One habit all weight loss surgery patients must start is taking their vitamins. These are very important to bariatric patients, and something that must be done for the rest of their lives. Taking a multivitamin, calcium citrate, sublingual B12 and ADEK (for Duodenal Switch patients) every day assures that your body gets the nutrients it needs. Restrictive malabsorptive operations such as weight loss surgery carry a risk for nutritional deficiencies. Patients are required to take vitamins and minerals that prevent nutritional deficiencies.
Eating patterns and portions have changed. Essential vitamins and minerals may not be included in a high enough quantity in the foods that you eat to meet daily requirements. Taking your vitamins every day must be a lifestyle habit.
There could be severe consequences if you forget to take your vitamins and minerals. Those could result in the following:
- Low energy levels
- Neurological damage
Do not risk your health. Do whatever it takes to remember to take your vitamins and minerals. Put them in your purse/bag, next to your toothbrush, in your desk at work, or any other place that keeps them visible.
When choosing a multivitamin, look for one that is easily dissolvable in water. Read the label to ensure that it contains thiamin and vitamin B12. Name brand varieties usually cost more but are of a higher quality. Since you will be spending less on your grocery bill, don’t skimp on the price of your vitamins and supplements.
Sources of calcium are dairy products, particularly milk, yogurt and cheeses. Non-dairy sources of calcium include leafy green vegetables, such as turnip greens and broccoli.
Calcium is vital to building and maintaining strong bones. You need calcium for you heart, muscles and nerves to function properly and for blood to clot.
The recommended daily amount of calcium is 1200-1600 mg per day for calcium citrate. Calcium citrate is the best type of calcium for weight loss surgery patients because it requires little or no stomach acid for absorption. Recent studies regarding calcium demonstrate that calcium citrate may protect against the formation of kidney stones. This may be an added benefit of taking citrate-based calcium.
Calcium is best absorbed on an empty stomach. Don’t take more than 500 mg at a time. Your body doesn’t absorb more than this per dosage. We suggest you take a 400 mg calcium citrate pill or chew three times a day spaced out every three hours. Be sure to check with your surgeon.
Calcium and iron compete for absorption in your body, so you shouldn’t take your calcium at the same time as an iron supplement or with milk, yogurt or cheese.
Anemia can occur if you don’t ingest enough iron. Many times, it’s necessary to take iron (ferrous sulfate). Sometimes multivitamin preparations don’t contain enough iron to meet daily requirements. Your physician needs to determine if an iron supplement is appropriate for you. Don’t start an iron supplement until you have consulted with your physician.
Commonly, constipation can occur with regular use of iron tablets. If this occurs, contact your physician to find ways to manage it.
Iron deficiency anemia (low iron level) occurs in some patients, especially in menstruating women. If an annual blood test indicates a hematocrit level below 34, your physician may prescribe Trinsicon or Chromagen to enhance your iron absorption.
Vitamin B12 malabsorption is uncommon, but can happen. It’s usually seen in patients who don’t eat enough animal protein. A vitamin B12 blood level is drawn yearly for this reason. For patients who are deficient in B12, your physician gives you injections. We recommend you take 1000 mcg.
B12 deficiency can lead to neurological changes such as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. Menstruating women may develop anemia if they aren’t absorbing enough vitamin B12 and Iron.
Additional symptoms of B12 deficiency are:
- Difficulty in maintaining balance
- Poor memory
- Soreness of the mouth or tongue
Some of these symptoms can also result from a variety of medical conditions other than vitamin B12 deficiency. If you experience any of these symptoms it’s important to consult with your physician so that appropriate medical care can be prescribed.
Some patients also require an increase in folic acid. This is especially true of women who are of child bearing age. Before and during pregnancy, this supplement aids in fetal development and has been shown to help prevent birth defects.
Be sure to do your research when purchasing your vitamins so that you are getting the right dosage for each one. If you have any questions, please give us a call at (801) 268-3800.
Links to similar articles:
Vitamins after Weight Loss Surgery