Weight loss surgery changes the way your body absorbs food and nutrients. To help your body maintain optimal health, it's essential that you take the recommended vitamins and mineral supplements for life.
When you have sleeve gastrectomy surgery, the food you eat still moves through the same organs in the body as usual, but the size of your stomach becomes much smaller. This means that you eat less and that that your stomach has less time to absorb important nutrients from food.
Gastric bypass surgery changes the size of your stomach and the way food moves through your body. This limits how much you can eat and changes how your body absorbs vitamins and minerals from food.
Because of these changes, it is critical that anyone who has had bariatric surgery take vitamin and mineral supplements for the rest of their life.
What vitamins do you need to take?
Some of the more critical vitamins that you will take include calcium citrate, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and iron, along with a general multivitamin.
The Floyd Center for Bariatric Services team provides patients with specific guidance on which vitamin and mineral supplements to take and how to schedule those to maximize their absorption.
You can also find an Approved Vitamin and Mineral Supplement List and a Sample Supplement Schedule on the floyd.org/bariatrics website.
What happens if you don't take your vitamins and supplements?
A low iron level causes anemia. With anemia, your body doesn't produce enough red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. This can result in problems such as extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, headaches and dizziness.
Other issues that develop when you are missing critical nutrients include bone loss, fractures, osteoporosis, memory problems, kidney disease, confusion, poor wound healing, hair loss, cold or tingling in the hands or feet, and difficulty sleeping.
It's important to remember to take all your supplements – instead of leaving one off or just taking a few. They all work together to help your body function at its maximum performance.
Be sure to get regular checkups with our bariatrics services team. During these visits, your lab levels can be checked for these vital vitamins and minerals and your supplements adjusted if needed.