Bariatric vitamins are required for all post-op bariatric patients to prevent vitamin deficiencies. All weight loss surgery procedures cause a restrictive effect, meaning your stomach pouch size is smaller, so you can not intake as much food to keep your vitamin levels up. Likewise, the gastric bypass and the duodenal switch produce a malabsorptive effect making it harder for your body to physically absorb the same amount of vitamins as you once could.
To avoid malnutrition, our bariatric providers will require our patients to take bariatric vitamins after their weight loss surgery procedure. Bariatric vitamins keep you safe and are essential to your overall health.
Bariatric Vitamins vs. Over-The-Counter Vitamins
When choosing a bariatric vitamin, it is important to make sure you are picking one specifically formulated for patients who have undergone weight loss surgery. Taking a few kids’ Flinstone vitamins is no longer the recommendation.
Over-the-counter (OTC) multivitamins do not meet the needs of a bariatric surgery patient. Specifically for patients more prone to vitamin deficiencies based on their procedure type. One of the most common problems we see with OTC vitamins is they will not have enough B12, Vitamin D, B1, iron, and other nutrients, which can cause deficiencies and other problems down the road.
Bariatric patients have a greater risk of becoming deficient in specific vitamins, including vitamins B12, C, A, D, and minerals such as iron and calcium. If you have the duodenal switch procedure, you are also at risk of being deficient in vitamins K and E.
Choosing a Bariatric Vitamin
There are many bariatric brands on the market, and most bariatric brands should meet your needs; however, we recommend the Ness Vitamins products. We recommend a chewable multivitamin for the first few months to help with absorption; then, you can switch to pills or tablets.
We encourage you to check with your bariatric dietitian as some patients’ nutritional needs may differ a little.
The Key to Bariatric Vitamins
The key to getting the benefits from bariatric vitamins is actually taking them. It is not uncommon for our patients to forget to take their vitamins or not realize their importance until it is too late.
If you are not used to taking vitamins and are pre-op, taking a regular multivitamin is a great way to create a routine around taking vitamins. Once you have your surgery, you must start taking the bariatric version of your vitamins. As mentioned above, bariatric multivitamins are formulated to meet your needs with higher doses of specific nutrients to fill any nutritional gaps after weight loss surgery.
Another way to adhere to your vitamin regime is to set an alarm/reminder on your phone. We love the Ness Vitamins products because you only need to take one pill a day for all your nutritional needs.
Bariatric vitamins support your diet, so it is still important you are eating healthy in addition to taking your vitamins. Finally, you will take bariatric vitamins for a lifetime. Your stomach and digestive tract are permanently altered, so there is a continued risk of developing deficiencies. However, you will be trading these multivitamins for your medications in many cases as weight-related medication conditions go away with the weight loss.