An Overview of Bariatric Vitamins

An Overview of Bariatric Vitamins

When you have weight loss surgery, your body goes through significant physical and mental changes.

These changes affect the physical composition and hormonal regulation systems by limiting amount of nutrients you will be absorbing.  Because of these substantial changes, you will need to adjust to a strict vitamin schedule. Different operations will require different supplementation. However, there are a few common vitamins and minerals which Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy and RY gastric bypass patients will require to add to their daily regimen.

Because of the risk of developing nutritional deficiencies, you need to take vitamins regularly and permanently.  

These vitamins include:

  • Multivitamin
  • Calcium Supplement
  • Iron and Vitamin D Supplement
  • Vitamin B12 Supplement

Your bariatric health care team will have a specific vitamin schedule you must adhere to that prevents vitamin and mineral deficiencies.  

Learning new recipes is a great way to create new eating habits that promotes your lifestyle change.

The primary vitamins that you must take immediately following your weight loss surgery include:

  • Multivitamin
  • Calcium Supplement
  • B12 supplement

After bariatric surgery, your stomach no longer releases enough stomach acid, has less of intrinsic B12 factor which helps with adequate B12 absorption from food.   Your Vitamin B12 supplement should be taken daily.  You can either take this vitamin in a tablet form or liquid form under your tongue.  Based on the blood tests that your health care team will order, you may need to increase your vitamin supplement intake.  

You will need to take between 1,200 and 2,000 mg of calcium every day. You need a calcium supplement because you will be unable to absorb your daily minimum of calcium for bone growth and strength from the food.  Your calcium supplement will be taken twice daily, and a preferred type is calcium citrate.

Some additional vitamins and minerals that you may also need to include in your daily vitamin schedule consist of:

  • Vitamin D
  • Iron Supplement
  • Vitamin B1
  • Biotin Supplement
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Copper

You may need to take between 400 to 800 international units twice a daily alongside your calcium supplements.  Many brands have vitamin D supplement combined with calcium.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are great nutritional sources that help you avoid any health deficiencies.

Iron is another essential mineral because many bariatric patients struggle with anemia after surgery. Iron is no longer absorbed at its rate from before surgery because of the bypassed duodenum in the Roux-en-Y surgery or because of decreased acid production in Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy.

If you have any questions regarding which supplements are appropriate for you, do not hesitate to contact your bariatric dietician.

Physical activity helps promote your healthy lifestyle and progress on your weight loss journey. 

Because of the common misrepresentation of information, you need to read all nutritional information on vitamin labels carefully.

Any vitamin or mineral deficiency is easier to prevent than it is to treat, therefore sticking to a schedule prevents health complications.

If you struggle with sticking to a specific regimen or easily forget your medication, there are many applications you can install on your phone that act as helpful timers that prevent missing any of your vitamins.

Maintaining a schedule is crucial in helping you stay organized with all of your new health goals. 

Vitamin and mineral deficiency risks

With any major surgery, if you do not follow up with the recommended health guidelines, you will increase your chances of developing health complications. Bariatric surgery causes a ripple effect of changes to the overall functionality of your various health systems.

The various health problems that can arise from not taking supplements include:

  • Anemia
  • Bone Disorders
  • Muscle and Brain Health Problems

All of the listed health complications are serious and should be taken very seriously.  Anemia is a blood disorder that can cause nerve damage and leave you feeling extremely tired.

When you do not take your calcium supplements, your overall bone health is at risk of losing strength and becoming soft, leading to bone breaks or fractures.

Your brain health is also at risk because without adequate vitamin B1 or thiamin, you increase your risk of becoming confused, losing your balance, and even being paralyzed.

Vitamins and minerals are a critical aspect of your health that must be carefully monitored for continued success.

Kelsey Renae Schulze


Kelsey is a post-op bariatric patient who had sleeve surgery in 2018. She is a writer, focusing on a variety of topics given her background in legal studies and criminal justice.