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Vitamin and Mineral-Related Complications after Bariatric Surgery

Vitamin and Mineral-Related Complications after Bariatric Surgery
24 June 2020 Laura Eggerichs

Vitamin and Mineral-Related Complications after Bariatric Surgery

Raise your hand if you take your bariatric vitamins and minerals every day!  Statistically, only about 30% of those who have had WLS should have their hands up.  We get it! It’s hard to stick to the often complicated vitamin regimen after WLS. That’s why we at Baricol made our all-in-one supplements so easy to take!  But what happens when you don’t take your bariatric vitamins and minerals? Read below to learn about some the complications that can occur when people don’t take their supplements. While some are easily fixed, others cause long-term, irreversible damage.

Osteoporosis

 You are at an increased risk for osteoporosis after both a Gastric Bypass (GP) and a Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) due to decreased absorption of Calcium.  Low Vitamin D levels add to that risk, which many people have even before surgery.  To help prevent osteoporosis, it is important to take at least 1000mg of calcium daily. The best type is calcium citrate which absorbs better than other types of calcium.   Work with your doctor and dietitian to bring your vitamin D level up to normal range if it’s low.  In addition, start doing some weight-bearing exercises, such as walking and hiking, and resistance exercises, like lifting weights and even yoga, to support bone health. Doing these types of exercises and taking your supplements is the best way to take care of your bones!

Baricol Complete contains 1000mg of calcium citrate and 1800 IU of vitamin D to help keep your bones strong!

Anemia

Low levels of a few different vitamins and minerals can cause anemia, with Iron deficiency being the most common.  Symptoms include lethargy, dizziness, cold hands and feet, weakness, difficulty concentrating, and pale skin. Iron absorption decreases after bariatric surgery, so even men and non-menstruating women need to take iron.

The Nordic Guidelines recommend 45-60mg of iron daily, and Baricol contains 50mg.

Vitamin B12 and Folate (folic acid) deficiencies can also cause anemia, but you can be low in either one without having anemia as well.  Vitamin B12 absorption decreases greatly after WLS. Because of this, the Nordic Guidelines recommend at least 350mcg of B12 daily (far more than is contained in normal vitamins), and your supplement should also contain folate.

Baricol contains 700mcg of B12 and 400mcg of Folate.

Hair Loss

Feared by many, hair loss is typically out of our control after surgery, unfortunately. That’s because hair loss is often a stress response to rapid weight loss and the surgery itself. Help avoid other causes of hair loss, such as nutrient deficiencies, by making sure you are eating a healthy diet high in protein and taking the vitamins and minerals needed after WLS, like those found in Baricol Complete.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the most common micronutrient deficiencies after bariatric surgery. In addition to anemia, it can lead to neuropathy and impaired cognition and memory.  Symptoms of neuropathy include tingling/numbness/burning in hands and feet, loss of balance or coordination, and muscle weakness, particularly in the feet.  These effects can be alleviated if treated early, but some, such as damage to the nerves, can be permanent if left untreated.  This is why it is so important to take the correct vitamins after WLS.

Most over-the-counter vitamins will not contain nearly enough B12, but Baricol contains what you need and more.

Thiamin (Vitamin B1) Deficiency

Symptoms of thiamin of deficiency include neuropathy, burning/tingling in feet, and vomiting.  Excessive vomiting can also be a cause of thiamin deficiency.  If left untreated, a syndrome known as Wernicke’s encephalopathy can develop, resulting in memory loss, neuropathy, and vision abnormalities, among others.  While deficiencies to this degree are quite rare, it is important to listen to your body and address issues early.

Baricol contains 2.2mg  thiamin, in line with the Nordic guidelines.

Zinc

While not often talked about, zinc deficiency is relatively common after bariatric surgery, partly because many seeking WLS are already deficient before surgery. Symptoms include hair loss, impaired immune function, loss of appetite, and a metallic taste in your mouth. Since many of these are common after surgery anyway, make sure your supplement contains zinc and get your blood levels checked regularly.

Baricol contains 21mg of zinc, which follows the Nordic guidelines.

These are just some of the vitamin and mineral abnormalities that can occur after bariatric surgery.  For people who have had a duodenal switch, more vitamins and minerals are affected and more severely.  It is always important to follow your surgical team’s guidelines and get your blood levels checked regularly to make sure your labs stay in a normal range. And of course, take your supplements!  Baricol Complete is made specifically for your new anatomy after WLS and contains everything you need according to the Nordic Guidelines.  Just some of the ways we help you keep the good life going!

Ready for more?  Click here to read about complications related to what you eat and drink!

Running low on vitamins or want to give us a try?  Click here to order!