The gastric bypass dramatically improved my well-being. So I am grateful I finally had the surgery after chickening out and cancelling my first surgery date. Months later I would reschedule and this time go through with the surgery on account of my worsening health. Read: My Gastric Bypass Story. And while I am pleased with the outcome such good fortune requires constant vigilance. Gastric bypass vitamin deficiencies often accompany the weight loss and patients need some discipline so as to protect the good health they have won. Read: Bariatric Vitamins is Discontinuing Ever an Option
Gastric Bypass Vitamin Deficiencies
About 5% of weight-loss surgery patients experience some sort of complication. Ten percent experience a complication that requires the attention of a nurse or doctor. Complications vary, ranging from infections and blood clots to vitamin deficiencies. And, in fact, vitamin deficiencies are the most common complication. Vitamin B12 and folic acid (B9) are among the gastric bypass vitamin deficiencies.
Why are vitamin deficiencies common with the gastric bypass? This has to do with the way the digestive anatomy is altered. The stomach is stapled in the gastric bypass surgery to create a pouch. The digestive tract is then rerouted around a portion of the small intestine. This procedure limits the amount of food that is eaten because of the reduced size of the stomach. It also makes it more difficult to absorb vitamins and therefore supplements are needed frequently. Read: Essential Bariatric Vitamins and Minerals
Folic Acid Deficiency
Folic acid (B9) is a B-complex vitamin that helps to control metabolism. Folic acid also breaks down carbohydrates, proteins and fats into energy. And folic acid is important for the manufacture of DNA.
A folic acid deficiency can prevent the body from adequately making red blood cells as quickly as needed and result in anemia. Folic acid deficiency is the least common of the gastric bypass vitamin deficiencies, affecting less than 1% of patients.
Foods that are good sources of folic acid are leafy green vegetables, fruits, dried beans, peas and nuts. Dietary supplements may be necessary.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
The metabolism of B12 is interconnected with folic acid. B12 is stored in the liver and is needed for the growth and replication of body cells as well as proper nervous system functions. A vitamin B12 deficiency can cause anemia.
Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia symptoms are weakness, fatigue, accelerated heartbeat, paleness, easy bruising, and upset stomach. Foods that contain vitamin B12 are meat, poultry, seafood, milk, cheese and eggs. Plant sources are sea plants, algae, and yeast. Sublingual vitamin B12 supplements are needed daily.
The recommended dosage of vitamin B12 is 1000 milligrams per week taken sublingually. B12 Intranasal spray and injections also are available.
Bariatric patients should have blood testing annually to check for deficiencies — or sooner if deficiency symptoms present.
Living larger than ever,
My Bariatric Life