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Published on June 07, 2019

closeup of womans hands holding vitamins and glass of water

Importance of Vitamins and Minerals After Bariatric Surgery

By Andrea Hanson, MS, RDN, LN, Avera Bariatric Dietitian

Many people take daily multivitamins, and if we miss a day, we hardly notice.

For those who have recently had bariatric surgery, this isn’t the case. In fact, they can get tired, feel week or just be downright “out of it” when the nutrients they need are not reaching their bodies.

For people post-surgery, vitamin and mineral supplementation is not just a habit: it’s a necessity. Making it part of a daily routine is critical because bariatric surgery alters your anatomy, in turn altering the way your body absorbs nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.

Without the right supplements, there’s a higher risk of deficiency, and it can be dangerous.

What Nutrients Provide

Vitamins and minerals have many functions, and certain vitamins, like several of the B vitamins, play important roles in the regulation of our metabolism. As they help release energy from the food we digest, it’s important we get the ones we need and in the proper amounts.

Without vitamins in the proper portion, we can run the risk of deficiency, which can lead to fatigue and muscle weakness. If it continues, it can become more serious, and conditions like anemia or memory loss can come about. People who face these challenges can avoid them with a regular routine while considering their diet and their supplements each day.

Minerals help metabolism as well, but they also are important because they are important as part of our body’s fluids. In order to have healthy tears and blood, we need these tiny nutritional parts in our daily supplements. Minerals also help regulate your heart, muscle and nerve functions, and if we become deficient in minerals, we’ll see the same results: fatigue and weakness, and if we let it go too long, we can face significant issues, such as heart problems or muscle spasms.

Taking Steps to Preventing Deficiencies

A good diet packed with fruits, vegetables and proteins, along with a good portion of whole grains, can get us in a good place when it comes to the nutrients we need.

But after bariatric surgery, since your intake is restricted, less food means less vitamins and minerals. That’s where supplements come in.

They are not just a good idea; they are required after surgery and you’ll continue to take them for the rest of your life. The additions of vitamins and minerals you need will differ, mostly depending on two factors: your diet and overall health.

Usually a standard multivitamin with additional calcium is where most post-surgery bariatric patients begin, but as you work with your bariatric surgeon and team, you can continue to assess what works best. One of the important aspects of this effort is communication. Do you have bouts of fatigue? Are there days when you have weakness or a general “out of it” feeling?

Tell your team. Specific approaches, including additions of some vitamins or minerals over shorter periods of time, can help. Tailoring the proper approach to supplementing the “whole” vitamins you receive via the foods of your day isn’t too hard, and it can work wonders.

No one wants to feel sluggish or tired. With good communication, a thorough routine and the right balance of nutrients from food or added with a supplement, most folks will find themselves feeling better and on the right path toward a more pleasant tomorrow, one with energy to spare.

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