Post-operative bariatric surgery care consists of several aspects. These elements may include follow-up appointments with your bariatric care team, regular exercise sessions and participation in surgery support groups. Each facet of this plan helps to sustain your physical and emotional well-being. Vitamin and probiotic supplementation is another critical part of your recovery process. By learning more about why probiotics are an essential component of your weight loss process, you can make sure to incorporate enough of them into your diet to meet your needs.
Are Probiotics Good After Bariatric Surgery?
Yes, probiotics are beneficial to include in your diet after bariatric surgery. One of the reasons bariatric surgery is so successful is that it alters the ability of your digestive system to absorb fewer calories and nutrients. This decrease also promotes the substantial weight loss associated with these types of procedures.
However, it’s important to remember that the biodome within your digestive tract is also permanently altered, and your body’s ability to absorb the essential nutrients it needs to run efficiently decreases too. Because you are absorbing fewer nutrients, your physician will recommend various supplements to help you meet your nutritional needs. While these often include vitamins and minerals, probiotics are also vital to your supplement regimen.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are the “good bacteria” living within the digestive system’s intestinal tract. This bacteria helps ensure that the process runs smoothly and aids in the maintenance of a healthy community of microorganisms in the body. In addition, maintaining a proper level of probiotics:
- Promotes a healthy immune response
- Improves nutirent absorption
- Aids in the breakdown of various food products
In addition, probiotic supplementation can ease common yet uncomfortable post-operative symptoms, including excess gas, bloating and diarrhea.
Can Probiotics Help Promote Weight Loss?
Research indicates that gastric surgery patients tend to lose more weight when they incorporate probiotic supplements into their treatment plan after surgery. A study conducted in 2009 showed that patients who supplemented their diet with adequate amounts of probiotics lost more weight than those who received no additional supplementation at all. These findings may be partly due to the critical role that B12 vitamins play in healthy weight loss.
Patients deficient in B12 may experience an increased risk of anemia, improper nervous system functioning and a higher rate of depression. B12 vitamins also help support a healthy metabolism and higher energy levels, which may account for increased weight loss. In conclusion, probiotic supplementation may prevent deficiency of B12 vitamins in weight loss patients.
Which Probiotics Should You Use After Bariatric Surgery?
Many different types of probiotics are available at various pharmacies and grocery stores, and your physician may recommend a particular brand. In general, the most common types of probiotics recommended in a bariatric care plan are:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus – Contains the enzyme necessary to break down lactose and other milk products
- Bifidobacteria – Supports the immune system and inhibits the development of unhealthy bacteria in the digestive system
More research exists with these two types of probiotics than any others currently available. In addition to these two general types of probiotics, several other subtypes fall under each category. It is essential to remember that not everyone responds in the same manner to the same kind of probiotic. So, consult your physician to determine which you should take for your specific circumstances.
Best Food Sources for Probiotics
While you may find it easier to take a probiotic supplement, you might also want to include more natural ways to increase your intake. There are several ideal food sources of probiotics that you can incorporate into your diet:
- Miso soup
- Fermented soft cheese
- Cottage cheese
- Soy sauce
- Some cereals
After talking with your doctor about the amount and type of probiotics to consume, you can choose the items that best suit your preferences. Most people tolerate probiotics well unless their immune system is compromised. Add each source of probiotics one at a time, and keep a diary to keep track of any changes to your digestive system.
Choosing an Appropriate Probiotic Supplement
You should always consider the supplements your physician recommends for your post-operative care plan. However, if you decide to choose your own, be sure to look for one that:
- Says “live cultures” on the label
- Features a combination of bacteria species
- Has enough bacteria to form colonies
Check the expiration date to safeguard against spoilage and ensure that your product contains at least 50 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) for maximum efficacy. The more complex and inclusive the product is, the more likely it is to produce the desired results.
Probiotic supplementation is a necessary part of life after bariatric surgery. Initially, you will likely receive instructions to consume chewable or liquid probiotic supplements. However, you may be more comfortable transitioning to pills sometime after recovery. Adhering to your doctor’s guidance and incorporating probiotics into your diet will reduce your chances of developing uncomfortable symptoms and increase your ability to effectively lose weight and enjoy better health.