Vitamins for Bariatric Patients

We all know how important and beneficial vitamins are to the body. We know that our body needs just the right balance of vitamins and minerals to function properly. Besides helping to regulate some of the body’s most important processes, vitamins also have an impact on weight.

They are known to affect appetite, energy storage, brain activity, metabolic rate, hunger and absorption of nutrients. All of which directly affect body weight. Foods are the best sources of vitamins, but most people do not eat a healthy enough diet to get all the vitamins their body needs. Bariatric patients are even more likely to be vitamin deficient due to malabsorptive procedures.

It is well known that bariatric surgery restricts the amount of food you consume and/or reduces the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. This means bariatric patients need to take good quality vitamins and minerals for the rest of their lives.

While the specific amounts and types of supplements vary from one person to another, it is important that bariatric patients take as much as 200% of the recommended dose of specific vitamin supplements is to help prevent malnutrition after a bariatric surgery. It’s also very important that patients adhere to the supplements and dosage recommended for him/her. Some of the most important vitamins include

Vitamin A

Vitamin A boosts the immune system, helps support eye health, and is essential for a person’s overall good health.  It enhances reproduction and it promotes growth. Vitamin A can be found most commonly in beta-carotene and retinol.

Beta-carotene is found naturally in carrots, kale, and sweet potatoes (mostly orange and dark green plant foods). Retinols can be found in animal foods such as fatty fish, liver and eggs. 10,000 UI each day is the recommended dose of vitamin A

B1 (Thiamine)

Thiamine is needed every day because it cannot be stored in the body. Thiamine helps in the conversion of foods into energy and it also enhances nerve and brain functions. Thiamine deficiency in bariatric patients is a complication that can have very serious and sometimes permanent side effects. The recommended dose is 3mg per day of thiamine to will help prevent deficiency.

Vitamin B12

Bariatric surgery patients are more liable to have vitamin B-12 deficiency because it is usually a result of inadequate digestion. B-12 plays a vital role in the growth and replication of cells and the proper functioning of the nervous system.

Some potential complications of vitamin B-12 deficiency include pale skin, heart palpitations, vision loss, loss of appetite, depression, vision loss, diarrhea and Shortness of breath.

Since digestive tracts of bariatric patients have been changed, they become more susceptible to vitamin B-12 deficiency than other people. Bariatric surgery causes an interference with the natural absorption of vitamin B-12. About 1000mcg of vitamin B-12 is recommended per day.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is recommended to help promote the healing of the wounds created during bariatric surgery. Vitamin C deficiency could lead to the failure of tissue in the body to repair itself. A low level of vitamin C could lead to stroke, high blood pressure, and a buildup of plaque in blood vessels and by extension could lead to heart failure. Recommended intake of vitamin C each day is 120mg.

Calcium citrate, vitamin D3 and folate are other vitamins that bariatric patients need to ensure they take in each day.

All bariatric surgery patients need their vitamin and mineral levels checked regularly. A team of doctors, dietician, nurses, gastroenterologist and primary care physicians usually help to provide better nutritional care to bariatric surgery patients.

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