In 2017, approximately 228,000 Americans underwent a bariatric procedure, including the gastric sleeve, Roux-en-Y bypass, gastric band, balloon, duodenal switch, and revisions.1 Bariatric surgeries don’t only change your appearance but also change the way your body breaks down food and nutrients.
Bariatric surgeries often result in changes in stomach hormones and small intestine absorption. The small intestine is where the magic happens: the majority of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins are digested here.2 When the small intestine is compromised during bariatric surgeries, nutrient absorption is impaired. If the small intestine isn’t altered (as in gastric sleeve or band procedures), nutrient deficiencies can appear for other reasons including reduced food intake or changes in stomach digestion. Because of this, lifelong supplementation is important for living a healthy life after surgery.
Here are the best vitamins and supplements to support overall health and prevent nutrient deficiencies after bariatric surgery.
A bariatric multivitamin is essential to health for those who have had a bariatric procedure. Bariatric multivitamins are much different than a regular multivitamin you would find at a drug store. Bariatric multivitamins should contain higher levels of vitamins and minerals than a typical multivitamin. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery recommends that bariatric patients take a multivitamin with high doses of B1, B12, vitamin A, and vitamin D.3
For the average person, taking a multivitamin with iron may not be beneficial and could even be dangerous. High levels of iron can be toxic and iron supplements should only be taken regularly for those diagnosed with anemia or who don’t consume meat, such as vegetarians and vegans. Iron supplements can especially be problematic for males because they can’t get rid of excess iron during menses. However, due to impaired absorption, the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery recommends that post-procedure patients take at least 18 mg per day. Iron may be found in a bariatric multivitamin or can be taken separately.
The type of calcium bariatric patients consume is important; not all calcium is created equal. Restricted food intake after surgery reduces the amount of available calcium (and other nutrients) for absorption. The most appropriate form of calcium for bariatric patients is calcium citrate. Research compared calcium citrate to calcium carbonate in Roux-en-Y patients and found that calcium citrate resulted in a significantly higher serum calcium level than calcium carbonate.4
A happy gut is a healthy gut! Bariatric surgery can often leave a patient with digestive complications. Probiotics have been used for all types of GI issues including diarrhea, constipation, and dysbiosis. Research shows that the use of probiotics has promising results in improving post-surgery GI symptoms. In fact, the type of bacteria in your gut may even be linked to your body weight. Studies show that gut bacteria play a role in metabolism and appetite, which can support weight loss efforts.6
According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, “Vitamin and mineral supplements will be a lifelong requirement.”7 Because bariatric surgery is a permanent procedure, permanent diet changes are necessary to stay healthy and prevent deficiencies. Persona Nutrition offers a unique, full spectrum bariatric supplement program. Get your personalized bariatric recommendation by taking our questionnaire: www.personanutrition.com/bariatric. 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!
- Estimate of Bariatric Surgery Numbers, 2011-2017. American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. https://asmbs.org/resources/estimate-of-bariatric-surgery-numbers. Published June 2018. Accessed February 28, 2019.
- Chemical Digestion and Absorption: A Closer Look. Lumen Learning. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/suny-ap2/chapter/chemical-digestion-and-absorption-a-closer-look/. Accessed February 28, 2019.
- Parrott J, Frank L, Rabena R, Craggs-dino L, Isom KA, Greiman L. American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Integrated Health Nutritional Guidelines for the Surgical Weight Loss Patient 2016 Update: Micronutrients. Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2017;13(5):727-741.
- Tondapu P, Provost D, Adams-huet B, Sims T, Chang C, Sakhaee K. Comparison of the absorption of calcium carbonate and calcium citrate after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. Obes Surg. 2009;19(9):1256-61.
- Chen JC, Lee WJ, Tsou JJ, Liu TP, Tsai PL. Effect of probiotics on postoperative quality of gastric bypass surgeries: a prospective randomized trial. Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2016;12(1):57-61.
- Kobyliak N, Conte C, Cammarota G, et al. Probiotics in prevention and treatment of obesity: a critical view. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2016;13:14. Published 2016 Feb 20. doi:10.1186/s12986-016-0067-0.
- Life After Bariatric Surgery. American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. https://asmbs.org/patients/life-after-bariatric-surgery. Accessed March 12, 2019.