What Bariatric Vitamins Should I Be Taking After Surgery?
So, you’ve taken a major step in bettering yourself for a long, healthy life. But, after bariatric surgery, what are the next steps in ensuring that you are successful on your journey? Besides the key elements of diet and exercise, one of the most important steps in recovery and maintaining healthy bodily functions is taking the right doses of vitamins and minerals the body needs to survive. For bariatric patients, a vitamin and mineral regimen will become a lifelong routine. Also, remember that the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) is always a great resource to stay on top of what the most recent recommended vitamins are and the dosage especially for your specific surgery type.
Calcium is pertinent for bone, muscle, and nerve function. It also aids in muscle contractions and blood clotting as well as aids in maintaining healthy blood pressure. A normal adult will only absorb 30% of the calcium they consume from food. This number will drastically drop for bariatric patients. That is why a calcium supplement or complete multivitamin is so important.
Usually there are two forms of calcium that can be taken as a dietary supplement. The first one is called calcium carbonate. This calcium is found in limestone, eggshells, and even oyster shells! Calcium is extracted from these items and then made into a supplement that can deliver it to your body. This is an inexpensive way of creating calcium supplements, which is why it is a very common type of calcium. However, calcium carbonate also requires a high amount of stomach acid to break down and absorb. That is why calcium carbonate is not recommended for bariatric patients!
Another common type of calcium is calcium citrate. This gets part of its name, “citrate”, from the way it is derived from citric acid fermentation usually taken from oranges, lemons, and limes. While this way is more expensive to process, it is still a common form of calcium. What makes this calcium more favorable for bariatric patients is that it can be taken without food, and it starts to break down and absorb quickly.
However, ProCare Health has always been a lead innovator when it comes to creating new products for our bariatric community! So, we found another way to deliver the calcium you need but also making them as creamy as possible! TruCal® provides more minerals and vitamins that your bones need to be healthy, besides just calcium. It is derived from milk and delivers 7 minerals that are similar to the mineral composition of your bones! The best part is that the lactose (sugar) is filtered out, so you are getting only the nutrients your body needs! These additional, and essential extra minerals, make TruCal® a more complete calcium option than calcium citrate that fits perfectly in with a bariatric surgery patients’ system.
Vitamin D helps maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorous, two minerals that are important for strengthening bones. Vitamin D also aids with the absorption of calcium. So, when looking for a calcium supplement it is advised to look for one that has added vitamin D3 to support absorption! In general, most people do not get enough of this nutrient. Bariatric patients will have to be much more attentive to their vitamin D levels.
Iron is responsible for helping hemoglobin in red blood cells and myoglobin in muscle cells carry oxygen throughout the body. Naturally, it is harder for women to maintain healthy levels of iron. While all bariatric patients will have to take iron supplements, female bariatric patients will most likely have to take more than their male counterparts. Finding a bariatric multivitamin that has iron included in its formula will really help cut back on the number of supplements you take a day. For example, ProCare Health’s once daily formula offers three levels of iron!
Vitamin C aids in the creation of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine and helps create collagen, “a connective tissue that knits together wounds and supports blood vessel walls.” A multi-faceted vitamin, vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant, “neutralizing unstable molecules that can damage cells.” Finally, vitamin C also enhances the immune system, which is definitely a bonus for after surgery! Once again, this vitamin can usually be found in a bariatric formulated vitamin!
Vitamin B12 aids in creating new cells, helping regulate metabolism, maintenance of muscle tone, formation of red blood cells, deconstructing certain fatty acids and amino acids, and “protects nerve cells and encourages their normal growth.” B12 is primarily found in animal products lack of it can lead to memory loss, dementia, as well as numbness in the arms and legs.
Some forms of vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) must be converted into a usable form (methylcobalamin) in order for the body to readily absorb it. Since bariatric patients have limited stomach acid and need a supplement that is absorbed as soon as possible, look for a B12 complex that has a form that is readily available!
Vitamin B1 enriches an individual’s skin, hair, and liver by converting food into energy. If you’re not getting enough B1, you can experience fatigue, irritability, irregular sleeping patterns, and abdominal pain.
Magnesium is required for many of the body’s chemical reactions. It works with calcium in muscle contraction, blood clotting, regulation of blood pressure, and helps build bones and teeth. ProCare Health’s probiotic and prenatal formula offers 200 mg of magnesium in each daily dose! For more information on the importance of magnesium you can check out our LIVE event.
Which Vitamins for Which Surgery
The vitamin regimen your surgeon suggests is dependent on the type of surgery you receive, the result of your nutritional lab work (blood tests), and the specific health needs unique to each patient, but, in general, these are the vitamins recommended for each surgery:
- Gastric bypass-complete multivitamin, calcium with vitamin D, iron with vitamin C, and vitamin B12
- Gastric sleeve-complete multivitamin, calcium with vitamin D, iron with vitamin C, and vitamin B12
- Gastric band surgery-complete multivitamin and calcium with vitamin D
- Duodenal Switch/ SADI- complete multivitamin with additional amounts of vitamins A, D, E, and K, and calcium with vitamin D
What type of multivitamin and supplement should I take?
Approximately Eight days after your surgery (or when your program instructs you to), you’ll begin your life-long vitamin regimen. Early on, most programs advise you start with a chewable or liquid multivitamin. While capsules are great after your system has healed, they can be difficult to swallow right after surgery, and the way capsule open and release all the powder in your stomach can cause discomfort. Most programs greenlight you to do capsules after 8 weeks. Avoid gummy vitamins and children’s vitamins (not complete vitamins).
Your multivitamin should contain at least:
- Folic Acid-400mcg
- Vitamin B1-12mg
- Vitamin D-3,000 IU
*You should consume at least 200% of all the vitamins and minerals listed on the label of your multivitamin.
When it comes to trusting a brand for your vitamins and supplements, you’ll have to look for the NSF International, US Pharmacopeia, Underwriters Laboratory, or Consumer Lab seal. Be careful with vitamins that come from outside the United States, as they may use toxic fillers.
Why should you use ProCare Health Supplements?
ProCare Health supplements are a United States product, and as a company ProCare Health has been USFCR Vendor Certified. For more information on the U.S. Federal Contractor Registration, click here.
Poorly sourced vitamins from manufacturers that don’t take quality control seriously are worse than useless – they can hurt patients. That is why ProCare Health takes quality control very seriously and uses independent third-party testing of each batch of our bariatric vitamins and post them on our website for everyone to see.
ProCare Health strictly creates supplements for bariatric patients. So, you can rest assured that each product meets each of your bariatric needs. For post-surgery patients looking to set up a vitamin regimen ProCare Health has several products suitable for you:
Check out all of our available products online at procarenow.com.