By Shoshana Kosman, RD/LD
You have probably heard time and time again that it is important to eat a well-balanced, nutritious meal because the best way to get important nutrients is through the foods that you eat. However, after bariatric surgery, it is unlikely that you will be able to get enough nutrition from food sources alone. This is because bariatric surgeries are either malabsorptive, which means that the surgery has reduced your body’s ability to absorb vitamins, or restrictive, which means that the surgery has limited your stomach’s capacity for food and thereby decreased the amount of food it can retain from which to draw nutrients.
In order to ensure that you are getting enough vitamins and nutrients after bariatric surgery, it is important to take supplements according to the dietary recommendations of your dietitian. Each bariatric patient will have a different set of nutrient needs that can be addressed by taking specific kinds of vitamins. These nutrient needs may change over the years, so you should make an effort to get your labs drawn on an annual basis to make sure that you have not developed a new vitamin deficiency.
It is true that many vitamins do not taste good, are time-consuming to ingest or can be hard on the stomach. For these reasons, it may be tempting to deviate from your vitamin regimen. However, it is crucial to continue taking your recommended amount and types of vitamins because vitamin deficiencies can cause many long-term health problems. For example, not taking your vitamins could lead to osteoporosis, anemia, night blindness, muscle deterioration, fatigue, hair loss, organ failure, brittle nails, liver failure, kidney problems and neurological disorders.
So the next time you are scheduled to take your vitamins, think about all of the good that this small action will do for you. This is a quick and relatively easy way to show yourself that you care about your health. So take your vitamins!