We hear it all the time after weight loss surgery. Take your vitamins! Our surgeons and nutritionists stress this right from the start of a bariatric surgery journey. So, the question is, why is it so important?
As a bariatric patient, it is critical that you take your vitamins every day. After having weight loss surgery, you are at a higher risk of getting deficient in key vitamins and minerals. Your anatomy has changed and the way you intake and absorb food is different. With Gastric Sleeve, 75% of your stomach is removed which means you can only intake a certain amount of food. This means that you might not get the appropriate amount of vitamins from food since you are eating significantly less. Gastric bypass takes it even one step further. There is a restriction, but there is also malabsorption. Trying to get the proper amount of nutrition is extremely difficult for bariatric patients.
The most common vitamins that bariatric patients get deficient in are vitamin B and vitamin D. Deficiencies can happen with any vitamin, but these are the ones that patients really need to look out for. Iron, folate, zinc, and calcium are also ones you need to keep an eye on. These deficiencies can be extremely dangerous if they are not handled properly. Being deficient in vitamins can cause secondary problems such as anemia and osteoporosis. I can speak from experience as I struggled with a vitamin D and iron deficiency. Our bodies need the proper amount of vitamins to function correctly. Your body will show you signs that you are deficient so pay attention to signs such as fatigue, hair loss, depression, heart palpitations, dizziness, etc. These symptoms could be associated with something else, but it is important that you rule out any deficiencies.
The best thing to do to prevent deficiencies is to eat foods that are high in the key vitamins. In addition, it is important that you begin a supplement routine to aide in the process and ensure you are getting the correct nutrition. I highly recommend that you stay in touch with your doctors and nutritionists after bariatric surgery as this will help you stay accountable. Your surgeons will have you do bloodwork every once in a while to check your deficiencies, but I encourage you to continue doing so even when he/she stops telling you to get it done. By staying on top of this and making yourself aware of the vitamins to keep an eye on, you are setting yourself up for more success. The surgery is not just about looking good, it is about feeling good as well. If you have vitamin deficiencies, you will not feel well and it will take away the beauty of this surgery. So, be a responsible patient and make sure you take your vitamins!