Gastric bypass, particularly the Roux-en-Y procedure, is effective for weight loss, but it can also cause vitamin deficiencies and other serious health problems. Post-surgery, gastric bypass vitamin supplementation must begin immediately in order to prevent severe malnutrition.
Because the gastric bypass procedure involves removing parts of your digestive system, you will no longer be able to absorb vitamins from food sources as previously. For this reason, gastric bypass patients who aren’t strict with vitamin regimentation are at high risk for developing debilitating vitamin B12 deficiency, among other types of undernourishment.
Vitamins for gastric bypass patients
To begin, your bariatric specialist will recommend a daily multivitamin as an instrumental part of your post-gastric bypass vitamin regimen. The US Dietary Guidelines suggest taking a multivitamin every day for all adults, and it’s all the more important if you have also had a gastric bypass, as you are unable to absorb vitamins from diet. For optimum digestion, doctors recommend liquid or chewable vitamins for gastric bypass patients.
Your bariatric doctor will also recommend extra vitamin B1, thiamine, for maintaining heart health, digestive integrity, and proper nervous system functioning. Vitamin B1 also helps your body produce energy by synthesizing carbohydrates and fats. Like other B vitamins, thiamine is a water-soluble nutrient.
Vitamin C supplements will also be included in your gastric bypass vitamin regiment for boosting metabolism, enhancing the immune system, absorbing iron, and preserving cellular and tissue health.
Minerals like iron are critical for post-gastric bypass vitamin replacement, as you will be unable to absorb iron naturally from food sources.
It’s important to remember not to take gastric bypass vitamins with antacids, milk, or any other dairy products, as they interfere with iron absorption and can lead to severe iron deficiency anemia, resulting in fewer red blood cells.
Your bariatric specialist will also recommend about 1000mg of calcium per day, which you must take separately from the rest of your gastric bypass vitamins, as calcium interferes with iron absorption. This will decrease your chance of developing osteoporosis from severe calcium deficiency. For optimum digestion, you will have to avoid eating certain foods within one or two hours of calcium supplementation.
Zinc is also helpful to take with other vitamins for gastric bypass, as it enhances cellular metabolism.
Gastric bypass & Vitamin B12
One of the most critical post-gastric bypass vitamins is vitamin B12. This is because the removal of your ileum, the bottom-most section of your small intestines, inhibits your ability to absorb vitamin B12 from food using intrinsic factor, a necessary digestive enzyme. Without this essential tool, you cannot utilize vitamin B12, regardless of diet. Instead, you require vitamin B12 supplements in order to avoid debilitating vitamin B12 deficiency symptoms.
Good sources of gastric bypass vitamin B12 supplements include:
- Vitamin B12 injections
- Sublingual vitamin B12 lozenges
- Sublingual vitamin B12 drops
- Nonedible over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin B12 supplements