What is Bariatric Surgery?
Bariatric surgery is a procedure used to make your stomach smaller to eat less and help make you feel full faster. Bariatric surgery is a broad term and can consist of a couple of different surgeries which can include but aren’t limited to: gastric sleeve, gastric band, gastric bypass or duodenal switch. Each of these surgeries can require a different amount or type of supplementation. These surgeries are typically performed on severely obese patients to promote weight loss. It can also help other health conditions associated with obesity, including diabetes and high blood pressure.
Life after surgery?
After having bariatric surgery, you lifestyle will also have to be modified. Having the surgery is your first step towards a healthier life, but with it comes a couple of extra steps you will have to take in order to continue living a healthier lifestyle. This will include having to supplement vitamins into your diet. Surgery is done to lose weight, but with that you don’t want to miss essential vitamins you body still needs, that you will no longer receive. With that, it is important to see a nutritionist post-surgery to find out what and how much you will need to supplement your diet daily.
Why do you need extra vitamins?
Your body needs a set amount of vitamins and minerals each day to work. When your stomach is smaller and you are eating less, your body can’t get as much of the vitamins it normally would. This is why it is extremely important to supplement these in addition to the food you eat. These vitamins become an essential part of your health and nutrition. Since this surgery is permanent, you will need to take the supplements every single day for the rest of your life.
What vitamins supplements will you need to add to your diet? The most common include:
- Multivitamin with iron
- Vitamin B12
- Calcium Citrate
- Vitamin D
Why are these important?
Multivitamin: A multivitamin will include most of the essential vitamins you need in one tablet. These vitamins include:
- Vitamin A – Low levels can cause dry eyes, eye irritation or even vision change.
- Vitamin B1, B3, B6
o Vitamin B1 deficiency can happen within 9-18 days post-surgery, which can lead to muscle weakness, changes in vision or mental status, and other possibly fatal side effects
- Iron – Lead to anemia
- Vitamin C – Growth and repair of body tissues.
- Folate – Important for creating genetic material.
- Biotin – Important for energy as well as healthy hair and nails.
You also want to look for “Complete” multivitamins, this means that the multivitamin contains 100% of your body’s daily value for each of the vitamins in that supplement. It is very important to read labels, you can always ask your Bremo pharmacists for help with this.
Vitamin B12: Low vitamin B12 can make you feel tired and weak. It is also essential for making cells in the body.
Calcium Citrate: Calcium is important to our diet because it helps us build and maintain healthy healthy bones. Without calcium our bones can become frail and easier to break. Our bodies can only absorb 500mgs of calcium at a time. You may have to take it 2 to 3 times a day depending on how much your body would need.
Vitamin D: Helps your body absorb calcium as well as decrease risk of bone fractures, bone loss. Not enough Vitamin D can lead to fatigue and muscle weakness as well as increase your chances of getting sick.
So how can you manage all of this?
It is important to know what type of surgery you had and what vitamins you will need. There are a couple of different types of surgery for weight loss and each one can require you to need different vitamins. It’s helpful to do the research and find some resources before having surgery so that you can be prepared for the lifestyle change afterwards. There are many different types of post bariatric surgery programs and brands that can offer you the complete nutrition you will need. There are many brands out there, the two offered at Bremo are Bariatric Advantage and Fitforme. These bariatric vitamins can offer you the complete nutrition you need post-surgery, including a variety of forms and flavors to supplement your health.
How can we help you here at Bremo Pharmacy?
Here at Bremo, we can offer you the guidance you will need on your weight loss journey after surgery. We carry two different brands for post bariatric surgery vitamin supplementations that can be catered to what you will need. The pharmacy team can talk about what you will need and how you will manage your new diet and lifestyle.
Here are some examples of products below and learn how they can be personalized to fit your nutritional needs after bariatric surgery.
Bariatric Advantage offers a variety of multivitamins in different forms and flavors, such as:
- Capsule with iron
- Capsule without Iron
- Tablets: mixed fruit or strawberry flavored
- Chewy bites: dark cherry,strawberry, watermelon, tropical orange flavored
*These multivitamins will include most of your essential vitamins such as Vitamin B1, B3, B6, B12, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Biotin and Folate *
They also offer iron capsules separately, because these are important for your diet.
Calcium Citrate with vitamin D is also offered by this brand in the form of chewable bites in a large variety of flavors.
***Calcium citrate has to be supplemented, it is extremely essential in a post bariatric diet. It does not come in multivitamins because it doesn’t mix well with other vitamins,
but that does not mean it does not need to be supplement***
Some of the advantages of Bariatric Advantage are the variety of flavors available as well as different forms available. This product also offers you calcium citrate so you are able to get all of your nutritional supplements in one place.
Fitforme is unique in that they tailor their vitamins in a way that is appropriate for the type of bariatric surgery performed. They offer 3 different sets of multivitamins, depending on the surgery you had done. These different surgery categories include:
- Sleeve, Band or Balloon Surgery
- Gastric Bypass Surgery
- BPD or DS Surgery
Multivitamins they offer:
Sleeve, Band or Balloon:
- Capsules with iron
- Chewable tablets with iron tablets separately
- Capsules with iron
- Chewable tablet with iron tablets separately
BPD or DS:
- Vitamin A – because this procedure will cause you to be deficient in vitamin A within 9-18 days.
- Capsules with iron.
Advantages of fitforme is that has individualized the vitamins you will need to replenish daily by the type of surgery you received making it easier to choose your supplements. This product also does not offer a calcium citrate, with is essential to your diet and you will need to buy separately.
To learn more you can go to Medlineplus.gov → “Your Diet after Gastric Bypass” and talk with your pharmacist or doctor!
Nisha Parekh, VCU PharmD Candidate 2020
Obesity Action Coalition – What Vitamins Do I Need? Artitle
Medline – Your Diet after Gastric Bypass
Dietary Guidelines After Bariatric Surgery –