Gastric Bypass Surgery Side-Effects & Vitamins

Are you considering bariatric surgery? There are many more options today than ever before to help conquer obesity and dangerous weight-related health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and nutritional deficiencies. Here is a quick guide to the ins-and-outs of what gastric bypass involves, some of the side effects, and your vitamin and nutrient needs prior-to and after the surgery.

What is Gastric Bypass Surgery?

Gastric bypass surgery is a type of weight-loss or bariatric surgery that changes your stomach and small intestine and alters the way you absorb and digest food. It is considered a malabsorptive procedure, bypassing sections of the small intestine, thereby reducing the amount you can eat and the calories, fat, and nutrients you can absorb during digestion. Gastric bypass:

  • Restricts the amount of food your stomach holds.
  • Limits the calories and nutrients your body absorbs.
  • Changes your gut hormones – you’ll be less hungry, feel full sooner (with about 2 tablespoons of food), and have a suppressed appetite longer.

Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass

You will undoubtedly hear gastric bypass referred to as Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery – it is the most performed bariatric procedure worldwide and would be the most likely performed surgery if you’re seeking a complete bypass. The steps of the procedure are:

  1. Your surgeon starts by making an egg-sized stomach pouch by dividing the top of the stomach from the rest of the stomach.
  2. Next, the small intestine is divided, and the bottom end is brought up and connected to the newly created small stomach pouch.
  3. Lastly, the top portion of the divided small intestine is connected to the small intestine further down so that the stomach acids and digestive enzymes from the bypassed stomach and first portion of your small intestine eventually mix with the food.

What Are the Side-Effects?

With Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, as with any bariatric procedure, there is risk of patient complications and nutritional deficiencies that require close monitoring by your medical team. To avoid most of the side effects like malnutrition, anemia, osteoporosis, long-term hair loss, depression, and nervous system issues, it is critical that you commit to lifelong dietary and lifestyle changes, special foods, medications, and nutritional supplements.

Without strictly following the doctor-prescribed guidelines and staying on your supplements for the rest of your life, chances of serious health conditions, and even life-threatening consequences, are real. The good news is, most of the potential gastric bypass side effects can be completely avoided by being proactive and committing to your exciting new healthy lifestyle. A few of the most common side effects and how to avoid them include:


This occurs from the inability to eat enough food and absorb nutrients. This leads to a lack of vitamins and minerals and overall calorie intake from fat, carbohydrates, and protein. The side effects range from unnoticeable to life-threatening and include fatigue, weakness, apathy/depression, dry skin, dull or brittle hair, hair loss, cognitive impairment, nerve (neuropathy) issues, anemia, poor wound healing, dry eyes, bleeding gums, heart conditions, and more. These can be present but not be noticeable for years. That’s why close monitoring by your physician is important.

To avoid malnutrition, prevention is key! Taking an easily-absorbed once-daily bariatric-specific multivitamin is essential, as well as supplementing with a few extra vitamins and minerals, like B-12, calcium, and iron to stave off common malabsorptive issues like excessive fatigue, mind-fog, osteoporosis, and anemia.

Dumping syndrome

Dumping syndrome is also called rapid gastric emptying and occurs when food (especially sugar) moves from your stomach into your small bowel too quickly. Abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea and/or vomiting usually occur within 30 minutes to 3 hours of eating.

To avoid this uncomfortable, sometimes dangerous condition, eating smaller meals with less sugar and adequately chewing your food (30 times per bite) is essential.

Hair Thinning & Hair Loss

This is one of the biggest complaints that causes stress to patients, but there’s no cause for alarm – hair loss after bariatric surgery is very common. You may start losing hair abruptly up to 6 months post-surgery, but it rarely lasts longer than 6 months. Hair loss is actually part of the normal growth cycle – 5-15% of our hair is in the resting phase at any given time and this is the hair you will shed. Stress and hormonal changes cause a bit more hair to go into the resting phase and fall out, then when the hair starts to grow again, the old hair follicle is released, and you lose hair.


Reasons for temporary surgery-related hair loss:

  • Surgery
  • Illness
  • Stress or trauma
  • Radical change in diet
  • Lack of nutrients
  • Low protein intake
  • Chronic iron deficiency (anemia)
  • Chronic disease (liver, kidney disease)
  • Hormonal imbalance (hypothyroidism)
  • Medications such as beta-blockers, excess vitamin A, and blood thinners

Minimize Hair Loss & Malnutrition After Surgery

Unless you have a genetic predisposition to hair thinning, a chronic illness, or a permanent hormonal imbalance, your hair should return to normal on its own and stay healthy by following a few nutritional guidelines. This list is also the key to most nutritional deficiencies and maintaining optimal health post-gastric bypass.


Protein is essential to healthy hair and nails, as well as overall health. Most doctors recommend protein supplements that are easily digestible and low in sugar, as eating enough protein after surgery can be difficult.

ProCare Health has a few delicious, easy-to-absorb and convenient protein supplements. Sugar-free, gluten-free LiquiCel has 16 grams of liquid protein in 1 ounce and is packed with flavor (orange, watermelon, peach-mango, lemonade, grape). A great way to get protein on the go!

We also have gluten-free Whey Isolate Protein Powder with 26 grams of protein in chocolate and vanilla, a perfect addition to shakes, smoothies, and even coffee.

A Daily Multivitamin

Take a bariatric-specific multivitamin with adequate B vitamins, folate, zinc and biotin, as well as B12 and vitamin D. ProCare Health has several choices – we have easy-to-digest, once-daily capsules or chewables that were scientifically designed for the needs of weight-loss patients.

Our once-daily Bariatric Multivitamins come with or without varying milligrams of iron for those with iron deficiencies or anemia, which is common and can be critical. We also have probiotic multivitamin choices.

Calcium with Vitamin D

How does eating a high-quality, daily chocolate bar or two sound? ProCare Health’s one-of-a-kind Sea Salted Caramel Calcium Chews are one of our customers’ favorite! These are the only all-natural ingredient calcium chew on the market and is made with Trucal®.

Trucal is an all-natural calcium with higher absorption than that of calcium carbonate, and equal to or greater than calcium citrate. Unlike other calcium forms, Trucal offers a balanced profile of essential minerals and antioxidants with all the healthy parts of milk and very low lactose. Thus, making Trucal the superior choice for achieving optimal bone, hair, teeth, and neurological health. It’s even packaged in the USA and a Rainforest Certified Alliance. It really doesn’t get any better than this!

Consider Additional B-Complex.

B-vitamin deficiencies are extremely common and often an additional dose is recommended. The best way to absorb extra B vitamins is by taking a B-complex as a liquid or dissolvable tablet under your tongue. B-complex have all the essential B vitamins, including biotin, which can help with healthy hair. B vitamins keep your metabolism running smoothly and play a role in every cell in the body, as well as nerve and cognitive function.

ProCare Health has the most absorbable form of B12 (methylcobalamin) in our once-daily capsule and chewable Bariatric Multivitamin for maximum effectiveness.

Other Gastric Bypass Side Effects & Solutions

Other side effects and things to watch for include unexplained nausea and vomiting, iron and calcium deficiencies, hypoglycemia, and abdominal wall complications (i.e., hernias). When monitored closely by your bariatric team and following the recommended plan for what your unique needs, you can avoid many of the side effects by simply getting the proper nutrients.


Long-Term Nutritional Needs

The vitamin, mineral, and protein supplements used to prevent side effects after gastric bypass surgery are the same ones you’ll need for your entire life, though the amounts may change based on your blood work and specific needs.

After a while, it’s tempting to get out of the routine and feel like you don’t need them anymore. However, staying on your supplements will help improve energy levels and overall feelings of well-being, which can help you avoid future weight gain and serious health conditions. Taking the prescribed bariatric-specific supplements is important for maintaining long-term good health and prevent deficiencies.

Free ProCare Health Supplement Samples

At ProCare Health, we know what a life-changing decision gastric bypass surgery is and how complicated it can be. We want to make getting the proper nutrition easy and affordable by having the most complete nutrition in as few supplements as possible and removing the unknowns when it comes to knowing what to take. We even offer a free sample to help you get started!

Our caring team considers what we do of vital importance to your health, and only provide the best quality, accuracy, and bio-availability possible so that you get the most from every supplement you take. If you need additional help or have any questions about our bariatric vitamins or supplements, please contact us today with questions or to place an order. 877-822-5808



ProCare Health’s products are wonderful. My husband and I have both had Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. After surgery, we tried other bariatric supplements. However, because they required multiple vitamins at different times during the day, it just got to be cumbersome, and we would forget to take them when the timing wasn’t convenient. As a result, our lab results showed anemia or critically low vitamin D or B levels.

Now, we take ProCare’s supplemental calcium and the once-daily vitamin – which really is ONE a day. For two years now, our post-bariatric labs have been great.

We love ProCare Health’s vitamins. In fact, I’ve recommended them to friends who have also undergone weight loss surgery. We give ProCare Health five out of five stars.

Please note: the information contained within this article is in no way to be considered medical advice nor is it meant to replace your medical team’s recommendations. This article’s purpose is to educate and allow the reader to make informed decisions with the help of his or her medical team.