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What Are The Best Vitamins to Take After Bariatric Surgery?

What Are The Best Vitamins to Take After Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery signifies a profound commitment to one's health and well-being. It goes beyond the physical changes since this journey necessitates a thoughtful and strategic approach to nutrition. However, post-bariatric surgery is a complicated process since the body undergoes significant alterations in its ability to absorb and process essential nutrients. That is why vitamin supplementation is a crucial aspect of long-term success.

Here, we will look at the world after bariatric surgery and the necessary vitamins, uncovering the essential nutrients that are pivotal in supporting optimal health. These supplements help with the recovery process, thus ensuring that you sustain the right weight.

From understanding the unique nutritional needs of individuals post-surgery to identifying the best vitamins to incorporate into a daily regimen, this guide aims to empower those on the post-bariatric path with knowledge that fosters a thriving and fulfilling lifestyle.

What Happens If You Don't Take Your Vitamins After Bariatric Surgery?

Vitamins After Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery alters the digestive anatomy, impacting the body's ability to absorb nutrients effectively. This change often leads to an increased risk of nutrient deficiencies, as specific vitamins and minerals may be poorly absorbed or not sufficiently obtained from the reduced food intake. As a result, individuals who undergo bariatric surgery must pay close attention to their vitamin intake to prevent complications such as:

  • Anemia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Neurological issues

Best Post Bariatric Surgery Vitamins

Best Post Bariatric Surgery Vitamins

Here are some of the best vitamins you shouldn't fail taking after a bariatric operation:

1. Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 has a proper neurological function, red blood cell formation, and DNA synthesis. After bariatric surgery, the stomach's reduced capacity to produce intrinsic factor, a substance necessary for B12 absorption, can lead to deficiencies. Supplementation in the form of sublingual or injectable B12 is often recommended for post-bariatric patients.

2. Vitamin D

Vitamin D improves bone health, immune function, and overall well-being. After bariatric surgery, individuals may face challenges absorbing vitamin D through dietary sources, as the surgery alters the absorption process in the small intestine. Vitamin D supplementation and monitoring blood levels are crucial to prevent deficiencies and support bone health.

3. Calcium

Calcium is vital for bone health and post-bariatric surgery. Patients get osteoporosis due to reduced calcium absorption. Calcium supplements and adequate dietary intake are recommended to prevent bone density issues and maintain overall skeletal health.

4. Iron

Iron deficiency anemia is a common concern after bariatric surgery due to reduced stomach acid and alterations in iron absorption. Iron supplements are often prescribed to prevent anemia and ensure optimal oxygen transport in the blood. However, the form of iron and timing of supplementation should be carefully considered to enhance absorption and minimize gastrointestinal side effects.

5. Folate

Folate helps in DNA synthesis and cell division. Bariatric surgery can impact folate absorption, potentially leading to deficiencies. Adequate supplementation is crucial to prevent complications related to low folate levels, such as anemia and neural tube defects in case of pregnancy.

6. Thiamine (Vitamin B1)

Thiamine is vital for energy metabolism and neurological function. Bariatric surgery can affect thiamine absorption, leading to conditions like Wernicke's encephalopathy. Thiamine supplementation is essential to prevent neurological complications and support health.

7. Multivitamins

Given the complexity of nutrient absorption changes after bariatric surgery, a comprehensive multivitamin that includes a range of essential vitamins and minerals is often recommended. Multivitamins provide nutritional needs, ensuring that individuals receive a well-rounded supplementation regimen.

Is There An Essential Vitamin To Take?

No single vitamin is paramount. They collectively supplement your diet to address your body's evolving nutritional requirements. Your optimal vitamin regimen depends on factors such as your surgical procedure and ongoing laboratory results. Considerations like existing medical conditions also influence the selection of appropriate vitamins.

Irrespective of your situation, a multivitamin and calcium citrate or vitamin D are commonly recommended and should be deemed particularly crucial. Your healthcare provider will guide you to seek multivitamins containing specified ingredient amounts and may advise additional calcium citrate or vitamin D supplements.

During post-surgery follow-ups, your provider will conduct vitamin level tests every 3 to 6 months in the initial year to monitor and ensure proper supplementation. Subsequently, these tests may transition to an annual frequency after approximately a year.

How Can You Avoid Nutritional Deficiencies?

How Can You Avoid Nutritional Deficiencies?

Research findings indicate that individuals undergoing sleeve gastrectomy are susceptible to deficiencies in iron, folate, and vitamins B12 and D. This vulnerability stems from the stomach's reduced acid production post-surgery, impacting the absorption of iron and B12. Notably, a deficiency in Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) may lead to Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a neurological disorder. Despite widespread supplementation efforts, vitamin D deficiency remains the most prevalent issue observed five years after sleeve gastrectomy.

Moreover, studies reveal that a majority of bariatric patients fail to adhere to prescribed vitamin and mineral protocols. Following the supplementation plan recommended by your surgeon and medical professionals is strongly recommended. Regular annual checkups with the surgeon's office are crucial for monitoring potential micronutrient deficiencies.

Consider opting for a bariatric-specific brand of vitamins and minerals, even if it incurs higher costs. This is justifiable considering the significant savings on grocery bills post-surgery, allowing for purchasing more suitable and higher-quality supplements.

To ensure consistent supplement intake:

  • Set a reminder on your phone for supplement consumption.
  • If preferred or better tolerated, continue with chewable or liquid forms.
  • Take supplements after meals to minimize nausea and enhance vitamin absorption.
  • Explore bariatric powdered vitamin or mineral supplements that can be mixed with water.

It's important to note that while transdermal delivery of vitamins or minerals via patches is undergoing clinical trials, results for post-bariatric surgery patients are not available, and it cannot entirely prevent nutrient deficiencies. Factors influencing nutrient absorption through the skin include the molecular size of the nutrient and individual skin conditions.

Until conclusive clinical trial results are obtained, the Bariatric surgery program recommends the exclusive use of oral supplements. Numerous professional societies have established current guidelines for oral micronutrient supplements.

What Are The Most Common Nutrient Deficiencies After Bariatric Surgery?

There are several causes of nutritional deficiencies after weight loss surgery and here are some of them:

  • Failure to comply with nutritional supplement: One of the leading issues of nutritional deficiencies after bariatric surgery is failure to follow the recommended nutritional supplement. Most people comply with the multivitamins early on after the surgery but that tends to decrease over time. For instance, in certain research, iron supplements decreased from 27.7% to 24.5% between the first and the fifth year of post-bariatric surgery. One of the leading causes of this decrease was forgetfulness and difficulty in swallowing pills. 
  • Not following up with their doctor
  • Bad eating habits
  • Pre-operative deficiencies
  • Changes in eating habits

Benefits Of Liquid Vitamins After Bariatric Surgery

Benefits Of Liquid Vitamins After Bariatric Surgery

Although taking pills will help improve your vitamin levels and are an ideal choice after bariatric surgery, liquid vitamins are preferred. Here is why:

Easy To Swallow

Unlike pills, liquid vitamins are easy to swallow making them an ideal choice for people with different medical conditions including; gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR), and eosinophilic esophagitis. You can take liquid bariatric vitamins just like water.

Few Digestion Problems

Sometimes people have weak stomach acid after bariatric surgery. Luckily, liquid vitamins don’t require strong acids to break down. You can pair that up with liquid collagen protein.


Liquid vitamins are more easily absorbed into your body than any other type. Taking the vitamins in liquid form makes absorption easy and quick. Therefore, you will enjoy all the benefits that come with bariatric surgery.

Why No Gummy Vitamins after Bariatric Surgery?

Gummy vitamins contain water-soluble minerals and vitamins. Although they are considered safe, they can cause stomach upset in some people. It might also affect people with celiac disease. 


In conclusion, adequate vitamin supplementation is crucial for individuals undergoing bariatric surgery to prevent nutrient deficiencies and promote overall health. The vitamins mentioned above  B12, D, calcium, iron, folate, thiamine, and multivitamins play pivotal roles in various physiological processes and should be carefully monitored and managed to avoid complications. 

However, post-bariatric patients must work closely with healthcare professionals to determine their nutritional needs, as requirements may vary based on the type of surgery, individual health status, and dietary habits. With proper guidance and adherence to a well-balanced supplementation plan, individuals can optimize their post-bariatric surgery outcomes and enjoy improved health and well-being.


Why Is Vitamin B12 Crucial Post-Bariatric Surgery?

Vitamin B12 helps with nerve function, DNA synthesis, and the formation of red blood cells. Bariatric surgery leads to decreased absorption of B12, making supplementation necessary. Inadequate B12 levels may result in fatigue, weakness, and neurological issues, emphasizing the importance of its supplementation post-surgery.

Is Calcium Supplementation Necessary After Bariatric Surgery?

Calcium is essential post-bariatric surgery as the procedure can impact calcium absorption. Inadequate calcium levels may lead to bone health issues, so supplementation is often recommended. Adequate calcium intake is crucial to prevent osteoporosis and maintain bone density.

How Does Vitamin D Play A Role In Post-Bariatric Surgery Care?

Bariatric surgery may lead to decreased vitamin D absorption, contributing to deficiencies. Supplementation is often recommended to prevent bone-related complications and support overall health.

What Role Does Iron Play After Bariatric Surgery, And Why Is It Important?

Bariatric surgery can reduce iron absorption, potentially resulting in iron-deficiency anemia. Iron supplementation is often necessary to address this issue and maintain optimal hemoglobin levels.

Should I Consider Folate Supplementation After Bariatric Surgery?

Yes, folate is essential for cell division and DNA synthesis. Bariatric surgery can impact folate absorption and deficiency, leading to anemia and other health issues. Folate supplementation is often recommended to ensure adequate levels and support overall well-being post-surgery.

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