Sometimes I hear people say things like, as long as you take your vitamins after your gastric bypass, you don’t have to worry about nutritional deficiencies. I just wanted to address that.
Certainly nutritional deficiencies will be much worse if you don’t take the right vitamins. And be aware that many surgeons do not give very good advice about vitamins. You cannot rely on your surgeon to tell you what to take. Read the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery guidelines for yourself and go from there.
But deficiencies are very common even when people take the right stuff.
As an example, after my surgery I took the vitamins recommended by the ASMBS with the exception of iron. My surgeon told me I did not need iron and I listened to him (a mistake on my part, as it turns out). At six months post-op my vitamin D was 20. It’s supposed to be at least 80.
At one year post-op, after taking a low dose of vitamin D3 (because that’s what my surgeon told me to take; he told me to take 1000 IU per day and I probably should have been taking about 50,000 IU per day), my D was up to 25. My B12 was 477, I think. Something like that. It should be around 1000. My iron had dropped from 93 to 61, which is near the bottom of the normal range.
I started taking more D (50,000 IU per day, on the advice of a different doctor) and iron and B12, but at 15 months post up, my B12 had dropped even further to 463. My D was up to 50 and my iron up to around 100.
So I started B12 shots once a week and kept taking massive doses of B12 and kept taking iron. Now, at 18 months post-op, my B12 is up to 1081 (yay!) but my iron has fallen a bit back to something like 90. Also, my B6 is low. I don’t know about my D yet. The lab did the wrong test so I have to get it redone.
But my point is, even with taking the vitamins recommended by my doctor and the ASMBS, I have deficiencies. They are manageable, sure. But that’s mostly because I’m staying on top of them, too. If my B12 had dropped much further, I would have been looking at permanent nerve damage in my hands and feet.
I’m not saying someone should not have a gastric bypass because of the risk of nutritional deficiencies. I’m just saying, we should be very aware of the risk and do our own homework to make sure we take the right vitamins and stay on top of our labs. And know that taking vitamins does not mean you are not at risk.
ASMBS. http://www.asbs.org/Newsite07/resources/bgs_final.pdf. Nutritional Guidelines.