Gastric Sleeve Surgery Side-Effects & Vitamins

As you research the different types of bariatric surgery, you’ll find that gastric sleeve surgery, also known as laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, has many advantages without the depth of malnutrition that can be present from a full gastric bypass and duodenal surgery. Here is a quick guide of what gastric sleeve surgery involves, some of the side effects, and your vitamin and nutrient needs after the surgery.

What is Gastric Sleeve Surgery?

When you have a sleeve gastrectomy, 75- 90% of your stomach is completely removed. The edge where the removal happens is stitched or stapled, leaving a “sleeve” of stomach about the size and shape of a banana, along with the muscle that controls emptying food from the stomach into the intestine (pylorus).

The portion of the stomach that’s removed produces ghrelin, the hormone that makes you feel hungry. By reducing the size of your stomach and removing the “hunger” center, the amount of food you can eat at one time is restricted (about ½ cup) and you will feel full faster with fewer calories, ultimately resulting in weight loss.

Gastric sleeve surgery is a much simpler and less invasive option than gastric bypass surgery since it doesn’t involve an open surgery nor the rerouting and reconnecting of the intestines. And, unlike the Lap-band procedure, there is no banding device implanted around the stomach.

Advantages & Disadvantages


  • No alteration of the normal function of the digestive system.
  • 5-6 small incisions are made in the abdomen for surgical instruments and a laparoscope camera, resulting in less pain, scarring, and recovery time.
  • Less risk of infection and adhesions than with open surgery (gastric bypass).
  • Weight loss is generally faster with the sleeve than with the gastric band.
  • Less food intolerance than with the gastric band or gastric bypass.
  • Fewer malnutrition issues.
  • No implantable device.
  • Surgical risks are lower than with gastric bypass while weight loss is similar.


  • Sleeve gastrectomy has not been around as long nor evaluated as much as gastric banding or gastric bypass.
  • Sleeve gastrectomy is irreversible.
  • Up to 1% of the time, there may be leaking from the edge stapled area.
  • Complication risks are slightly higher than with Lap-band.
  • There may be long-term digestive issues, food intolerances, and sensitivities.

What Are the Side-Effects?

Gastric sleeve surgery is a tool to assist with obesity and serious obesity-related diseases. After surgery, to lose weight and not suffer the side-effects, you’re required to follow your surgical team’s instructions very closely. This means limiting food intake and eating the right foods, taking the recommended supplements, exercising, and following up regularly with your medical team.

Just because it seems “easier” than gastric bypass and ds surgery, it still carries surgical risks and the potential for daily health issues. It also has a higher rate of patients who fall back into the habit of overeating, which stretches the pouch, resulting in minimal weight loss after surgery.

Some of the most common side effects and how to avoid them include:

Initial failure to lose weight and sleeve dilation: Several factors can lead to not losing or gaining weight after surgery – if your pouch wasn’t made small enough, if discharge instructions are ignored, or if you overeat and your pouch stretches, allowing you to consume more food.

Follow the long-term lifestyle, diet, nutritional, and exercise plan prepared for your unique needs by your weight-loss medical team and be careful not to overeat, even if you’re eating healthy foods.

Nausea is one of the most common issues and generally improves after recovery. For some, the problem persists for months or even long-term. Nausea medications and eating a diet that’s easier to digest may help.

Dyspepsia & GERD: Indigestion, heartburn, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are common and include bloating, nausea, feelings of fullness, and upset stomach which often require medication. Again, what you eat and how much, as well as taking your supplements and prescribed medications can alleviate this condition.

Intolerance of foods: A huge benefit of sleeve versus bypass is that all foods can be eaten after the procedure; there are no restrictions. However, with a much smaller stomach and less stomach acid, you may find you have a decreased tolerance for harder to digest foods like protein, fried foods, and dairy. Try to avoid food that causes upset stomach, diarrhea, and other intolerances.

Gallstones and gallbladder removal are very common after all types of bariatric surgery due to difficulty digesting certain foods. Avoid high-fat, creamy, and fried foods and add bell peppers, beets, dark leafy greens, and low-fat options. Drinking adequate water will also help.

Diarrhea can be a serious problem that persists post-surgery leading to dehydration and malnutrition. Your surgeon or gastroenterologist can give you medication to stop it. It’s also important to get enough liquids, probiotics, and fiber in your diet to help avoid this condition.

Malnutrition is a huge problem with patients, often even before surgery due to a lack of healthy dietary choices. Malnutrition comes in many forms and may not be noticeable until it seriously affects your health. No matter which weight loss surgery you have – gastric sleeve, Lap band, gastric bypass, DS, or revision surgery – the inability to take in enough calories along with certain foods can lead to decreased consumption of protein, minerals, and vitamins. There can also be a problem absorbing nutrients due to diarrhea, nausea, or digestive issues. Taking daily bariatric-specific supplements and sticking to your food plan are critically important to your long-term health.

Hair thinning and hair loss is one of the biggest weight loss surgery complaints, but there’s no cause for alarm – hair loss after bariatric surgery is common. You may start losing hair abruptly within 1 to 6 months post-surgery. 5-15% hair loss is part of the normal hair-growth cycle and is usually temporary, replaced by new strands as the old ones fall out. It should return to normal if you take your vitamins, minerals, and supplements.

Nutritional issues. Lifetime nutritional supplements are not optional for weight loss surgery patients. Though the gastric sleeve procedure does not change the absorption of nutrients in the intestine, the dramatic decrease in the amount of food leads to a loss of nutrition. This nutrition is essential for the body to heal, as well as for proper sleep, energy, nerve and brain function; cardiac health, bone, teeth, muscle strength; hair health, hormonal balance, strong immunity, and emotional well-being.


Though a whole-food diet is a great start, even the highest-quality diet is unlikely to supply all the nutritional needs of the body. That’s why bariatric-specific vitamins, minerals, and added protein are crucial to getting healthy and staying that way.

Vitamin & Nutrient Needs After Surgery

Research shows that those who choose bariatric surgery often have serious nutritional deficiencies prior to surgery due to poor lifestyle and food choices and lack of supplementation. And the risk of these deficiencies gets worse post-surgery.

Therefore, the vitamin and mineral needs and dosages for weight loss surgery patients is much higher than non-surgical consumers. Instead of taking handfuls of vitamins multiple times per day, which gets tiresome and often leads to giving up, ProCare Health created a chewable once-daily multivitamin that makes it simple! Our bariatric-specific vitamins and minerals offer easy-to-take, affordable, complete nutrition that you can sustain for life.

Benefits of Vitamins & Minerals

A few of the benefits of getting enough vitamins and minerals from a mix of high-quality, healthy food and your daily supplements, include:

  • A better functioning metabolism for energy and weight control
  • Brain function for “all-systems-go!” clarity
  • Appetite and hunger control for fewer cravings and stabilized blood sugar
  • Maximum absorption of the proper nutrients that work together for improved immunity
  • Thyroid and nervous system performance helps with weight, energy, and overall well-being
  • Improvement in sleep and stress control
  • Feelings of emotional wellness
  • Promotes healing and strength
  • A more youthful feeling inside and out

A Daily Bariatric Multivitamin: take a bariatric-specific multivitamin with adequate B vitamins, folate, zinc and biotin, as well as vitamin D. ProCare Health has several Bariatric Multivitamin choices – we have easy-to-digest, once-daily capsules or chewables that come with or without varying milligrams of iron for those with iron deficiency or anemia.

Calcium with Vitamin D: ProCare Health’s one-of-a-kind Calcium Dark Chocolate 500 mg Calcium Plus 500 IU Vitamin D bars are a favorite! Our melt-in-your-mouth, 65% bean-to-bar dark chocolate has less than 2g of sugar, is non-GMO, certified Kosher, gluten-free, soy-free, all-natural, and organic, and is made with Trucal®.

Protein: Protein is essential to overall health. Most doctors recommend protein supplements that are easily digestible and low in sugar, as eating enough protein after surgery can be difficult and lead to stomach upset.

ProCare Health has a few delicious, easy-to-absorb, 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). We also have lactose-free, gluten-free, easy-to-dissolve ProCel Whey Protein powder with 15 grams of protein in chocolate, vanilla– a perfect addition to shakes, smoothies, and even coffee.


Trucal is an all-natural, lactose-free calcium with a higher absorption rate than that of calcium carbonate, and equal to or greater than calcium citrate. Unlike other calcium, Trucal offers a balanced profile of essential minerals and antioxidants, keeping all the healthy parts of milk with 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 generally has 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.


Other Gastric Sleeve Side-Effects & Solutions

There are a few other gastric sleeve side effects that have more to do with the surgery itself, such as a stomach obstruction or a delayed leak. It’s important to have a detailed conversation with your bariatric surgery medical team and go over all the risks involved with gastric sleeve and any other weight-loss surgery.

When monitored closely by your bariatric team and following the recommended plan for what your unique body needs, you can avoid most of the unpleasant and often life-altering side effects by simply getting the proper nutrients through a healthy diet and supplementation.

Long-Term Nutritional Needs

The vitamin, mineral, and protein supplements used to prevent side effects after gastric sleeve surgery are the same ones you’ll likely need throughout life, though the amounts may change based on your bloodwork and specific needs.

After a while, it’s tempting to get out of the routine and feel like you don’t need them anymore and want to eat more. However, staying on your food plan and 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 your bariatric-specific supplements daily is important for maintaining long-term, optimum health.

Free ProCare Health Supplement Samples


At ProCare Health, we know what a life-changing decision bariatric surgery is and how complicated it can be. We want to make getting the proper nutrition easy 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

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.