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Nutritional Deficiencies After Bariatric Surgery and How to Avoid Them

By Fernando Garcia on April 30, 2016

A healthy and well-balanced lunchAt Tijuana Bariatrics, we know that surgery is just a major step toward a healthier future. The journey a patient embarks on is lifelong, but we help set that patient in the right direction on a better path. To help ensure success, we always go over bariatric surgery side effects and challenges after weight loss.

As patients adjust to their new diet, they may have certain dietary needs that aren't being met. With that in mind, let's consider the topic of nutritional deficiencies after bariatric surgery and what solutions are available to ensure lasting patient wellness.

Why Nutritional Deficiencies May Occur After Weight Loss Surgery

In some bariatric procedures, such as the gastric bypass or the duodenal switch, weight loss is achieved by a combination of restrictive weight loss (limiting calorie consumption) and malabsorptive weight loss (limiting calorie absorption during digestion). In the case of malabsorptive weight loss, food may not be digested fully enough for patients to receive all of the vitamins and minerals. This coupled with changes in the nature of a person's diet can result in some serious nutritional deficiencies that can lead to poor or diminished health.

Deficiencies of Which to Be Mindful

There are a few nutritional deficiencies to consider when it comes to your diet after bariatric surgery. The most serious ones include the following:

  • Calcium – Calcium, which comprises 2 percent of the entire human body, is essential for healthy teeth and bones as well as helping with proper muscle contractions, blood clotting, and nerve function.

  • Vitamin D – In addition to helping with the absorption of minerals (including calcium, zinc, and magnesium), vitamin D also helps with proper immune function and the regulation of insulin.

  • Iron – Another essential micromineral, iron is crucial for the body to produce hemoglobin (in red blood cells) and myloglobin (in muscle tissue), which helps carry oxygen in the blood.

  • Copper – Copper is essential for the proper growth, development, and maintenance of numerous organs, including the brain, heart, bones, and connective tissue.

  • Zinc – Crucial for cellular division and cellular growth, zinc is also essential for ensuring your immune system works properly.

  • Vitamin B12 – Essential for the production of DNA and RNA, vitamin B12 is crucial for the production of red blood cells and improving the function of iron in the body.

  • Vitamin B9 (Folate/Folic Acid) – In addition to helping vitamin B12 in the production of red blood cells, vitamin B9 is important for brain health and can contribute to improve mental health and emotional wellness.

Multiple deficiencies can lead to serious problems with your general health and wellness.

Working Around Nutritional Deficiencies

The best option to consider to avoid serious deficiencies in vitamins and minerals is to use dietary supplements regularly. Taking vitamins will help directly address shortcomings in your nutrition, allowing you to lead a healthy lifestyle.

The proper supplement program will have to be tailored to your needs, so it's important that you go over such matters with your bariatric surgeon during the consultation and planning phases of bariatric surgery. During this time, you can also go over the dietary needs and exercise needs that will help you maintain good health and keep excess weight off.

Speak with the Team at Tijuana Bariatrics

To learn more about maintaining a good diet after bariatric surgery, be sure to contact our advanced weight loss and bariatrics center today. The team at Tijuana Bariatrics will help you make smart choices about your wellness in the years ahead.

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Dr. Garcia is awesome. I chose bariatrics vertical sleeve surgery. I've lost 85 lbs. since January 2017. No complications... I regret not doing this years ago. Debbie M.

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