensure the most efficient absorption. Bariatric Advantage Calcium Chewy Bites, available in 250 and 500 mg calcium citrate formulations, can supplement dietary sources and help meet needs. Also, since Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption, it is best to select a calcium supplement with Vitamin D, such as Calcium Chewy Bites, to help meet needs.
Taking calcium in divided doses, between meals, will ensure the most efficient absorption.
Additional supplementation with Vitamin B12, and iron may be needed.
Note that Iron should not be taken at the same time as calcium since these two minerals compete for absorption.
Be proactive with your vitamin and mineral supplements and take them faithfully each day. To avoid missing a dose, set an alarm in your phone or use weekly pill dispensers.
Remember: taking the appropriate vitamin and mineral supplements is an investment in your health and will pay dividends to you in the years ahead.