Supplementation after Weight Loss Surgery

Every weight loss surgery patient will have to supplement their diet after surgery. It stands to reason that a patient whose caloric intake has been significantly restricted will be more prone to nutritional and vitamin deficiencies than a person with no restrictions whatsoever. Further, many patients, believe (wrongly) that starving themselves will make them to lose weight faster – in fact the body is losing muscle mass and water weight and this unhealthy weight loss may lead to the possibility of more severe deficiencies and even significant injury.

Most often, we find deficiencies in the following vitamins and minerals: Calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Protein and Iron. All of these compounds play an important part in the body’s functions and must be measured on a regular basis and supplemented when necessary.

Depending on the procedure and the patient’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals, the amount and frequency of supplementation may vary. For example, gastric bypass patients will likely require more supplementation than patients undergoing other bariatric procedures. This is because gastric bypass not only restricts the amount of food consumed, but bypasses part of the small intestine, reducing the number of calories, vitamins and minerals being absorbed into the body (especially iron and calcium). Also, patients may have different absorption rates of say, Vitamin B12, meaning that one patient may need a higher dose than the next. The final decision on necessary supplementation will be made by your bariatric surgeon and dietician after diagnostic testing.

No matter what bariatric procedure you have undergone, be sure to follow you surgeon’s orders. Following the recommended post-operative plan is the only sure-fire way to maintain the delicate balance between significant weight loss and your health.

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