Bariatric sleeve surgery is a weight-loss surgery technique that involves removing a portion of the stomach. As a result, you have a smaller stomach that cannot tolerate eating a large amount of food. While eating less food will help you to lose weight, you will be getting fewer nutrients in your daily diet. To compensate for this, your physician may recommend taking certain vitamins. Before taking them, however, you should check with your physician.
The first supplement you will likely take after bariatric sleeve surgery is a multivitamin. Immediately after surgery, you may need to take chewable or liquid vitamins because you may have trouble swallowing tablets. Bariatric multivitamins are available and typically contain vitamins A, D, and E. You also need iron and folate. In the first six months after your bariatric surgery, your physician may recommend taking two multivitamins per day because you will not be able to eat a significant amount of food as your stomach heals.
While your multivitamin may contain some calcium, it may not be enough to compensate for calcium losses in your daily diet. Because you need calcium for healthy bones and teeth, you may need to take a calcium supplement that contains 1,000 to 1,500 mg of calcium. Look for calcium citrate, which is better absorbed after gastric sleeve surgery. Your body can only absorb about 500 mg of calcium at a time, so you may wish to separate your supplements into three servings over the course of your day.
Vitamin D is required to help you absorb calcium in your body. This vitamin is difficult to get in your daily diet and even more difficult following bariatric sleeve surgery. Take at least a 1,000 IU vitamin D supplement each day to ensure you get enough of this vitamin.
Vitamin B-12 is necessary for brain functioning and building red blood cells. This vitamin binds to intrinsic factor, which is secreted by the stomach, for absorption. During laparoscopic gastric bypass, the portion of the stomach responsible for making intrinsic factor is bypassed. The lack of intrinsic factor decreases the amount the body is able to absorb vitamin B-12 after gastric bypass and to a lesser extent after gastric sleeve surgery. As such, you should take a vitamin B-12 supplement that is either liquid or dissolves on the tongue. Take at least 500 micrograms of vitamin B-12 per day to ensure you get enough vitamin B-12 in your diet.
Iron is needed to build healthy red blood cells in your body. Without enough, you can feel weak and fatigued. Taking iron supplements can upset your stomach. For this reason, you should choose iron supplements that contain ferrous fumarate, ferrous sulfate or ferrous gluconate, which your body better absorbs. Because iron can affect calcium supplementation, take these supplements two hours apart.
- The Cornell Weight Loss Surgery Program; Dietary Guidelines for Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy; Liz Goldenberg, MPH, RD, and Jaimie Sherry, MS, RD, CDN
- Ashley River Tower Outpatient Pharmacy; Vitamin & Mineral Supplements: Required for Life; May 2011
- "The Washington Post"; Weight-Loss Surgery Caution; Take Your Vitamins; Kathleen Doheny; March 2007