Supplements are an essential part of post bariatric surgery diet. Most weight loss surgeries will cause nutritional deficiencies. This may be from malabsorption or reduced appetite. Because of the risks associated with the deficiency of these nutrients, they are often prescribed immediately after surgery before the onset of deficiency symptoms and signs. Some of the commonly affected nutrients are vitamin B12, iron, calcium, and vitamin D. Protein deficiency can also occur due to inadequate intake or malabsorption.
Countless numbers of vitamin supplements are available in the market. You should pay attention to the constituents of these products and the quantity of each component to be sure you are buying the right number that was prescribed for you.
Countless numbers of vitamin supplements are available in the market. You should pay attention to the constituents of these products and the quantity of each component to be sure you are buying the right amount that was prescribed for you.
Vitamin supplements should be taken along with food and not in an empty stomach. Some of them are irritants to the lining of the stomach and may cause nausea or vomiting if taken on an empty stomach. You should also avoid vitamins that are not easily absorbed due to the materials used in coating them. Your doctor or dietician will prescribe the appropriate one for you. However, if you are buying it by yourself over-the-counter, choose vitamin supplements that are chewable or in liquid form. Examples of multivitamins are centrum adult chewable and centrum liquid.
Calcium is required for maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. It is also essential for muscle contraction, heart, and nerve function. Most clotting factors that are necessary to stop bleeding after injury are calcium-dependent.
Calcium comes in different forms. The most common over-the-counter calcium supplement is calcium carbonate but it is not easily absorbed following bariatric surgery as the stomach acid (necessary for absorption of calcium carbonate) is often reduced. A better supplement is calcium citrate which should be in chewable or liquid form. Avoid taking calcium supplement with iron so as not to impair iron absorption. You should take about 1500mg of elemental calcium per day. This should be divided into three doses as the body can only absorb about 500mg at a time.
Absorption of calcium is aided by the active form of vitamin D. vitamin D is therefore essential for bone growth and development. It also helps the absorption of other substances such as magnesium and phosphates. The daily requirement is about 600-800 IU. Supplements are available in liquid or chewable forms either alone or in combination with calcium.
As you go through your recovery period after bariatric surgery, you need adequate blood and oxygen supply to various body tissues to accelerate healing. Your muscles also require an adequate supply of oxygen to sustain exercise. Iron deficiency will result in anemia which will compromise oxygen supply to tissues.
Iron supplements are mostly tablets. You may see them combined with different components such as ferrous fumarate, ferrous gluconate, and ferrous sulfate. Ferrous fumarate is the most preferred form. Avoid taken iron with calcium, at least two hours apart, to ensure optimal absorption.
Numerous protein supplements are available in the market. However, in choosing a protein supplement, avoid those that are high in fat and sugar. Take into consideration the amount of calorie and factor it into your total calorie intake. The supplement should have at least 30grams of protein per serving as you will need about 60grams per day. Bariatric-specific protein supplements are preferable to others. See your doctor for the best prescription.
Most protein supplements are in the form of liquid or powders. They are often mixed with water or milk. However, you can get already mixed formulations. The following are examples of protein supplements.
- Designer whey protein,
- EAS whey protein powder,
- Isopure low carb
- EAS Lean protein powder
Vitamin B12 is required for red blood cells formation and deficiency will lead to anemia which can compromise oxygen supply to body tissues. It is also needed for proper nerve function and in the multiplication of cells. Deficiency results from poor absorption after bariatric surgery due to a reduction in the production of intrinsic factor (required for absorption) following a decrease of the size of the stomach. Vitamin B12 supplements are in the form of tablets, liquid, and injectable forms. Supplements come in tablet forms. You are advised to allow it dissolve in your mouth and not swallow it as part of it is absorbed by the lining of the mouth.
The role of folic acid is similar to that of vitamin B12 and deficiency will also result in anemia. The recommended daily intake is about 400mcg. It is also beneficial in women who are planning to get pregnant after bariatric surgery as it helps prevent congenital disability if taken before pregnancy. It usually comes in the form of tablet either alone or as a combination in a multivitamin formula.
The importance of supplements as part of the post-op diet after bariatric surgery cannot be overstressed. Many brands are available to choose from. Adhere to your doctor’s or dietician’s prescription.