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Life After Bariatric Surgery: Steps to Achieving Both Health & Weight Loss

Bariatric–metabolic surgery has emerged as an attractive, evidence-based option that offers significant and durable weight loss and improved health outcomes for those with clinically severe obesity. There is an exponential increase in the number of Australians with clinically severe obesity over recent decades, and thus, growing numbers of bariatric–metabolic surgeries performed.

If you are severely obese and haven’t been able to lose weight, your healthcare provider may recommend weight-loss surgery. Weight-loss surgery (bariatric surgery) may help you lose weight, which in turn can lower your risk for weight-related problems such as heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and arthritis. However, the surgery is one of the first steps of your weight loss process and after it’s done it’s up to you to take charge of your bariatric life.

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Source: rador.ro/

Why Are Bariatric Vitamins Important?

Surgeries that decrease the size of the stomach but do not change the ability to absorb nutrients, such as gastric banding or sleeve gastrectomy, are less likely to cause malnutrition. Roux En Y surgery, on the other hand, is also associated with malnutrition. All bariatric procedures, to variable degrees, alter the anatomy and physiology of the gastrointestinal tract; this alteration makes these patients more susceptible to developing nutritional complications, namely, deficiencies of macro and micro-nutrients.

If you’re wondering how to prevent malabsorption after gastric bypass – there are two ways. The first way is to eat a diet rich in high nutrient foods.  This means eating fruits, vegetables, and ample lean protein and avoiding empty calories from processed food, sugar, and beverages. The other way is to add supplements to your daily diet, these may be prescription-strength or available where vitamins are sold, depending upon your needs.

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According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, supplements in the months following surgery should include, at a minimum of 12 mg daily vitamin B1, a 350-500 µg of vitamin B12 (cobalamin) daily, 400-800 mg folic acid, 18 mg of iron and variable levels of Vitamin D, calcium, zinc and copper. Australian guidelines for the bariatric recommendations include 1200-1500 mg elemental calcium, 3000 IU Vitamin D, total iron 45-60 mg and, of course, vitamin B12, as needed to maintain levels.

What’s the Difference Between Regular Vitamins and Bariatric Vitamins?
Bariatric specific vitamins are better absorbed, cause less irritation to your pouch, and will prevent vitamin deficiencies better than over-the-counter (OTC) vitamins. OTC vitamins are made with the general population in mind, not bariatric patients.

What Do I Need After Bariatric Surgery?

As mentioned above, adjustable gastric banding (AGB) does not impact nutrient absorption or utilisation. Subsequently, any nutritional aberrations that occur are due to poor dietary choices (food quality, tolerance and volume limits), drug-nutrient interactions or other medical/aging causes. After AGB, comprehensive multivitamin and mineral supplements like BN multi capsules Australia experts claim, satisfying the bariatric patient’s age and specific nutrient demands, is recommended.

Each capsule includes vitamin B12 and iron in the recommended doses, and a broad range of vitamins and minerals to meet your needs when unmet by diet alone. BN caps are designed with the highest quality, most bioavailable nutrient forms. They also include trace minerals and a comprehensive B-complex. BN multi capsules Australia healthcare professionals claim are flavourless, contain no food colouring or sweeteners and are gluten-free.

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After sleeve gastrectomy (SG), early satiety and a gastric volume that is restricted to about 15% of the original capacity impact on dietary intake. Although SG does not cause malabsorption, it appears to alter nutrient utilisation, in particular of vitamin B12 and iron. Hence, a complete multivitamin and mineral supplement high in B12 is recommended, plus iron and others as required.

After RYGB, the changes in gastrointestinal physiology result in altered absorption or treatment of nutrients. In addition to a complete multivitamin and mineral supplement, specific vitamin, mineral and trace element supplements in higher doses will be required lifelong. The dosage and range will likely change with time in response to laboratory results, including injections of vitamins A, D, B12 and iron when oral therapies are insufficient.

Do You Have to Take Vitamins Forever After Gastric Bypass?

Unfortunately, after bariatric surgery, taking vitamins and mineral supplements is for life. Firstly, patients begin with a chewable/liquid version of these vitamins and minerals. Eventually, they progress to supplement tablets if they are tolerated or preferred, usually about a month later. Over the counter multivitamin and mineral supplements are designed for the “general population,” not someone who has unique nutritional needs. Hence, they often don’t provide the specific level of nutrients your body needs to prevent the consequences of a nutritional deficiency. In fact, reaching bariatric nutrient guideline recommendations by using general over-the-counter vitamin supplements would take nine (or more) pills each day.

What Happens If I Don’t Take My Vitamins After Gastric Sleeve?

Anemia can be caused by several factors including inadequate intake or absorption of iron, vitamin B12, folate, copper or zinc. It can leave you feeling very tired or weak. Iron deficiency anemia has been reported to occur in half of gastric bypass surgery patients more than five years out from surgery.

One of the greatest nutritional consequences of bariatric surgery is bone disorders. Bones are active and are constantly turning over. Thus, to maintain a strong bone structure, the body needs a certain amount of vitamin D, calcium, vitamin K, magnesium, essential fatty acids and B-vitamins, all at risk of malabsorption. Improper nutrition leaves the bone weak and brittle and puts you at risk of a fracture.

Vitamins-After-Gastric
Source: oldedelmarsurgical.com/

A vitamin B1 i.e. thiamine deficiency is common in post-bariatric patients as it isn’t stored in the body for very long. Like other essential nutrients, your body is in constant need of a supply. Without adequate intake, it can lead to a condition called beriberi, which includes confusion, heart problems inability to walk straight or paralysis. Caught early, it can be reversed.

Certain conditions put the body at risk for not being able to maintain the proper amount of protein and thus muscle, which can result in weakness or more unfavourable body composition (more fat mass, less muscle). Most recommendations for post-operative bariatric patients include a minimum of 60 grams of protein daily, which for most is hard to achieve. Track your intake if you are unsure. If you aren’t reaching the minimum level, talk to your dietitian for ideas of how to increase your daily intake.

BN Pure PRO is a whey (dairy) protein isolate that helps you keep precious muscle tissue in the rapid weight loss stage while enhancing muscle growth and repair. You can add it to smoothies, protein balls, or baked foods to help you reach your daily protein targets with ease.