Earlier this week we high-lighted the 10 most common mistakes made by those who have had bariatric/weight-loss surgery. The first (and some would say the most important) mistake you could make is failing to adhere to your vitamin, mineral and/or supplement recommendations and regime. Here it is again just to remind you …
This regime is very personal to you and will have been outlined by your own bariatric team. At the very simplest it will usually include a multi-vitamin formulation and in addition may have a calcium supplement (with Vit D), iron supplement, and B12 formulation (spray, tablet or injection). Some other specific supplements may also be prescribed depending upon your lab results/blood tests.
To say taking and needing these are vital is an understatement and it is important that you do take them regularly and for the rest of your life. Why?
Well first of all, you’re eating far less. Before your surgery, you were able to eat larger quantities of food, so you were probably getting most of the vitamins and minerals you needed from the food you ate. Hopefully you were also getting out into the sunshine sufficiently to get a top up of Vitamin D (although it’s a tough call – read more here). Now, with your smaller stomach pouch you’re undoubtedly eating less and so cannot get all the nutrients you require to nourish your body from your daily food intake. If you also underwent one of the malabsorptive surgeries (like a gastric bypass, for example), you’re also not absorbing your vitamins and minerals from the food as efficiently as before, so an additional reason to reinforce the need for a regular daily supplement and long-term regime.
Unfortunately from surgeon to surgeon, team to team and country to country these recommendations will differ and to date there has only be a small degree of consensus about the ‘ideal regime’ for the various surgical options. In part this is because more research is needed about the long-term care of bariatric patients and perhaps more liaison between surgical providers would help to get a basic framework. Fortunately in the UK there has been some interaction recently and a new set of recommendations has recently been published to help patients, providers and their carers. Click the link below to access the document – it is somewhat lengthy but does give detailed information that you can use to chat through your regime if you’re at all concerned about what to take, when, what with and for how long with your team or GP/Practioner.
I have recently with the help of my own GP overhauled my regime and have added Vit B12 (as a spray), Vit D (also as a spray), and easy iron to my basic multi-vitamin (which incidentally is a bariatric formulation for gastric bypass patients) and calcium citrate. We have also worked out when to take them and in what order for maximum uptake. If I have one or two pieces of advice as something of an old-timer, it is to take them religiously and to take a good quality brand that has all you need or has been formulated with the bariatric patient in mind – this is one area where you shouldn’t make short-cuts.