Nutrition Supplements After Gastric Bypass*

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Bariatric surgeries reduce the volume of the stomach and decrease the amount of food a patient may eat which leads to a significant and permanent weight loss. However, reduction of the food intake and modification of the digestive system may cause nutritional deficiencies, therefore patients must take nutrition supplements to guarantee sufficient nutrient intake.


Multivitamins are usually prescribed after weight loss surgery to avoid the lack of vitamins and minerals. Doctors recommend taking multivitamins which possess a minimum of 100 percent of the daily values of essential vitamins and minerals. Within the first few months after the procedure, liquid or chewable multivitamins are advised as they are digested and absorbed better. They also prevent from heartburn or ulcers formation. When a patient is allowed to eat solid food, then they may switch to non-chewable multivitamins.

Other Dietary Supplements

Although multivitamins fulfil the nutritional needs, extra supplementation may be necessary to avoid deficiencies. Doctors recommend additional supplementation of B complex vitamins, calcium and vitamin D, iron and protein supplements because some multivitamins do not possess a lot of these nutrients or the absorption of these nutrients is decreased due to weight loss surgery. Iron is essential in avoiding anaemia and increasing red blood cell levels. Vitamin B-12 helps to increase metabolismVitamin D and calcium help to maintain solid teeth and the skeleton, among many other functions. These nutritional supplements are usually made as chewable or easy-to-swallow medicaments. Vitamin B-12 is also made as a monthly injection or as a pill that melts under the tongue.

B Complex Vitamins

Vitamin B or vitamin B complex supplements are very important since they possess the riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, pyridoxine, folic acid, pantothenic acid, cobalamin, biotin and vitamin B-12. B vitamins are essential in controlling enzymes that transform food to energy in the body. They also help with cell development and may aid cancer prevention. According to the American Cancer Society, a nutrition poor in folic acid may increase your risk of having particular types of cancer.

Calcium and Vitamin D

After weight loss surgery people must take 1,000 to 1,500 mg of calcium every day. Vitamin D helps the organism absorb calcium more effectively. Calcium is an essential mineral in the body and helps to keep the muscles healthy as well as blood vessels and the central nervous system. Around 99 percent of calcium of the body is stored in the teeth and skeleton.


Weight loss surgery patients may lack iron. Especially those who have had surgeries with a malabsorptive component. To prevent a potential lack of iron, a multivitamin possessing iron and vitamin C is prescribed. Vitamin C increases iron absorption.

Zinc and Magnesium

Patients who had gastric bypass, gastric band or other weight loss surgery may also suffer from  the lack of both magnesium and zinc, particularly patients who have Biliopancreatic diversion (BPD). Some scientists think that hair loss, which sometimes occurs after weight loss surgery, may be caused by the lack of zinc. Studies do not notify any serious complications caused by the lack of magnesium.

Protein Supplements

Sufficient protein intake after weight loss surgery is essential to maintain the body healthy, because it is used in the diverse processes in the body and is important in the healing process. High level protein supplements are perfect and an easy way to make sure that patients are getting enough of protein which is  approximately 60 to 80 grams every day. A variety of high level protein supplements are available in powder consistency which can be melted in water. It is helpful within the first few weeks after the procedure when patients are on a liquid nutrition.

In general, restrictive surgeries carry the lowest risk of nutritional deficiencies after surgery. Bariatric malabsorptive surgeries lead to nutritional deficiencies more often than the non-malabsorptive ones and individuals who have those surgeries must take supplements.