Bariatric vitamins are necessary for all post-op patients to prevent vitamin deficiencies. All bariatric procedures cause a restrictive effect, meaning your stomach pouch size is smaller, so you can not intake as much food to keep your vitamin levels up. Similarly, the gastric bypass and the duodenal switch produce a malabsorptive effect making it harder for your body to physically absorb the same amount of vitamins as you could previously.
To avoid malnutrition, surgeons will require their patients to take bariatric vitamins after their weight loss surgery procedure. Bariatric vitamins keep you safe and are essential to your overall health.
Bariatric Vitamins vs. Over-The-Counter Vitamins
When choosing a bariatric vitamin, it is essential to make sure you are picking one specifically formulated for individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery. The old adage of taking a few kids' Flinstone vitamins is no longer the recommendation.
Over-the-counter (OTC) multivitamins do not meet the needs of a bariatric surgery patient. Particularly for patients who are more prone to vitamin deficiencies based on their procedure type. One of the most common issues we see with OTC vitamins is they will not have nearly enough B12, Vitamin D, B1, iron, and other nutrients that can cause deficiencies and other problems down the road.
Bariatric patients have a greater risk of becoming deficient in specific vitamins, including vitamins B12, C, A, D, and minerals such as iron and calcium. If you have the duodenal switch procedure, you are also at risk of being deficient in vitamins K and E.
Choosing a Bariatric Vitamin
There are a lot of bariatric brands on the market, and most bariatric brands should meet your needs; however, we recommend the Ness Vitamins products. We recommend a chewable multivitamin for the first few months to help with absorption; then, you can switch to pills or tablets.
We encourage you to check with your bariatric dietitian as some patients' nutritional needs may differ slightly.
The Key to Bariatric Vitamins
The key to bariatric vitamins is actually taking them. Sometimes, patients will forget to take their vitamins or not realize their importance until it is too late.
If you are not used to taking vitamins and are pre-surgery, taking a regular multivitamin is an excellent way to create a routine around taking vitamins. But once you have your surgery, you must move over to taking the bariatric version of your vitamins. As mentioned above, bariatric multivitamins are formulated to meet your needs with higher doses of specific nutrients to fill any nutritional gaps after bariatric surgery.
Another way to adhere to your vitamin regime is to set an alarm/reminder on your phone. A reason why we love the Ness Vitamins products is because you only need to take one pill a day for all your nutritional needs.
Bariatric vitamins supplement your diet, so it is still important you are eating healthy in addition to taking your vitamins.
Finally, bariatric vitamins will be for a lifetime. Your stomach and digestive tract are permanently altered, so you will continue to risk developing deficiencies. However, in many cases, you will be trading these multivitamins for your medications as weight-related medication conditions go away with the weight loss.