Essential Supplements After Bariatric Surgery
Congratulations on making the life-affirming decision to have bariatric surgery (gastric sleeve, roux-en-y gastric bypass, mini-bypass, duodenal switch, or adjustable-band)! As you are aware, there are many new lifestyle and diet changes to make in preparation for and after weight loss surgery. ProCare Health is here to help by providing useful information and making it easy to get your necessary dietary supplements.
Ensuring You Get Nutrient-Dense Supplements
When it comes to getting the right nutrition, vitamins, minerals, and other supplements for patient safety and good health, it is imperative to follow post-bariatric and gastric sleeve and bypass surgery recommendations. As someone who has a smaller “pouch” and less ability to absorb nutrients, dangerous deficiencies are a reality that can often lead to serious and sometimes permanent health damage.
Your ProCare Health team is dedicated to ensuring that you get the most nutrient-dense vitamins with ease and affordably, so you can have a healthy, enriched life after weight loss surgery. The following information details the 9 primary essential nutrients needed, how to get them, and why they are important. Though there are others, we want to highlight and share the most important ones and the benefits they lend to your physiology to help you feel your best every day.
Vitamins & Supplements Explained
As with all healthcare and nutritional information, it is best to create a plan with your weight-loss surgery team to choose the minimum requirements for you based on your bloodwork and dietary needs, and then monitor it closely.
Eight of the vitamins and minerals listed here are in ProCare Health’s easy-to-absorb once daily regular and chewable Multivitamin, along with other 13 other key nutrients, so you get the recommended daily allowances easily. A few are also available on their own, like additional iron and B12, in case your doctor proposes you take extra throughout the day.
According to The American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) Nutritional Experts Committee, the basic vitamin requirements include but are not limited to:
Ever see a rabbit wearing glasses? They love carrots and get plenty of Vitamin A! Also known as vitamin A acetate or beta-carotene, this important vitamin is critical to vision, especially night vision, and healthy skin. It is imperative that it is taken in the recommended amount, which is 10,000 IUs per day. As preformed acetate, it is fat-soluble, which means it is not excreted in urine and may build up in your system if taken in too large of dose, which can lead to orange-tinged skin and bone loss.
Vitamin A as beta-carotene is water soluble, meaning what your body does not need, will be excreted fairly quickly in your urine. Taking a supplement that contains both pre-formed acetate and beta-carotene is recommended for optimal absorption. ProCare Health’s multivitamin has a combination, providing exactly 10, 000 IUs.
This vitamin can also be found in carrots, cantaloupe, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, broccoli, kale, butter, spinach, leafy vegetables, collard greens, eggs, and liver (beef, pork).
Vitamin B1 (Also Known As Thiamine)
Convert those carbohydrates more easily and protect your heart with Vitamin B1. A water-soluble B-vitamin, also known as Thiamin, B1 helps convert carbohydrates into energy and is essential for proper heart and muscle function.
The first few weeks post bariatric surgery when persistent vomiting may occur, B1 supplementation is critical. When deficient, beriberi disease, caused by a thiamin deficiency, can cause serious and irreversible nervous system and/or heart failure. Though this disease has been eradicated since thiamin-enriched foods were introduced, it is still a potential problem for surgical weight loss patients due to a restricted diet and the inability to store large amounts of thiamin. ProCare Health’s daily Multivitamin has the recommended amount you need to stay beriberi-free.
This vitamin can also be found in foods such as oats, oranges, eggs, seeds, green peas, spinach, beef, pork, navy beans, nuts, pinto beans, bananas, soybeans, whole-grains, bread, yeast, liver, and fortified grains and cereals.
One of the most well-known superstars of the B vitamins, vitamin B12, is a critical post-bariatric surgery powerhouse vitamin. This goes for all surgery types from gastric sleeve to gastric bypass, and especially for the duodenal switch procedure.
This water-soluble nutrient is responsible for maintaining red blood cells and nerve cells; making DNA, and the following:
- Maintenance of cell growth and division
- Formation of red blood cells and prevention of anemia
- Nervous system support
- Immune system support
- Helps regulate metabolism
- Maintenance of muscle tone
- Maintenance of healthy hair, skin, and nails
When absorption of this vital vitamin is diminished, the risk of serious health conditions include extreme fatigue, weakness, dizziness, anemia, cognitive issues, heart issues, and tingling, numb extremities from neuropathy. Neuropathy can become serious and lead to permanent neurological damage.
Vitamin B12 can be absorbed orally in tablet form, with additional B-Complex often being recommended by doctors in a sublingual, liquid form. Our citrus-flavored liquid B12 is in the form of methylcobalamin – which is used much more efficiently by the liver, brain, and nervous system. Drop it under your tongue “sublingually,” where it stimulates tissues in your mouth to quickly deliver the ingredients directly into your bloodstream. This bypasses the harsh acidic environment of the stomach, delivering it into your body quickly and thoroughly.
ProCare Health’s once-daily multi also has 1000 mcg of vitamin B12 as methylcobalamin. This methylated forms of B12 make for easier absorption and retention of B12 in your tissues in higher amounts.
You might also see B12 listed as cyanocobalamin. Studies, however, vary on the effectiveness of cyanocobalamin over methylcobalamin. Methylcobalamin is a natural form of B12 and has a higher body retention rate. Therefore, it is the recommended form for weight-loss-surgery patients.
Other healthy sources of B12 include fortified breakfast cereal, chicken, beef, dairy products, eggs, organ meats and liver, fish and shellfish such as clams, sardines, tuna, trout, and salmon.
Since calcium is the most abundant mineral in your body, it is critical to your overall wellness. Did you know that our bodies can only absorb calcium in doses of 500 to 600 mg at a time? Most recommendations for post-surgery calcium supplementation ranges from 1000 to 2400 mg a day, depending on the type of surgery. This means that your calcium regimen must be taken in multiple doses. For example, a 2000 mg requirement will be spaced out four times throughout the day.
So that you can meet your daily calcium requirement, we do not include calcium in our once-daily vitamin line. We also don’t include calcium in our once-daily vitamins because calcium and iron do not play well together (our multivitamins contain iron). When taken separately (at a minimum of two hours apart), your body can absorb all required supplements. It is important to remember this because calcium deficiencies can take a while to show.
When taken with vitamin D, calcium also ensures healthy bones and teeth. Also, it can facilitate weight loss, help with muscle contractions and secretion of hormones and enzymes, and send messages throughout the nervous system. If you do not provide your body with enough calcium, it will begin to pull calcium from your bones, making them brittle and more prone to breakage. Early warning signs of a calcium deficiency include muscle cramps, facial spasms, and brittle nails. More serious long-term deficiencies are brittle bone disease or osteoporosis.
After weight loss surgery, stomach acid is often lacking. Because it does not need an acidic environment for absorption, calcium citrate is most commonly recommended for patients who undergo bariatric surgery. You might have heard about calcium carbonate, another popular form of calcium. However, this is not recommended for weight-loss-surgery patients because it requires stomach acid for absorption.
ProCare Health has calcium citrate options available, but we also have a form of calcium called TruCal®. TruCal® is an all-natural, lactose-free calcium supplement that is an alternate option to calcium citrate. Unlike other calcium forms, TruCal offers a balanced profile of essential minerals and antioxidants (all the healthy parts of milk with very low lactose), thus, making it the superior choice for achieving optimal bone health.
Like calcium citrate, TruCal® does not require stomach acid for absorption, is non-constipating, and does not increase the risk for kidney stones. Furthermore, you don’t have to consume food with it, making TruCal® a comparable, if not more complete, calcium option than calcium citrate.
We’ve also incorporated TruCal® in our sea salted caramel chews and our dark chocolate calcium bars. The creamy, non-gritty textures of these products will make you forget that you’re taking them for your calcium.
What can we say about vitamin C that you probably don’t already know! This wonderful water-soluble vitamin is an antioxidant powerhouse, keeping your immunity up and reducing oxidative stress on your cells. But did you know it also helps with the absorption of iron?
Our once-daily multivitamin with iron has just the right balance of vitamin C and iron to give you the most benefits from each and eliminate the need to take a separate form of iron.
Vitamin C plays a vital role in maintaining the collagen in your body. Because collagen is in your skin and other tissues, this vitamin is especially important for post-surgery wound healing. Also, vitamin C helps your body make red blood cells and control bleeding. If you don’t get enough vitamin C, you can develop scurvy. Although rare, this disease can be reversed by vitamin C supplements.
Since vitamin C is so important and available in many delicious foods, here is a list to help you get the maximum amount daily from your bariatric diet: oranges and all citrus fruits, kiwi, papaya, strawberry, cantaloupe, raspberry, passion fruit, mango, honeydew, cranberry, tomato, blueberry, pineapple, grapes, apricot, plum, watermelon; broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, raw cabbage, potatoes, brussels sprouts, red/yellow/orange bell peppers, and parsley.
Commonly known as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol, is a fat-soluble vitamin essential to aiding the body in the absorption of calcium for healthy bones and teeth. Without vitamin D, your body can’t utilize calcium properly and bones can become weak and brittle. Vitamin D also promotes normal cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function, a reduction in inflammation, weight loss, and looks promising in the prevention of some cancers.
Due to malabsorption of nutrients after weight loss surgery and the fact that very few foods provide vitamin D (fatty fish, some dairy, and fortified foods), it’s important to supplement with a high-quality, absorbable form of vitamin D. This will help avoid muscle pain, bone fractures, fatigue, compromised immunity, depression, and problems sleeping.
This vitamin is important for everyone – not just women of childbearing age. Folate, also known as folic acid, is vitamin B9, and plays an important role in the production and maintenance of new cells. It is well known that it is especially important for women who may become pregnant to reduce the risk of premature births and some birth defects, but it is equally important for weight loss surgery patients due to malabsorption.
A common issue with folate deficiency is anemia, which can be associated with fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness, and compromised immunity and cognition. A folate deficiency may also mask a vitamin B12 deficiency (or an MTHFR mutation), so it is important that your healthcare provider monitor both folate and B12. Our bariatric multivitamins deliver 800 mcg per day, which is the level that our consulting bariatric doctors agree ensures proper balance and is what the ASMBS recommends.
In your new bariatric or post gastric sleeve diet, you can get folate naturally from fortified breakfast cereal, avocados, leafy greens, chickpeas, pinto beans, spinach, beets, lima beans, papaya, wheat germ, seeds, asparagus, orange juice, whole wheat flour, peas, white rice, wheat flour, broccoli, okra, banana, and beef and chicken liver.
Who doesn’t love more energy and warmer hands and feet? Iron carries oxygen in red blood cells to muscles, helping with a “warming” of your body and extremities and creating energy. Iron deficiencies are common in the general population, as well as among weight loss surgery patients. Symptoms of a deficiency include fatigue, compromised immunity, restless leg syndrome, fluctuating body temperature, and anemia – which makes the heart work harder to make up for the lack of red blood cells.
By taking our Multivitamin with Iron, you’ll not only have an easier time absorbing the necessary iron because of the vitamin C, it is also engineered to be easily digested.
All meat, poultry, and some fish – cod, flounder, salmon, tuna – are considered sources of “heme iron.” If you are a vegetarian, sources of non-heme iron include kidney and baked beans, spinach, rice bran, whole wheat products, semolina, corn flour (masa), apricots, lima beans, dates, peas, and broccoli.
What doesn’t this valuable mineral provide? This is a must for everyone, and true to those with weight loss surgery limitations, this key mineral is a necessary supplement for many bodily functions.
Magnesium is a factor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood sugar or glucose control, blood pressure, heart health, energy production, and making protein, bone, and DNA.
You can imagine the many symptoms associated with a magnesium deficiency – muscle cramps, muscle pain, constipation, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, hyperactivity, irritability, panic attacks, and irregular heartbeat, among others. Our multivitamin has a combination of magnesium oxide, magnesium amino acid chelate, and magnesium citrate for stability and ease of absorption.
And, as always, try to get as many nutrients from food as you can. Magnesium is found in citrus fruits, swiss chard, spinach, dairy (grass-fed), avocados, pumpkin seeds, pink salts, nuts and nut butters, dark chocolate, wild caught fish, sprouts, organic coffee, baked potato, black eyed peas, shredded wheat cereal, oatmeal, wheat bran, yogurt, brown rice, kidney and pinto beans, and bananas.
A High-Quality Multivitamin Can Make a Big Difference
An easily absorbed, once-daily, high-quality multivitamin is vital to staying healthy and feeling youthful when you’ve had bariatric or weight loss surgery. Because ProCare Health only wants the best for you, all our supplements undergo a testing regimen that exceeds the industry’s quality expectations. After being produced in a cGMP-compliant plant in the USA, every ingredient of every lot is 3rd party independently tested for quality and efficacy, delivering peace of mind to you.
Our products are also free of gluten and lactose. Our delicious one-of-a-kind calcium chews are also Kosher, organic, soy-free, and non-GMO. No other company provides that level of testing and purity with transparent results available for everyone to see.
Also, our Bariatric Multivitamin with 45 mg iron capsule is ConsumerLab.com approved!
We’re Here for You!
As you may have noticed, we often use the word “easy.” That’s because we know how complicated the post-surgery nutritional regimen can be – our goal is to take away the stress of it and truly make it easier to get the nutrients you need without the hassle.