Vitamins and supplements are a very important part of your post-surgery routine. With a smaller tummy, it can be difficult to get all the necessary vitamins and minerals from foods alone. We want to help you maintain proper nutrition and good health and energy after surgery. Our bariatric doctors recommend taking the following vitamins, minerals, and supplements after your surgery. These are only recommendations, so make sure to consult with your doctor at home as well. After your post-surgery labs are completed, you may need to adjust accordingly.
Start taking bariatric multi-vitamins within 7 to 10 days upon your return home. You are eating less food, and good quality bariatric multi-vitamin and mineral supplements will help guard against nutritional deficiencies. We say “bariatric” multi-vitamins are best, at least for the first 6 months post-surgery.
These vitamins are formulated specifically for weight loss surgery patients. They contain about 20 more phytochemicals (plant derivatives) than regular adult multi-vitamins, and the extra elements help with energy, dry skin and nails, and hair loss.
Amazon has a huge selection of bariatric multi-vitamins and supplements available. If you are unable to get the bariatric multi-vitamins, then make sure you have a good quality regular multi-vitamin. Vitamins should be taken for life, whether you have a sleeve or bypass.
Take 5000 mcg to 10,000 mcg (micrograms) of biotin daily. You can start with a lower dose. This will help to maintain the health of your hair, skin, and nails. Remember that your bariatric multi-vitamins may contain some biotin in them, so take that into account when calculating the amount of biotin to take. Six months post-surgery you may lower the dose to 2500 mcg daily.
Take a calcium or calcium citrate chew daily, 1500 mg for sleeve patients and 1800 mg for mini bypass or RNY bypass patients. Bone loss due to calcium deficiency can be a risk after all types of bariatric surgery. Remember that if you take a great bariatric multi-vitamin, check the label because it may already contain some calcium. Take the calcium in three separate smaller doses of 500 mg throughout the day for better absorption.
B-12 Sublingual Tablets
Take one B12 sublingual tablet daily. Be sure to purchase sublingual tablets and allow them to melt under your tongue. This is important because you will not metabolize the B12 in the stomach the same as you did before surgery. Stomach acid helps to release B12 as well as Intrinsic Factor (produced by the stomach and is necessary for the absorption of B12 in the small intestine). If you prefer, you can get injections of B12 from your provider at home.
You also have the option of purchasing high quality B12 injections at the pharmacy in Tijuana for a very reasonable price, but please make sure that you have someone that is properly trained at preparing the injection site and can administer the injections safely. For the first three weeks after surgery, please use one injectable B12 prefilled syringe weekly, and after that, use just one per month until you have your 3-month lab work done.
Iron (36mg) or FeSo4 may need to be taken. Low iron can be an issue after weight loss surgery, especially if you are or were anemic before surgery or have a bypass. Iron is better absorbed with vitamin C. Please do not take the iron at the same time as your calcium because it decreases the amount of iron absorbed by the body. We encourage all patients to follow their doctor’s instructions, but you may wait until you have your 3-month post-operative lab work completed to see if it is necessary to take extra iron.
There are a couple types of iron: heme-iron and non-heme iron. Heme-iron is better absorbed by our bodies. Examples of heme-iron are meat, fish, and poultry. Examples of non-heme iron are plants, cereals, and lentils.