How to Prevent Nutrient Deficiencies After Bariatric Surgery

Almonds and milk

Success after bariatric surgery is dependent on several factors including diet, exercise, and overall lifestyle. Since your body has gone through physiological changes that affect absorption, one of the most important routines for you is keeping up with a high-quality diet rich in protein, fruits and vegetables. Daily vitamins and supplements are important to further prevent nutrient deficiencies.

Although gastric bypass and duodenal switch surgeries are known for the greatest potential for malabsorption risks, gastric sleeve and band surgeries are also associated with deficiencies. There are a couple of reasons for this: First, patients eat less than they used to and second, they don’t absorb as much because of the physiological changes in their body. A few common deficiencies after surgery are protein, iron, vitamin b12, calcium, vitamin k. Here are some foods to pay attention to eating daily to prevent problems down the road.


It can be difficult to consume the recommended amount of protein each day after surgery, so patients often supplement with protein powder. Examples of some high protein foods include animal products like eggs, meats, fish, poultry; and dairy products like cottage cheese and yogurt. Tofu, soy milk, nuts and nut butters are some vegan sources. To make sure you are getting these foods in, it can be helpful to consume them before other foods on your plate like vegetables and fruits. recommends at least 65 to 75 grams of protein daily after surgery.


Red meat is high in iron, but patients usually have a hard time tolerating it. This is why a supplement is usually recommended, especially for menstruating women. Foods moderately high in iron include beans, lentils, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, tofu, dark leafy greens, prunes, and dark chocolate.

Vitamin b12

Vitamin B12 is partially responsible for DNA and nervous system functioning. It is one of the most common deficiencies after bariatric surgery because of the alteration of their digestive tracts interfering with absorption. Animal products including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products all contain vitamin b12.


Calcium deficiency is another very common problem after weight loss surgery. 1000mg-1300mg is typically recommended daily. Good sources of calcium include dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese, almonds, broccoli, kale, and beans.

Vitamin k

Vitamin K is important for blood clotting and bone health. Vitamin K is made from healthy bacteria in the gut, however this becomes compromised after bariatric surgery. Not obtaining enough can lead to bone problems such as osteoporosis. Some vitamin K rich foods include green leafy vegetables like kale and chard. It’s also found in fish, fermented cheeses, meat and eggs.


Persona offers doctor-approved, personalized Bariatric supplements based on your type of surgery and lifestyle delivered to your door. Our recommendations meet the guidelines of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and we cross-check your medications against a database of over 850 medications to ensure there are no drug-nutrient interactions. To start  your program today, visit our Bariatric page here :

If you are looking for the highest quality Vitamin and Mineral Supplements personalized for you, please go to and take our on-line questionnaire providing individualized vitamin and mineral recommendations. Persona is the only Science Based supplement provider on the web today! Take advantage of our knowledge and use it to your health’s benefit!


  1. Vitamin B12 Deficiency Can Be Sneaky. Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Medical School. Accessed October 31, 2018.
  2. Bavaresco M, Paganini S, Lima TP, et al. Nutritional Course of Patients Submitted to Bariatric Surgery. Obes Surg. 2008 [PubMed]
  3. Vitamin B-12. Mayo Clinic. Accessed October 31, 2018.
  4. ASMBS American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Estimate of Bariatric Surgery Numbers, 2011-2017. Accessed October 31 2018.
  5. Andrès E, Loukili NH, Noel E, et al. Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) deficiency in elderly patients. CMAJ. 2004;171(3):251-9.
  6. Peterson LA, Zeng X, Caufield-noll CP, Schweitzer MA, Magnuson TH, Steele KE. Vitamin D status and supplementation before and after bariatric surgery: a comprehensive literature review. Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2016;12(3):693-702.
  7. Life After Bariatric Surgery. UCSF Medical Center. Accessed March 15, 2019.
This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information from this article for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read in this article.

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